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Short fiction markets

Since the loss of Talebones and Lone Star Stories in the last week, many writers seem to be in a state of panic about where to sub and sell their fiction. While I admit that things are not as good as they were last year, let me offer this as a comparison.
I've only started really trying to sell my fiction since 2006, but I first flirted with the idea of becoming a writer back in 1984. Wow, that was a great time to be alive. Cyberpunk was happening, along with other interesting developments in SF/F. I wrote a few stories back then and subbed a few of them, before abandoning the idea of being a writer for several years. But here were the markets I remember available for me to sub to:
I also remember Aboriginal SF, which was what you'd call a semipro zine. There was no Internet back then, of course, and while there were probably a few other semiprozines, I don't remember them or ever saw them. I remember looking at Writer's Market back then and for SF/F short fiction there wasn't much there. Here's the deal. After I subbed to the pro markets, I trunked the story. 
Here's my list of quality zines to sub one's fiction to today.
Abyss & Apex
Beneath Ceaseless Skies
Black Gate
Black Static
Brutarian (My first pro sale if you don't count my sale to Aeon)
Fantasy Magazine
Jim Baen's Universe
RoF (when they reopen)
Strange Horizons
Weird Tales
And then there are small little zines that I've had success with that I like to appear in, like Polluto and Kalideotrope (both print), and Three Crow Press which I have a little story coming out in soon, and the latest issue has a Jay Lake story in it so that says something.
I'm sure I'm leaving someone out here (like Farrago's Wainscot, LCRW), but if you look at it compared to what I had to sub to in the 80s, it doesn't look that bad. Just saying...



( 44 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 17th, 2009 05:00 am (UTC)
True, but there are more writers now than there were in the 80s. Let's just hope some markets will sprout soon. :))
Jun. 17th, 2009 05:07 am (UTC)
That's a good point. We can blame the Internet for that. Before the PC revolution it took pounding out a story on a typewriter and who has the patience for that? Now everyone's on a keyboard all day long so...why not write a story. ;-)

I did have a Brother Word Processor back then, I'll add. But it was just a typewriter that made me being such a bad typist back then possible.
Jun. 17th, 2009 06:02 am (UTC)
Don't forget original annual regular anthologies from Norilana Books:

Sword and Sorceress
Warrior Wisewoman
Lace and Blade
Clockwork Phoenix

Plus there are more anthologies coming down the pipeline, to be announced soon! :-)
Jun. 17th, 2009 06:10 am (UTC)
See, I knew I'd leave several somebodys out. ;-)

I wasn't trying to avoid anthos, just going with the "workaday" zines. But you're helping me make my point, Vera. There are still a lot of markets out there, and at the risk of giving away my age (52) things still seem pretty good despite the losses we've suffered recently. Thanks!
(no subject) - norilana - Jun. 17th, 2009 10:55 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - marshallpayne1 - Jun. 17th, 2009 12:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - melissajm - Jun. 17th, 2009 10:50 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - norilana - Jun. 17th, 2009 10:54 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - melissajm - Jun. 17th, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 17th, 2009 07:39 am (UTC)
Agreed. Small press mags have been phasing in and out ever since I started subbing five years ago. I think we're on more an 'out' trend than an 'in' trend at the moment, due at least partly to the economy, but OTOH we now have BCS, and Fantasy Mag is paying pro rates... It's not so dark as people say.
Jun. 17th, 2009 12:39 pm (UTC)
:-) Thanks for keeping positive!

I think new zines will rise to replace the ones we lost. Just with the economy it might take a while. But when pondering this, BCS was the first one that popped to mind as a silver lining in all this.

