Finding Markets

Probably the two most frequently asked questions I get are “how do you manage to do everything you do?” and “where do you find markets for your short stories and poems?” The first question deserves its own blog post and I’ll get back to that one of these days.

The last few years I’ve been very lucky and the answer to the second question has largely been I don’t find markets, they find me. Many of the stories I’ve sold during that time have been to editors who have requested material from me. Now, just because an editor requests a story from me doesn’t mean they’ll buy it. I’ve been fortunate that most have, but every now and then, someone requests a story but doesn’t feel like the story I sent them was among the best they had to choose from. When that happens, I don’t really sweat it. That just means I have a story I can send to other markets.

At this point, I have a list of editors whose tastes I’m pretty familiar with, so I don’t end up going to market lists very often. I typically go directly to the market’s website and check to make sure I’ve formatted everything according to the current requirements and send the story along. (Take special note, I ALWAYS check the guidelines even when I know the editor well!)

Despite that, every now and then I either have a story I want to try on a new market or I have a story that doesn’t fit one of the markets I know well. How do I find a market for such a story?

Typically the first place I’ll go is Ralan.com. The site is run by speculative fiction writer Ralan Conley and focuses on speculative and humor markets. He does a great job of keeping his market list up to date and the site is completely free.

If I’m looking for a poetry market, a great resource is the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s Market List. This site provides a list of links and some basic info about each market.

Duotrope.com is another great market list. They feature editor interviews, reports of response times, the list is easily searchable and it’s not limited to speculative markets. Duotrope has been a free site, but starting in January, you will have to pay a fee of $5.00 a month or $50.00 per year to access their best features. Note, you will still be able to access their basic list for free.

As an aside, Tales of the Talisman contributor Melinda Moore is running a monthly writing contest and the prizes include subscriptions to Duotrope.com. You can check out her current contest at: http://enchantedspark.com/blog.php?s=photo-flare-contest.

Of course, the granddaddy of all market lists is Writer’s Market, which used to exist exclusively as a thick book, but now exists on line as well. Like Duotrope, you have to pay to access the online features ($5.99 per month or $39.99 per year). Despite that, they still publish the big, thick book and most libraries still buy copies, so you can go there and browse it for free. (I often do!)

Whatever market list you use, there’s no substitute for actually going and visiting the market’s website and checking their most up-to-date guidelines. It’s the best way to assure that editors will remember you in a good way. Getting editors to remember you in a good way is one of the important steps to getting them to invite you to send them stuff in the future!

Here’s wishing you all the best in your search for good places to sell your stories!

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2 comments on “Finding Markets

  1. Great information, and thanks for the mention! How long were you writing before you started getting regular invitations?

    • Thanks, Melinda, and you’re certainly welcome about the mention. In my case, it took about a dozen years after my first sale to start receiving regular invitations. I’m sure it varies a bit from person to person and depends a lot on how much networking the author is able to do.

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