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View Full Version : What counts as a publishing credit?



scottishpunk
04-20-2011, 11:53 PM
I recently sold my first short story ever (yay!) to a magazine. Can I list it as a publishing credit as I send stories out to other markets, or do I need to wait until the magazine comes out before I can legitimately claim I'm published?

quicklime
04-20-2011, 11:55 PM
it was accepted, you can say that instead of published.

make sure the magazine matters, a shady pub says more than none at all too.

scottishpunk
04-20-2011, 11:59 PM
make sure the magazine matters, a shady pub says more than none at all too.

How can I make sure it "matters?"

efultz
04-21-2011, 12:01 AM
Same question here. What about online mag pubs? Does it have to be a paying market to count?

quicklime
04-21-2011, 12:04 AM
it doesn't have to pay (although the two often correlate) but it has to be a journal where you had to beat some ass for a place at the table--if they accept anything, then it doesn't show you off as anything special.

The Atlantic matters, and is huge. "Uncle Jim's weekly web-o-zine" does not.

quicklime
04-21-2011, 12:10 AM
think of it like name-dropping....

"I know Robert Gates" is pretty impressive.

"I know Deputy Roberts", not so much.


did you publish someplace impressive, or not? because an agent will know the difference, and they will start to form opinions about why you told them if it was an insignificant pub credit....

Chris P
04-21-2011, 12:16 AM
Aside of pay rates, what other measures of "mattering" matter? And how do we find that out? Duotrope does not list readership, etc. Can we assume based on acceptance rate?

scottishpunk
04-21-2011, 12:17 AM
I sold my story to Arcane, a small, new magazine, but a legitimate paying market (1 cent/word +contributor's copy). Is that worth mentioning?

quicklime
04-21-2011, 12:25 AM
Aside of pay rates, what other measures of "mattering" matter? And how do we find that out? Duotrope does not list readership, etc. Can we assume based on acceptance rate?


good question; deciding what counts is a hell of a lot harder. There is no solid line.

For me, I took third in a small UK fiction contest a few years ago, and went into Dark Angel Rising before they folded. In the queries I've worked up, i haven't listed them; I might list anything semi-pro, and would list anything pro, but I'd be reluctant to list anything below that. On the other hand, I can't say an agent decides the same as I do, just that my fear is I may do more damage with an unimpressive pub than none at all so I try to err on the side of caution.

quicklime
04-21-2011, 12:26 AM
I sold my story to Arcane, a small, new magazine, but a legitimate paying market (1 cent/word +contributor's copy). Is that worth mentioning?

See what other input you get, work on a sort of running tally--hopefully you will get a half-dozen or so replies.

DeleyanLee
04-21-2011, 12:31 AM
Whether or not an online publication is worth mentioning to an NYC agency depends on circulation/sales.

The bigger that number, the more cred it has whether it's a novel or a short story.

There is some validity to judging by how much they pay, since they tend to have the best revenue. Check with any professional writing association for your genre (SFWA, RWA, HWA, etc) to see what their minimum standards are. My experience is that's a general guideline.

Best of luck.

Chris P
04-21-2011, 12:34 AM
This comes up with POD/SP novels as well. Unless they have sold a significant (>5000) number of copies, it's considered a negative to list them. IANAA (I am not an agent), but it seems to me pubbing POD shouldn't automatically be the mark of a bad writer. Same with publishing in non-paying or token paying markets. I had assumed these credits would be "invisible" at worst; neither good nor bad. If the agent didn't regard them highly, they would be ignored. But this seems to not be the case.

Miriel
04-21-2011, 02:21 AM
SFWA pro markets listed here: http://www.sfwa.org/join-us/sfwa-membership-requirements/#shortfiction

Arcane (which a cursory Google showed as being speculative, which is why I listed the SFWA), being new and semi-pro payment, isn't on the list. I have a sale to a rather old semi-pro magazine I love. I include this credit in subs to other short fiction markets, but not to agents -- I figure they probably won't be familiar with it. It's always your call -- to me, it feels like either way would be fine.

Jamesaritchie
04-21-2011, 04:32 AM
How well known is the magazine, and how impressed would you be if you were an agent and a writer said that magazine took one of your stories?

maestrowork
04-21-2011, 04:41 AM
How well known is the magazine, and how impressed would you be if you were an agent and a writer said that magazine took one of your stories?

It's not necessarily about IMPRESSING an agent, though. Otherwise, no one should list anything unless you've been published by the big guns or you're a ex-CIA agent or President of the United States. Credits are used to show that you can write, and that someone else actually PAID to publish your work. I wouldn't list anything that is not a paying market, unless it's something prestigious or well known. Otherwise, a paying market is fine.

James D. Macdonald
04-23-2011, 05:11 PM
You can measure prestige in a lot of ways. Payment is just one of them. Do big-name authors regularly publish there? Do stories that appeared there frequently turn up on award-nomination lists, winning awards, or reprinted in "best of" anthologies?

You have to be well-enough wired in to your genre's community to know which markets are the good ones.

The purpose of "credits" is to show the agent/editor that someone thought highly enough of your writing to select it ahead of others--that you're capable of writing on a professional level.

A long series of low prestige 4theluv or 1/4-cent-a-word crudzines makes the editor/agent's heart sink -- they assume your stories were rejected by everyone above those places on the food chain and that that's the best you can do.

Same deal if you have a few prestigious publications, but they were thirty years ago with nothing since (Exception: If the prestigious publication was Catcher in the Rye or Catch-22.) They'll assume that you've been trying all the way along, but that you've been rejected all over town.

Better to list nothing (because a first-timer can be wonderful), than to make it look like you have the pale L of Loser branded on your forehead. Better to have the reader's mindset be "Maybe he's good," rather than "Probably he's bad" before that reader even turns to the first page.

(BTW, "Uncle Jim's weekly web-o-zine"is a wonderful market. It's so great that I'm keeping it for myself! Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!)

Jamesaritchie
04-23-2011, 06:46 PM
It's not necessarily about IMPRESSING an agent, though. Otherwise, no one should list anything unless you've been published by the big guns or you're a ex-CIA agent or President of the United States. Credits are used to show that you can write, and that someone else actually PAID to publish your work. I wouldn't list anything that is not a paying market, unless it's something prestigious or well known. Otherwise, a paying market is fine.

I can't think of a better word that "impress". An agent is impressed when and if a writer shows they can beat out big name writers. This does not have to mean a large, high paying magazine. Some no pay literary magazines are incredibly difficult to get into, and big name writers regularly submit stories there.

Just because a market pays something does not mean it's credit worthy, and just because a magazine pays nothing does not mean it isn't.

And, honestly, it's the big guns in a given field which do impress an agent or editor. An agent or an editor does not care that you can sell something, somewhere, for a penny a word. If you can't do this, you need to find another line of work.

An agent in particular wants to know you can not only compete with the big names, but beat them out in head to head competition, whether at a top magazine for pay, or a top magazine for prestige. This impresses an agent. Not much else does.

This doesn't necessarily mean selling stories for thousands of dollars, but it does mean selling to the better magazines in whatever your genre might be. It's not really about pay, but if you didn't have to beat out big name writers in order to sell the story, it's probably not credit worthy.