If you’ve read the previous article on using Manuscript Format, your next question might well be “But where do I send my completed, properly formatted, proofread story?” Lucky for you, I’m here to show you a couple tricks for finding markets.
The Submission Grinder
The Submission Grinder is a free resource, a searchable database of magazines, websites, contests, and anthologies that publish a slew of short fiction. Their advanced search is a godsend for navigating the markets, letting you narrow in on those places paying professional rates in your chosen genres.
By default, The Grinder filters out closed (either permanently or temporarily), but you can adjust that in the Exclusions section. Just in case you want to check on submission guidelines for temporarily closed markets. You can also filter for just contests or anthologies.
The listings page gives you pay scale, links to the market’s website and guidelines, updates on any upcoming closures, and market response data. This data is user submitted, and in my experience succeeds in causing angst rather than giving a valuable insight into any market’s slush pile. Save yourself some trouble and skip that part. You want links to open markets, guidelines, and pay scale. That’s all.
If you want to contribute to that flow of data in the hopes of making it more accurate, you can register for a free account. Logged in users have some more tools at their disposal, and the site can be used to track your current and past submissions. Full disclosure, I only use the basic functionality of the site, so I’m unregistered.
I’m assuming you want to write fiction at a professional level. Maybe you’ve heard you should start with the token pay or write for exposure markets. That is bad advice. Go to the pros.
What if you took all the same data from The Submission Grinder, wrapped it in modern web design, and charged money for it? You’d have Duotrope.
That’s a little unfair. When I tried Duotrope there were many useful features for people who were not me. I’m not looking for an agent, I’m not using a website to track my submissions, I’m not that interested in the submission/publication data points they’ve collected. If all of that is up your alley, please give their 7 day trial a shot.
All the same information on markets you’d find at The Submission Grinder is there, only in broad categories and obfuscated groups. You have to pay to get the details. And there’s no free way to search the site, so be prepared to open your wallet or use site:duotrope.com $marketName searches in Bing.
There’s no fancy membership options or data reporting at Ralan.com. No flashy graphs or ability to track your submissions. It’s simply a very minimal, very up-to-date listing of science fiction, fantasy, and horror markets, divided into pro, semi-pro, token pay, anthologies, and contests. You’ll only need the first category and the last two.
Each market listing has the name of the editor/editors, average reply time, pay scales, and any special considerations such as themed issues or temporary closures. There’s a second page that gives slightly more of a look at each market, but generally you’ll just browse for a market that suits the story you have, click the link on Ralan.com, and shoot right to the submission guidelines. Absolutely no bells and whistles here.
One thing to remember, Ralan is genre-focused, so expect speculative fiction, mystery, and horror here, and not much on the old General Fiction markets.
The Back Of The Book
If you read annual collections like The Best American Mystery Stories, each story will list the market where it first appeared (or was reprinted that year, in some cases). For the Best American series, a listing of, say, American and Canadian fiction markets, or American science fiction magazines will be listed in the back of the book. You still have to search the Internet to get their guidelines and reading periods, but it’s just another way to find new to you markets in your genre.
And The Rest
Writer’s Digest has (had? I haven’t seen a physical copy of that magazine in a while) a list of fiction and non-fiction markets. The site Writers Write has market listings. Even the SFWA lists speculative fiction markets (and ones they encourage writers to avoid).
Go And Do Likewise
Well, now you have a finished story, in proper Manuscript Format, a supply of markets awaiting your submission, and the tools to find new markets in the future. So what exactly are you waiting for?