Monday, January 5, 2009

Want To Be Impressed?

Read This Post on Cate's blog.

Cate is a mild mannered secretary by day (I think), and a fully fledged, underpants on the outside, writing superhero by night (or any other spare time she has it seems).

This list, and other comments made by Cate, has made me come to a decision. I need to pick a couple of markets, study them well, and then write for that market. Currently I'm writing my story, then browsing the markets to find something close, or at least close enough. It's very much like squeezing round pegs into square holes.

I need to focus a little more. Once upon a time I remarked my submission theory was like taking a machine-gun approach. Rather than lining up a market and firing off a submission, I'd line up a submission and fire off at multiple markets. My theory here was if you send to enough markets, then eventually you'd gain a sale. I still think it holds true, look at the wide range of markets Cate has scored with, but Cate also studies her markets before submission, before writing.

She comments on obtaining an antho or subscription to a new market for each month of the coming year. Currently she has two and yet has secured publication in over 20 different publications. Many of these are online publications so I'm guessing she has read an issue or two. Others are antho's which she has obviously hit the theme on the head with her creativity and talent.

Enough compliments for Cate. The point here is the need to study a market, and then write for it, not the other way around.

This year, I'm concentrating on Newland, so there won't be a plethora of new short stories coming from me. This means I need to focus on a couple of markets and read them thoroughly. Then I need to form whatever ideas I have to suit the publication.

I'm going to lower my sights in regards to professional markets - regardless of what advice is out there to the contrary. I want four or five acceptances by the end of the year so I'll target half a dozen publications ranging from exposure to the few cents per word level.

From machine gunner to sniper.

We'll see if my hit ratio improves.

I must say, I did like the imagery I kept all the way through this post... ;c)


  1. Studying your potential markets is a great idea, but feel free to be your own writer. A good story is a good story, even if it takes a while to find the right home.

    I like to read Year's Best collections and "greatest hits" anthos from folks like Ramsey Campbell, Joe Lansdale, and Harlan Ellison. Gives me something to "aim" for (if you'll pardon the pun).

  2. Haha, you're right about great imagery on this post. You're a verbal gun-slinger.

    Thanks for the post on my 52 Stitches story. Much appreciated! :)


  3. Ha! A mild mannered secretary - I'm more of a humble receptionist.

    A lot of the pro markets respond quickly (especially Clarkesworld & F&SF) so I wouldn't give up on subbing to the pro's. Clarkesworld normally reply within 2 or 3 days, F&SF (I've just sent my first sub there) take about 8 days for the guys in the US (a little longer for us overseas people I'm sure as they only accept subs via snail mail).

    Though saying that, it's not always about how much a market pays but how many people read it.

  4. I am still a machine gunner, except with themed anthologies which I am just getting into. Otherwise the stories in my head take on a life of their own.

  5. Sometimes it's hard to tell if a story would really fit the market, so if you're not sure, I say go ahead and send the story. But there's nothing sweeter than selling a story to the first market you send it to. Every time that's happened to me I've researched the market carefully beforehand.

  6. Cate - humble yes. Snail mail markets - no. In this day and age where electronic communication makes life simple and saves trees, I refuse to send short stories via snail mail regardless of the market. Means I'll never get into a few US-based pro markets--so be it. I'm happy to send novel manuscripts via snail mail as that is still the norm, but there are plenty of short markets accepting email - as they should.

    Aaron - I read a few of the "Best of" anthos. Very true about the inspiration. My story Wamphyri was inspired by a story from one of those types of publications.

    Hi Mercedes - welcome to the musings. Don't be a stranger. You're welcome for the comments - well deserved.

    KC - First time sell is what I'm after, or at least to have the story sell by sub 2 or 3.

    Jamie - in the end, I think I'll always be a machine gunner but I need to improve my aim - and my story telling ability.

  7. I wish I had the talent to write anything to suit a market.

    My niche kind of horror doesn't really suit most markets but it's the truest writing for me. It's the stuff I get emotional about and give a shit about enough to write about.