Sometimes the writing isn’t the most time-consuming part of “writing.” There’s quite a bit of housekeeping involved.
The one question that’s came up repeatedly, is where to submit fiction? Being a gal with a speculative/futurist outlook, I tend towards science fiction. So a good place to start is the list of SFWA Qualifying Markets.
This is an important list to be on. The magazines1 must meet the current SFWA “minimum wage” to qualify. Currently this is six United States pennies per word. While not a lot, it means the writing is valued. It also means the markets have a certain level of prestige.
Looking at the list is all fine and good. But it’s only a start. Did you notice that none of the magazine names are links? Just knowing the markets is a starting point. So I set off to create my own list, which has all the relevant information for each magazine.
What started out as a “lets do some searching, and make a list” turned into a spreadsheet!
I gathered the links to the magazine home page, submission guidelines, and submission link, along with pay rate and preferred word counts. It’s surprisingly complete.
It also turned into more work2 than I was expecting.
Finding the submission guidelines is easy. There’s usually a link right on the magazine’s front page. It’s the other details that need to be teased out. Only a few magazines say when they pay. Once I have all the details gathered from the various guidelines, I might start the second phase. That would be to begin emailing the editors for the missing information.
Just thoroughly reading the guidelines can be time-consuming. The variety of styles is quite refreshing. It’s enjoyable to read guidelines written by someone with a clear sense of what they want to publish.
Another benefit to having read all the guidelines over the course of a few days is the mental map I have of the submissions “universe.” This will come in handy if a slight edit can bring a story into line with a given magazine.
This is another task that involves a lot of upfront work. But once done will be a solid quick reference.