So you’ve written a short story and you want to get it published, but where do you send it?
The answer is here:
No matter which genre, you will find all the magazines and competitions and anthologies and a whole lot more besides on these two websites.
Duotrope is a database with over 3000 markets listed! Personally I find Ralan a little easier to browse than Duotrope, however Duotrope covers non-genre as well as genre and if you get to grips with the search facility you can really make it sing and dance.
Duotrope allows users to submit response times, so the data available is what the writers report it to be rather than what the magazine wants it to be – and although most magazines are honest about their return times the truth is sometimes ’embellished’. Analog is a great example of an accurately quoted response time. The magazine’s website states: “Our average response time runs about five weeks. If you have not heard from us in three months, you can query us about the submission.” Duotrope lists their return times as “31.6 avg. days” for a rejection, “50 avg. days” for an acceptance and “75.5 avg. days” for a rewrite request.
Duotrope‘s search facility is very powerful – and if you create an account (required for logging submission times) you can save your search for the future. For example, I was interested in UK-based, print-only magazines that accept electronic submissions:
- Genre: Any Genre
- Length: Short Story
- Payscale/Royalties: Any
- Medium: Print
- Sub Type: Electronic
- Country: United Kingdom
- Keyword/Phrase*: a
* I have to include something in this field for a UK search. Entering the letter ‘a’ seems to work OK.
I get 51 matches and the results show me straight away the name of the magazine with a link to click on for more information (I right-click the link to open in a new tab to keep my search results). The results also include icons for Genre (G general, S science fiction, H horror), Lengths (P poem, F flash fiction, S short story), Payment (N no payment, T token, S semi-pro, P pro), and Media (P print, E electronic):
Other features to look out for on Duotrope include:
- Newsletter/RSS > Free E-mail Newsletter. This weekly newsletter includes market updates – magazines that are opening or closing to submissions – as well as deadlines for competitions, anthology or magazine themes. This is a great way to keep up to date without having manually trawl through dozens of individual websites.
- Search > Find By Title. If you’re looking for a specific magazine you can use this feature to track them down.
- Report Submission. You’ll need to create an account, but this is a great way of tracking your responses and you will be helping everyone else by keeping the data on Duotrope up to date.
Ralan lists a whole bunch of speculative fiction markets. Yes – that ‘market’ term – I’m not sure I like it either, but you want to have your story published right? So you want to sell your story? Perhaps your primary motivation isn’t to make money, but hard cash is likely to be earned at some point.
Ralan divides his website into a number of different areas with navigation links at the top of the page. The pages I use the most are:
- Pro: paying 5¢/word or more, you might recognise a lot of these magazines such as Analog and Asimov’s, F&SF and Fantasy Magazine – but there are plenty of other fine magazines listed here such as Apex Magazine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Strange Horizons and a whole lot more.
- Semi-pro: paying 3¢/word and up, this middle-market seems to be less populated nowadays. You’ll find the likes of Basement Stories (where I will soon be published!) and Interzone here.
- Pay: these markets generally pay less than 3¢/word; sometimes they use a royalty or shared profits system. Ignore these markets at your peril! There is a vast amount of talent in these magazines – in several cases easily as good, if not better, then the semi-pro and pro markets. Murky Depths for example (ooh, where I’m going to be published soon…).
Each page features a list of markets, with links for each market directly to their website submissions details page. Each entry also includes a summary of information for the market, for example whether the publication is print or electronic, acceptable genres (SF for science fiction, F for fantasy etc), pay rates, word count, return times (RT) and, most importantly for me, whether electronic submissions are accepted or not. I say ‘most importantly’ because I live in the UK and most markets are based in the US and postal submissions are a pain.
In the following example, you can see at a glance that Analog are a print magazine, they prefer science fiction, they pay 5¢/word or more depending on story length, but they prefer 2000-7000 words, return time is a month and they prefer electronic submissions (hurrah!).
The top of each page also lists the most recent updates – this is a great way to see exactly what’s happening at glance.
Finally, you can subscribe to Ralan‘s mailing list and get these updates emailed to you once per month.
One Last Word…
Both of these websites are totally free, which is insanely generous! But they only continue to operate based on voluntary donations. Using Ralan and Duotrope has certainly helped me to find markets for stories I have sold. So I’ve donated to both of them – please feel free to do the same. Just $5 or $10 will help. You can find links on their websites.