The List

Up until this point, I’ve been submitting stories in a somewhat haphazard manner. Sure, I take notes about market guidelines and keep a whole bunch of spreadsheet to track my stories, but I don’t have a system for choosing where to send stories. I needed a system, so I made The List.

After looking at my data on various markets, I compiled an ordered list of magazines. It’s not fancy–just a long list of names–but now I won’t have to waste energy figuring out where a story goes next. Of course, I’ll still follow submission guidelines (so no novellas to places that only want flash fiction), but if the story fits the guidelines, I’m going to send it.

Before The List, I tried to match the story with the magazine, but it turns out I’m terrible at guessing what’s a good fit. And I think it’s too easy for writers to “self-reject”–to think that a market would never be interested, when in fact they might. I’m going to stop guessing what editors want and just send them my best writing.

I ordered my list based on a few factors. First, I prioritized markets on the SFWA qualifying list. That’s often a marker of good things, like stability and higher pay rates. (Also, it would be neat to qualify for SFWA someday.) After that, I considered a number of factors–response rate, reputation, payment, personal rejections, and how much I enjoyed the published stories. (I’d like to add in circulation statistics, when I have time to dig those up.) I also did some research on each magazine, trying to find out how published authors fared. (In other words, did anyone have a problem with contracts/payment or any other such difficulties?)

The list is tailored to the stories I write, and I expect it will shift around as I find new markets or as my writing changes. Hopefully this will streamline my submissions process a bit more.