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William Green

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How much do you guys spend on your submissions if anything? It seems like so many of the literary journals are charging fees. A way around this some places is to mail hard copies, but that costs about the same as a fee. I want to submit my work to these places and have before (with no real luck). Last year I submitted everywhere I wanted. I didn't keep track of what it was costing me, but it did add up, I'm sure. I want to be smarter about this, but I also want to give myself and my stories a real opportunity to be published. I know a lot of you write genre and don't have this problem, but what do you think is a reasonable amount to spend on submissions (including contests) for a year? Or since I am having such a hard time placing my fiction am I just wasting money? I would love to hear from some of you about this. I feel like if I just ignore all the markets I would have to spend money to submit to, then I'm not really trying and pursuing all my options. It's just that money is real tight right now. Am I too poor to be a short story writer?

My experiences/opinion:

I submit to a lot of literary journals. In five years of submitting, I think I've paid a submission fee four times (twice to Crazyhorse, once to PRISM and SUBTTERAIN). I don't believe I'll ever pay a submission fee again. There are many cool journals I would love to appear in, but I can't justify paying a submission fee, not when there are so many places that do not charge a fee.

I'm not sure where you are, but in Canada, most of the top-tier (in my opinion) literary journals do not charge fees (The Fiddlehead, The New Quarterly, Grain, Event, Malahat Review). FH and TNQ accept hard-copy submissions only, but the other three I listed accept on-line submissions.

I've read all the reasons literary journals have for charging fees and accept that, but a couple things rub me the wrong way. The best way to support a journal is by subscribing. When I have a subscription, it is galling to still be expected to pay to submit a story. The other thing that bothers me is knowing how little of the submission fee goes to the journal. Last time I read the guidelines, Submittable charges 99 cents per transaction, plus 5% of the total. So on a $3 submission fee the magazine gets less than a third.

I'm in the same boat as you in that I don't have the money to spend on submissions, but I don't consider ignoring places that charge fees to be "not really trying and pursuing all my options". I feel very lucky to be sending stories out at this time because of the overwhelming number of markets that accept electronic submissions. If I had to pay to print out and mail every story, there is no way I would be able to submit to all the places I do, and I know for a fact some of my best sales never would have happened because I wouldn't have felt justified paying to send in "a long shot".
 

Sara K.

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I've put in a suggestion at Duotrope to allow submitters to mark which theme their submission is for (if that magazine has theme issues running).

I'm going mad watching rejections roll in submitted well after my sub, and would love to know if it's for general submissions, other themes or my theme. They said they'd pass it on to the devs - we never say that at my workplace unless we actually have, but I don't know how Duotrope handles that kind of suggestion.
 

fairphyllis

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Hello writers!

I'm delurking myself, mainly because I wanted to stop by and say thank you to the community for your posts! This is the year I've decided to throw myself into the whole sending-out-my-stuff thing, with a goal of writing a short story every month and submitting it. No bites yet, except a second round at Clarkesworld, but I'm hanging in there :) But reading this forum has been such a great source of inspiration and information for me in my attempt to become a published writer, so thank you everyone!

Hope you are all having a great week of writing!
 
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Sara K.

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Hello writers!

I'm delurking myself, mainly because I wanted to stop by and say thank you to the community for your posts! This is the year I've decided to throw myself into the whole sending-out-my-stuff thing, with a goal of writing a short story every month and submitting it. No bites yet, except a second round at Clarkesworld, but I'm hanging in there :) But reading this forum has been such a great source of inspiration and information for me in my attempt to become a published writer, so thank you everyone!

Hope you are all having a great week of writing!

Hey, welcome! That's really awesome - especially a second round at Clarkesworld, which is a huge accomplishment :) Definitely should give you more fire to submit far and wide.

Do keep stopping by and saying how you get on :D It's nice to see news from other writers!
 

fairphyllis

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Hey, welcome! That's really awesome - especially a second round at Clarkesworld, which is a huge accomplishment :) Definitely should give you more fire to submit far and wide.

Do keep stopping by and saying how you get on :D It's nice to see news from other writers!

