Recently I decided to pull together a bunch of short stories I’ve written over the last year and organize them into an anthology. Then I thought I’d use the project as a means to dip a toe in the self-publishing pond.
You know what they say about the road to hell being paved with good intentions.
To begin with I’d allowed my files to get into a messy fix. Once the stockyard got tidied up, I got sidetracked submitting things to various magazines and publishing outlets. My attention span is now that of a six-week old puppy. I’m sure there’s an appropriate video clip on YouTube.
The upside to this expeditional foray is chucking stuff right and left without worrying too much about the results. It’s not like I’m expecting to get representation, or sell a novel, or make a buck. I’m just throwing bits of work out for input…and getting some interesting results. A couple of yeas, a few nays, and even some friendly feedback from editors for why a piece didn’t work for them. That’s helpful, especially if the input might improve the work rather than distill the content down for an individual taste.
One bit of reaction suggested a piece was nicely dark. I snickered. I didn’t think that work was dark at all. Tastes differ, boy howdy.
The biggest surprises have been the rejections claiming my writing is too literary. What? I don’t even know what that means. Too many big words? Too many frilly descriptions? Most of the time I’m the one on the receiving end of the pointy genre finger. Go figure.
If you haven’t jumped into the submission swamp, here are a few links to get you started. There are lots of others. I like these:
Duotrope is great for checking a wide range of markets. I don’t use their tracking feature but I’ve heard people find it useful. There are multiple ways to search markets, so if you only want to isolate paying markets v. freebies, literary v. genre, or print v. digital, you can. Nifty, eh?
Poets & Writers offers a selection of opportunities that vary widely in accessibility, but this is true of most of the writing-oriented publications like Writer Magazine and Writer’s Digest. I’m sure there are more – share your best in the comments so we all know.
Numerous flash fiction markets exist online (google flash fiction submissions). Some places pay nothing but they will thank you profusely for submitting good work. Others like Every Day Fiction offer token compensation so you know you’re loved and appreciated. A rare few pay enough for you and a friend to enjoy a juicy lunch, like Flash Fiction Online. You’ll relish every last bite.
What sort of writing mess have you made for yourself? Is your wordnest a jumbled vortex of drafts in various states of finishedness? Perhaps you have a favored submission destination you’d like to share? C’mon, if we can’t root for each other, nobody else is going to!