Friday, September 7, 2007

Browsing Duotrope

"What We Are Not Looking For...accounts of all the zany things that a character does after getting drunk and/or stoned...stories that feature a protagonist who is a writer...passive protagonists. The protagonist must do something rather than have something done to them."
-Guidelines, Bust...

I've been on Duotrope for the past hour or so. Interesting stuff, let me tell you, like magazines named Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens. Some of them offer the potential of a nice chunk of money, like $130 for 1st place in On the Premises contests. Others, like Bust... offer no cash, but contributor's copies. While the thought of getting paid honest-to-gosh money for my work, the idea of having a copy of Bust... which features one of my stories is also quite appealing for its novelty factor.

Along with my browsing, I'm also compiling a Word document listing potential markets, their websites, and notes on pay rates. Another new document I've created is a table to track my submissions with. My main reasons for tracking:
1. To avoid submitting the same story to multiple markets ('cause some don't like you to do this, and because I'm being optimistic and assuming everyone will love me, so I don't want to irk any potential publishers by saying someone else already accepted it).
2. To keep track of who's gotten back to me and who's forgotten me.
I've got one entry in my table thus far, a poem sent to an e-zine. I wasn't thinking I'd be submitting yet, but the e-zine seemed just right for my poem with the zombie sheep. I thought I'd give it a shot and ease into the submission process.

How do you go about submitting your work? Do you have a system for keeping track of markets and/or pieces you've sent out? What's your process?


Shane said...

Great planning there, Ali. Wish I could say I had a system, but I'm still focused on the writing part more than submitting anything. With a little courage (and the expected nagging of those who care) I'm sure I'll fix that in the future.

However, right now I'm focused on a new work project that scares the piss out of me. Has to do with marketing and putting myself out there a lot more than I have. Falls in nice with your challenge about trying things that scare you (even if your challenge was aimed at writing fears mostly).

So, while I tackle that, I'm not going to be too hard on myself for not submitting. But expect a new short story this month and feel free to give me a ton of crap if I don't produce on that one.

Ali said...

Yeah, marketing one's self is about as scary as it gets, so I feel for you. While it's not writing, I'll definitely take it.

A new story this month. Got it. You've officially put yourself on the chopping block if you fail to produce one. So, you best make some progress on it this week, to ensure you'll be ready for the end of the month.

-John said...

Here's my question: Is it better to have a sizable body of work built up before putting oneself out there, or should you jump out with the first hot piece you produce, assuming of course if one is even capable of producing hot pieces.

Ali said...

I'd say it's in part just about what you're comfortable with. If you've only got a couple of pieces, but feel that they're ready, then why not?

On the flip side, you've got to be really sure they're ready. I mean, sure someone might have two stories they think are hot stuff, but if those are the only two stories said person has, what do they have to compare to?

In the end, I'd say that if a critique group or a really sharp reader says that a piece is ready, it might be - regardless of body of work.

Debbie said...

As to system, I have a spreadsheet that I use to track when sent, which title, how long they say they take to get back, how long they actually took to get back, etc. Of course, I haven't been using it as much as I'd like since I'm not focusing on short stories and I'm not ready to query MMG quite yet.

As far as how many stories to have in hand, I want to have a few so I can send more than one at a time--to different markets, of course. That way I'm not waiting on one.