Thank you so much for your reply and encouragement! I was so sad to get the 'close but no' a couple of weeks after the CW bump. But now that the same story has collected four more rejections, I am feeling weirdly strengthened by the whole thing. I am a super sensitive person and have historically taken rejection badly, but these ones just remind me that I'm in the game, I'm respecting myself and my abilities, such as they are, by committing to this process. This is new and different for me! I thought rejection would hurt more because I want this (to write) so much, but it seems like the wanting it makes hurt less because it reminds me I'm really doing this.

Ugh, that was long and convoluted.

Anyway, my Feb and March stories are still out at their first markets, and I'm well ahead on my April story. :)
 

Sara K.

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Thank you so much for your reply and encouragement! I was so sad to get the 'close but no' a couple of weeks after the CW bump. But now that the same story has collected four more rejections, I am feeling weirdly strengthened by the whole thing. I am a super sensitive person and have historically taken rejection badly, but these ones just remind me that I'm in the game, I'm respecting myself and my abilities, such as they are, by committing to this process. This is new and different for me! I thought rejection would hurt more because I want this (to write) so much, but it seems like the wanting it makes hurt less because it reminds me I'm really doing this.

Ugh, that was long and convoluted.

Anyway, my Feb and March stories are still out at their first markets, and I'm well ahead on my April story. :)

CW is one of the toughest markets - ranked as the #1 most challenging market on Duotrope - and only take a small amount of unsolicited stories a year (I believe), so second rounded with them is as happy as you can be about a rejection, honestly! Nice to know you're writing is getting serious consideration, and I'm sure you'll find a good home for it.

Exactly - there's only one thing worst than rejections, and that's not submitting at all!

You have encouraged me on too - I wrote a Twitter fic this evening to bolster my stats, since previously I'd only written 1 story this year. And then remembered that I didn't put "END" at the end of my DSF submission. Ugh, have emailed them, but hope it doesn't result in auto-rejection.

Anyway, on with my March story, which I have a pretty solid idea for. If only I'd spend less time putting off my WIP novelette.
 

fairphyllis

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Ohhhhhhh crap. My March story is at DSF with no 'end' at the end! And I thought I had read the guidelines so carefully! Ah, that is why this forum is so good. Now I know for next time! (And now I know you can never read those guidelines too carefully!)
 

shortstorymachinist

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Anyone know what's happened at Asimov's? I haven't submitted there since 2015, and I checked them out on the Grinder today and saw their average response time had skyrocketed to 111 days. The stories I subbed there in the past were all rejected inside a month.
 

_Sian_

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Hey is anyone having trouble submitting to analog? I've now tried three different browsers and three different computers and it fails to send every single time. Wondering if it's just me (and if it's not, does anyone know if there's just the one editor, or how I address a "hey, your submissions gateway is broken for me" email? )
 
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shortstorymachinist

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Hey is anyone having trouble submitting to Asimovs? I've now tried three different browsers and three different computers and it fails to send every single time. Wondering if it's just me (and if it's not, does anyone know if there's just the one editor, or how I address a "hey, your submissions gateway is broken for me" email? )

I was able to send them a story ten days ago, not sure if that's helpful or not. I'm not seeing anything on Twitter about it.
 

_Sian_

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So it's both Asimov and Analog that isn't working for me. Which is extreamly annoying. I did send an email - the worst they can do is ignore it. I might try again on the university computers tomorrow
 

CharlyT

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This spring I made my first sale to a semi-pro market, and the editor had requested some significant edits. I was happy to do them (though nervous that I wouldn't be able to do it right), and was finally exposed to what working with a good editor looks like. I'm still amazed, so many months later, at just how much of a confidence booster the whole experience was. Because of it I finally felt strong enough to join a serious critique group, and I'm happy to say that even when the group can be rough on a particular submission, it no longer paralyzes me the way getting critiques used to.

I always knew that critiquers (usually) don't approach giving feedback with the intent to discourage or cut someone down, but that had zero impact on my confidence. Getting the sales I have over the last couple of years has given me the confidence to keep practicing and honing my skills that years of dabbling and trashing didn't. I opened up an older novel project a few months ago and almost gagged at just how horrible my early efforts were and shut that project down for good. However, I have found that it takes much, much longer to get that first draft done than it did in the early years (ie, going from 1000/hr to 150-200/hr), and so approaching novel work now feels more daunting whereas shorts had always been more daunting for me previously.

