Two writer goals I set for myself in January 2011 were: Publish a short story in a literary magazine; and, Sell a short story. I'm working toward other goals too, but this afternoon I want to focus on the two above.
To accomplish the goal of publishing in a literary magazine, I organized myself in a couple areas. First, I created an account at Duotrope.com. For those who aren't familiar, Duotrope is "an award-winning, free writers' resource listing over 3550 current Fiction and Poetry publications." (Text borrowed from website.) This is my Submission Central, where I learn of markets open for query and where I track my submissions.
Using Duotrope's tools, I determined what literary magazines represent my A-List Markets -- in other words, where I'd most like to see my work accepted. I won't lie; the magazines and reviews on this list are all ranked by Duotrope as the "Most Challenging Fiction Markets," with an average acceptance rate of only 0.51%. Hey, what can I say? I aim high.
I also have a B-List and a C-List of literary markets I'm interested in. I first submit a story to a batch of A-List markets. As I receive rejections, I submit to markets in the next tier down. Finding the right market, for the right story, at the right time is an exercise in patience and perseverance.
The second goal ups the stakes for me. I want to be a paid author. I'm not interested in making a living on my writing. But there is, for me personally, a level of prestige that comes along with an editor viewing my fiction as a product that he or she is willing to purchase in order to best achieve his or her marketing objectives. Selling a story is on my bucket list and this is the year I've decided to cross it off.
Today I came across an excellent article written by literary magazine editor Lynne Barrett, which I found extremely helpful. I wanted to pass the link on to anyone who, like me, is submitting their work to literary markets. In fact, I think the advice is pertinent to any writer submitting work of any length, because it covers the importance of following submission guidelines, how to handle rejections of various types and lengths, and the proper protocol when responding to an acceptance.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Thanks for stopping by~