Choosing a Market
I finished White Buffalo Woman and sent it off to Saddlebag Dispatches, which brings up a point. When choosing markets for your work there are a number of things to consider.
Normally, I run a search with emphasis on pay scale and start at the top and work my way down. I do this because I really want to be paid for my work. I think that most authors do. This doesn't mean that I write to be paid. I write, because I have to. When a story is knocking around in my brain, I have to put it on paper (or hard drive as the case may be). Once that story is finished and has been through the usual rounds of Beta readers, editors and proofreaders, then I'd like to be paid for the time and effort I put into it. So, off it goes to a market that pays professional scale (above 5 cents per word).
All too often, the story will eventually elicit a rejection. When that happens, I read through it again, making any corrections and improvements that I can and send it to the next market on the list. When I run out of markets which pay professional scale, I go to secondary markets which pay semi-professional scale (1to 5 cents per word) and finally I get to non-paying markets. These are markets which do not pay at all. Some will offer one or more free copies of the issue in which the story appears. Some offer nothing at all, except the opportunity for your story to be read.
Occasionally, I will deviate from this process, as I did with White Buffalo Woman. The market I sent it to first, Saddlebag Dispatches, is a non-paying market. However, it is one of the few markets out there right now which print ONLY westerns, meaning my story, if accepted, will be read by many members of my target audience. Saddlebag is also operated and edited by a couple of members of Western Writers of America, an organization which I would like to someday be a member of, so it doesn't hurt to put my work in front of them, even if it gets rejected. Instead of this being a profitable piece, I am trying to use it as a promotional piece.
I can't afford the targeted advertising required to get my name and author page/website in front of so many western readers, so having my story published in this magazine can be far more valuable than a PayPal credit. If a thousand western fans read my story and only ten percent bother to follow the link to my page and click “Follow”, I've still picked up a hundred new followers who like my work and want more. That translates to future sales and word of mouth advertising that just can't be bought.
You have to think of your writing as a business. Your readers, your back stock of stories, and your publishing credits are your business assets. Your office supplies, subscriptions to Writer's Digest or Duotrope, and things like postage and advertising are your costs of doing business. Sometimes, you have to make a choice between a shot at a cash payment, or building your assets through gaining readers or adding a publishing credit.
If you take the time and spend the effort to think through what you hope to achieve when you send a story out, you will be far more successful in your writing career.
Leave a Reply.