Has anyone else noticed that pattern? If so, were there any tricks you used to get yourself past that hurdle to bring your writing speed back up?
 

zanzjan

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CharlyT, yeah, I find that my first drafts are no longer the wild, head-long throwing myself off a cliff with abandon they used to be. They take longer and are more thinky and tinkery. OTOH, the former resulting hot mess is much more a warm clutter, which saves me a LOT of grief at revision time. I find that thinking about how fast I *used* to write first drafts slows me down, because I forget I'm swapping out time now for later.
 

zanzjan

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Also, just as a note, I wanted to point out the announcement about the upcoming AW Server Move.

At that link there's information about what to expect (some downtime) and where to go to get your AW fix during the outage.
 

JJ Litke

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However, I have found that it takes much, much longer to get that first draft done than it did in the early years (ie, going from 1000/hr to 150-200/hr), and so approaching novel work now feels more daunting whereas shorts had always been more daunting for me previously.

Has anyone else noticed that pattern? If so, were there any tricks you used to get yourself past that hurdle to bring your writing speed back up?

If I figure out a trick, I'll let you know. I've got a manuscript I'm querying now that's going nowhere. This manuscript made it into Pitch Madness last spring, but it sure isn't drawing agent interest. I spent a big chunk of last year working on that, and now I think I need to give up and just burn through the rest of my agent list, just to have it done.

Anyway, I've got a new project roughly outlined. That's been done for months. I want to expand the outline, but instead of doing that, I keep reading how-to writing books. Then switched to revising a short story so I could start subbing that. Then wrote another short story and started subbing that. Anything to avoid starting the novel.

So, I don't know what'll happen if/when I actually start work on the first draft, but my outlining process has become waaaay more complicated and time-consuming than before.
 

Qwest

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Sent off my first piece of flash fiction today. It was terrifying pressing send, but it's off! My plan is to submit at least one short story, poem or flash fiction for each month of the year - two if I can manage to get two polished. Great to have an inspiring and informative place to hang out!
 

Qwest

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Hey Charly T, I must say my second novel was pure hell. And the third I've written, popped out more easily. I wonder if projects aren't different? That perhaps it depends on what's going on in your life?

OK... I've sent off a short story now for this month. It helped that there was a deadline to work towards. So far I'm still on for Write 1 - Sub 1.
 

LadyRedRover

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Hello everyone! I love the idea of this challenge and am psyched to get started! :hooray:

I've sent out a few stories in the last two years, but I'd like to get a routine established where I'm more consistent with sending out submissions, rather than allowing my stories to rot on my hard drive. With this in mind, I'm aiming to submit about 3 short stories a month. Advice, tips, and a hard drink are always appreciated lol

Today, I submitted a short story to Flash Fiction Online. I've sent to them before and been rejected, but I feel like this story is closer to what they're looking for. Fingers crossed, right?

Looking forward to getting to know you all!
LadyRed
 

zanzjan

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That's the way to do it, LadyRedRover. Persist and conquer! :)
 

LadyRedRover

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Thanks zanzjan! :D I'm sticking it out so far. ^_^ I was curious though-- is this the place to put updates? Or should I start a personal thread?

Sent out another story today. I think it's good, but I'm not getting my hopes up yet. In the meantime, I'm finishing up another short story and hope to have another in the submission box by the end of the week. I'm not sure how next month is going to work out since I'm participating in Camp NaNoWriMo and I have a novel I want to work on. Any suggestions for how to balance the two goals of drafting a novel and submitting stories?
 

zanzjan

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Sorry I've been a bit awol -- busy busy busy -- but checking in to see how folks are doing and how your year is going so far.
 

LadyRedRover

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Hey everyone :) Things went off the rails in April, so I wasn't able to do my monthly update thing.

I received two rejections in April (and didn't submit anything) and then sent out one story in May. Not the best track record, but hopefully I'll get back on board in June.

On the bright side, I have an urban fantasy story in edits and two stories (a sci-fi and a fantasy) that are nearing draft status. I'm also aiming at finishing/editing a short story for an anthology deadline in July.

How's everyone else coming along?
 

Isilya

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Just subbed my first story to market. That was a terrifying leap but I feel much better having sent it off.

I have two I'm getting ready to draft and I hope to have them done in late July.
 

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