The Market Says

Discussing the magazine market with my friend, she said there was a bigger market for ‘how to write’ especially in the speculative fiction field than there was for the fiction. She’s been researching for her own magazine, and I don’t doubt it.

But it’s a little funny, since in order to write for any genre you need to be familiar with the genre. Of course, they’re probably buying books instead of magazines, but why?

If we’re out for the short story market, it’s best to get our hands on the actual publication we want to have purchase our work. (I’m sure that’s best in every market.) Wouldn’t that make the demand equal for both products?

Are we trying to write in a vacuum?

Maybe we’re listening to the characters in our head. What’s to stop them from taking over the story? Not that it’s bad for them to take over the story, that’s part of what happens when they become real to the author. I guess I’m asking: How do we know they have the best plot possible, if we have nothing to compare to?

Not that we want to redo a plot. I know I’ve heard Twilight has a lot of similarities to Wuthering Heights (can’t be bad to be compared with a classic), but I wonder sometimes where the line can be drawn between using an old plot with newish characters, like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and the arguable every plot can be traced back to one of [insert number of plots below 50 you think there are].

Have you ever wondered what the true fascination with Zombies really is? I think if I get around to reading those re-makes, I’ll choose Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters instead…

Literary Madness

One great thing about a network of writer friends is I get random calls about things if they think I might be interested.

Yesterday the news was about a bunch of literary editors coming to Iowa City. The newspaper article was a bit misleading, but it was still interesting to go. I’m not sure how much I learned just yet, but I enjoyed chatting with the editors of various journals like The Missouri Review. I bought a couple, and can’t wait to read them.

Perhaps I’ll even submit to them soon.

Oh, Random Thought!

I walked up the stairs in my house today, probably for the tenth time, and I randomly thought to myself, “I could start a magazine.”

Some days I dont have a clue where these thoughts come from. Obviously my focus is to be a published author, and not to self-publish in any way, but the thought of finding cool pieces to put together into a magazine and share with others has some appeal.

Then I remember I don’t have any money to do a project like this and all my available time is spent writing and promoting and attempting to publish.

Still, it might be fun.

Oh, the questions are still there:
Print or online?
Who would be the staff?
Focus/target audience?
Am I insane?


Start a magazine (the glossy kind with pictures)

Start a magazine (more generic and mentions online stuff)

While both of these are Helium articles, I found 2 and 3 of the 4 listed articles to not be so helpful for the information I seek. If this is something I’d proceed with, I may have to chat up some editors. It’s thankless work, but someone has to do it. (And Kudos to all of those who do, even if you reject me!)


Now and then, I re-evaluate my current submissions and look for what I could send out.

I’m still waiting to hear from an anthology that I submitted to last November. I know I made it through the slush pile; I’m hoping I made it through the rest, but I don’t want to bug the editor.

I sent a flash fiction piece out for another anthology today.

Later this week I’ll send out a short story to a magazine. Just little tweaks here and there, but it’s better to let it sit a few extra days than to bang your face against the desk when it comes back rejected and you found you hadn’t looked it over that one last time. Or worse, you sent the older version of a file.

Also finishing up a title for Helium. Looks like a productive day.

Attempt to Publish

I’m always both excited and nervous when it comes time to submit to a new market. I have a short story geared toward children I’m sending to a magazine that’s a bigger market than I’ve tried before. Usually I’ve been submitting adult articles to science fiction magazines, so it’s different that way, too.

I like the e-submit options that a lot of those magazines have. However, there’s something about actually printing the story that makes me keep reading it over. How good is good enough? When do you stop and just mail it? Where did I leave all my envelopes? (I moved a few months ago and I haven’t necessarily figured out where I put everything yet, though most things I ‘lose’ can be found within a few minutes searching.)

I promised myself it’d be ready to mail this week and Wednesday turned into Friday. I wasn’t planning to go to the post office today, but I’d better if I’m going to meet my goal!

The ‘good’ versus ‘good enough’ question gets a lot of writers, I think. I know several who don’t send things out, always tweaking just a little bit more. As we learn, yes, our stories improve, but if we never send anything out, what progress are we making? Isn’t the purpose to share?