Tag: stories

Submitting your Writing – Paying Markets Only?

I was recently in a discussion with a colleague about where to submit my short stories. I’ve had a few sales but am still very much the “shiny new writer.” Her suggestion was to publish wherever, get my name out there, and my work seen. Then I become more of a known quantity and at least for some collections and editors, have a greater chance for that  “extra second” in the reviewing process or potentially, an invitation to submit somewhere.

Less than a week later, I ended up in a similar discussion with a colleague from my writing group. Her response was – Absolutely not! Send your work to paying markets.  It doesn’t matter if your story is a perfect fit for this anthology’s theme or what they’re looking for; you should be looking for paying markets only.  If one doesn’t take it, keep sending it out.  Better to take time and receive rejections until it finally sells rather than “throw it away” on a non-paying market.

Now I’m somewhere in the middle of this argument.  Some of you may have read my post about using a Submission Matrix to determine where I send my writing to (although that mechanism doesn’t work particularly well with the rising number of anthologies – paid, unpaid, and “prestige” currently out there).  It’s a combination of looking at pay scales and publication reputation (based on awards such as Hugo or Nebula winners) to prioritize where I submit to.  Although I will say I am occassionally tempted by some themed anthologies, even if they are no-pay because the subject or issue interests me.  That’s where it becomes difficult for me to determine whether or not to follow through on submitting to that market.

So, when it doubt, I sought the advice of the internet and Harlan Ellison answered my question.  Albeit rather vehemently.  🙂  He says, writers should be paid and agreeing to work for nothing is amateurish and destructive for writers as a whole.  It isn’t just about money, but about respect for the work, and recognition that writing IS work.  I have to admit, I found his argument relatively persuasive.

What do you think?  Will you send you blood, sweat, and written work to non-paying markets?  Why?  Does this really benefit the “new” writer?  I’m curious to hear from other people.

Where do you get your stories? No, not THAT question – a more important one

Bookstore by Imaginary GirlOne of the questions that is often asked of writers is, “Where do you get your stories?”  And one that is often met with significant eye-rolling and considerable patience.  However, this isn’t about THAT interpretation of the question.  One of the things that almost every published author I’ve met has advocated, is reading.  To write, you need to read.  If you love writing, then you likely love reading.  To improve your writing, you should read.

But what SHOULD you read?  How do you know WHAT to read?  With so many choices in today’s markets it can be difficult.  There are bookstore choices, friend choices, online Amazon ranking choices, reviewer choices, and other rating based choices as well as, darnit, just whether or not the book has a cool cover image.  I’m old enough (which is to say, not THAT old) to remember when genre fiction was maybe a few shelves or even just one case.  Now there are aisle upon aisle of genre books and more and more books are being made available online.  Including some, where the internet is their primary medium of distribution. In some ways, one could make an argument for new difficulties in the signal to noise ratio and all you can hear is “readmybook!readmybook!readmybook!”

So, how do you find books that you’ll love?  Inquiring Unleaded “minds” want to know.  🙂 How do you discover those little story gems that excite you and remind you why you wanted to write in the first place?

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