Tag Archives: short stories

Six Reasons Why Duotrope Is A Game Changer For Publishing Short Fiction And Poetry

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As you may know, I offer publishing consultancy services for writers looking to publish their writing.

Here’s a dirty little secret, you can do the job 100% by yourself. Tonight, I am going to expound on why if you write short fiction and/or poetry, you need to subscribe to Duotrope.com. For only $5/month ($50/year), you gain access to a searchable index of over 5,000 literary journals. Without a doubt, Duotrope is the key to finding esteemed literary magazines to publish your short fiction and poetry.

Here are six reasons why any short story writer or poet needs to get on Duotrope:

  1. You can search to find journals that match your writing – Regardless of what genre you write in, you can find journals that will publish your type of writing by searching based on genre, subgenre, style, topic, and audience.
  2. You can search based on acceptance ratio – If you need a confidence boost, you can search by acceptance ratio and find journals with higher acceptance rates.
  3. You can search by average response time – Many literary magazines take at least a month to respond and waiting as long as six months for a decision is not uncommon. If you are looking to quickly rack up publications, you can search based on fastest response time.
  4. You can understand what editors are looking for – For many literary journals featured on Duotrope, there are interviews with editors, allowing you to better understand the rationale behind their selection process and what pet peeves they have about many of the individuals who submit to their publications.
  5. You can get paid – Granted, few literary magazines pay for short stories or poems and those that do rarely offer more than $50, but if money is a factor, you can use Duotrope to find literary journals that offer financial compensation to their contributors.
  6. You can keep track of your submissions – Duotrope is extremely convenient for writers who plan to send out their poetry and short fiction to many publications. Using Duotrope, you can track your submissions. This can come in handy when you need to remember if a poem or short story has been submitted to a publisher already, and if so, if it can be simultaneously submitted.

I guarantee that if you utilize Duotrope, it will be a lot easier to find journals to publish your short fiction or poetry.

Of course, even using Duotrope, finding places to publish does require some time and effort. You can click here for more information about my publishing consultancy services if you would prefer to kick your feet up and relax.

Can’t Get Your Novel Published?

Platform. Do you know what this word refers to in conjunction with the publishing industry? Platform is the reason why Lena Dunham landed $3.7 million for her book proposal. If you want to sell a manuscript, more than the quality of your content (though it should certainly be up to snuff), you need to develop a reputation. If you’re thinking that your reputation is going to come from your book, you’ve got it backwards.

There are many ways to develop your platform. If you have public exposure in some way, you’re already set. Unfortunately, that doesn’t apply to most of us, and it can be hard to generate (I’ll leave that to others far more qualified than I am if your intent is to get famous). However, a solid portfolio of writing in other forms can do wonders for establishing a ready-made audience eager to read your book (which any publishing company would love).

A novel is a huge undertaking. I certainly think all writers should attempt one, but consider the following diverse forms as a way to gain exposure and increase your chances of selling your idea for a book:

Poetry – Whether it’s traditional or free-verse, avant-garde or transparent, there are tons of poetry journals that always are seeking quality expression.

Short Fiction/Flash Fiction – Scale back your world building and capture a photograph. That’s the art of the short story. Again, there are tons of literary magazines that are always in search of quality fiction. Regardless of your style, there’s a market for everything (of quality).

Plays – Why not write a play, send it to a contest, or work with your local theatre to have it staged?

Screenplays – Think with an eye for the visual. There are some excellent television programs and films that are quite a bit more literary than most fiction (e.g. Mad Men, my favorite program). If you want to sell your script, there’s an excellent book written by Blake Snyder called Save The Cat! that gives an insider’s view into what kind of scripts sell in Hollywood, and how to write them.

Nonfiction – Do you have expertise in a subject? It’s so easy to write an E-book and publish it on the Web. While fiction can be harder to attract an audience, with nonfiction, there’s always a built-in audience for just about every topic.

Freelance Journalism – Yes, the pay is terrible, but your name can get out there with some rather influential people.

If you need assistance with publishing your novel, please click here.

How Can I Publish My Fiction and/or Poetry in Literary Magazines?

Publishing your flash fiction, short fiction, and/or poetry in competitive literary journals is rather simple once you know how to navigate the literary market. This holds true regardless of your style, the content of your work, or whether you’ve been published widely (or at all).

Below is a simple step-by-step guide to publishing your writing in online or print literary journals:

1. The obvious step – write your flash piece, short story, or poem. (You don’t want to get caught up in the hoopla that coincides with the thought of getting your work published until you’ve actually written something).

2. Edit your work. Seriously. Edit your work. Your idea may be brilliant, your literary voice may be powerful, but if there are serious (or even minor) errors in your piece, it will most likely be rejected. You want your piece to be flawless when you send it out.

3. Sign up for a subscription to Duotrope.com. It costs only $5.00/month, yet Duotrope’s value to an aspiring writer is worth so much more. Duotrope contains a searchable database that connects you to (at the date of this posting) 4924 competitive fiction, poetry, and non-fiction markets.

4. Search Duotrope.com for an appropriate journal for your needs. You can search by genre, style, length, payment, submission type (electronic or postal), subject, medium (electronic, print, or audio), response time, and acceptance ratio. You can also browse their index and find journals through serendipity.

5. Read the journal. Seriously. Read the journal. If they do not post directly to the Web, buy an issue. Read it carefully. Do the pieces match your style? Is the content similar enough? You don’t want to waste an editor’s time by sending a perfectly good piece of yours to a journal that is a bad match. It will be rejected.

6. Follow the submissions guidelines to a T. If they ask for a bio, read some of the other authors who’ve published with that journal and analyze how their bios look (Are they whimsical? serious?).

7. Format your manuscript to industry standards. Here is an excellent link on how to do so for short fiction. Also, make sure to comply with the journal’s preference for postal or electronic submissions. If a journal accepts electronic submissions, find out from their submissions guidelines page whether they want submissions attached as a document, or whether they would prefer submissions to be pasted in the body of your email.

8. Send out your piece/s and wait for the results. If the journal that you submitted your work to accepts simultaneous submissions, you may want to find other journals that are good fits for your piece/s and send your writing to them as well (so long as they too accept simultaneous submissions). Should your simultaneously submitted work be accepted in a journal, make sure that you notify all other journals that you submitted that piece to of your acceptance ASAP.

Best of luck!

I hope that this guide proves to be of value to you as you go forward in your literary pursuits. If you need a bit more extensive help, please click here for more thorough publishing assistance.