Several years ago I made a couple of half-hearted attempts to get my short stories published, but I never was able to successfully scale the veritable mountain of available markets. The process got to me, so I quit. This morning I decided to give it another go. Don’t know what made me think I’d be able to handle it any better today, but here I am.
I use Duotrope to narrow down the search for magazine markets, and while it’s an indispensable tool, it doesn’t make it an automatic process by any means. I’ve been researching for almost an hour and haven’t come up with one viable market. I’m starting at the high end of the payscale and working my way down, so I’m sure I’ll come across something eventually, but meanwhile, it’s drudgery.
The first challenge is defining the work, in terms of genre (fantasy), subgenre (light fantasy? magic realism? We’ll go with “Any subgenre.”), style (I’d call it quirky, but that returns no results so again: “Any subgenre.”). I choose my story specs, length and such, and hit Enter. I get 70 results. Wowzers. That’s a lot of stuff to go through, and of course I’m not familiar with most of these markets so not only do I have to research their submission requirements, but also their style to see if my story will match. I’m afraid my story won’t match any style.
I’d like to get paid, of course, but I’m mostly hungry for a cred, so I choose any payscale and sort from high to low. I don’t want to wait for six months before I can submit again, so I discard those who won’t take simultaneous submissions. I’m working my way through the list, but I’ll have to take a break before I make any real progress, it seems.
What method do you use for sorting through all these markets? Have you been successful? I’d love to hear how you climbed to the summit of Market Mountain. Don’t be shy.