Edited at 2009-06-17 12:55 pm (UTC)
Jun. 17th, 2009 10:32 am (UTC)
My first stab at it was not too long after you, and I've had the exact same thoughts. I can't think of names off the top of my head, but there were reams of small zines back then too.
Jun. 17th, 2009 12:34 pm (UTC)
There was Pulphouse I remember. The thing is, since there was no Internet, few ever heard about these small zines. They weren't listed in Writer's Market. As I said I only flirted with the idea of being a writer back then, but I was reading Locus and reading everything I could about this field. If there were reams of them, I never saw them. Where today, we all know what the markets are. When putting my list together one place I double-checked it against was The Fix. Even before I was associated with them, I did the same with Tangent. If a zine was getting reviewed, it was getting some sort of visibility.
(no subject) - jtglover - Jun. 17th, 2009 01:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - marshallpayne1 - Jun. 17th, 2009 01:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 17th, 2009 01:00 pm (UTC)
Yes, it's a pretty long list.

Here are some more worthwhile markets: Futures (Nature/Nature Physics, SFWA qualifying), Murky Depths (doesn't pay much but a quality 'zine), Doorways, plus a couple of Canadian semi-pros: On Spec and Neo-opsis. Oh, and there's New Genre, which is classy if rarely spotted, but I believe still alive. For quality smaller 'zines outside the USA, try Midnight Street and Albedo One.

And I doubt that's exhausted the list.
Jun. 17th, 2009 01:03 pm (UTC)
Oh, and Postscripts, of course :-) (If forgot because it's currently closed.)
(no subject) - marshallpayne1 - Jun. 17th, 2009 01:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - vaughan_stanger - Jun. 17th, 2009 01:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 17th, 2009 01:17 pm (UTC)
Just yup.
Jun. 17th, 2009 01:20 pm (UTC)
Jun. 17th, 2009 02:29 pm (UTC)
The email subs are nice. I remember researching back around 2000 and it was still all postal subs, so I gave up and didn't get around to submitting until 2007, ha! I'm still not very partial to postal it's not financially viable for me. Like ten bucks per story... F&SF + WOTF are my exceptions. That said there are really still a lot of markets (and your list looks an awful lot like mine).
Jun. 17th, 2009 02:53 pm (UTC)
Yes, since you're overseas that poses a particular problem for snailmail subs. Frankly, out of all my 36 sales, all of them have come from e-subs except Talebones. Though most of my subbing these days is electronic.
Jun. 17th, 2009 03:19 pm (UTC)
Great post. Thanks for putting things in perspective :)
Jun. 17th, 2009 03:30 pm (UTC)
Certainly and thanks. I realize that some will go, "But that was then and this is now." But consider: Back in the 1950s there were 27-some-odd print zines at one point that published SF before the market collapsed. So writers after that with only a handful of markets might long for the "good old days." They had a different perspective, as well.
Jun. 17th, 2009 04:34 pm (UTC)
Excellent post, Marshall. I remember the dark days of the 1990s and there didn't seem to be as many magazines then as there is now.
Jun. 17th, 2009 04:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Cate! I was out of the field for all of the 90s, but when I got online in 2005 I was amazed at all the zines and networking. Perhaps that gives me a different perspective. But before the Internet, this was a lonely biz where if you didn't live in a city with other writers, you had con-going and letter writing and perhaps the telephone. Now here we are, in contact with each other on a daily basis. On the down side, it can be a distraction from writing. ;-)
(no subject) - musingaloud - Jun. 17th, 2009 04:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - marshallpayne1 - Jun. 17th, 2009 05:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - marshallpayne1 - Jun. 17th, 2009 05:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Jun. 17th, 2009 05:19 pm (UTC)
I think in the end persistence and quality will get you there no matter the numbers.

Persistence is a big part of it. And as I recently read, There's always a market for awesome!
Jun. 17th, 2009 05:21 pm (UTC)
I agree with you.

Perhaps there are more writers, and with that a sense that there's some sort of cosmic obligation to have more markets?
Jun. 17th, 2009 05:52 pm (UTC)
Yes, there are more writers. With my 12 year hiatus from the field that was something that came as a shock to me at first. Has to do with the Internet, of course. A lot of people who just dreamed of being a writer found that when they had a keyboard in front of them daily there was no reason or excuse not to pursue it. And with all of us in contact with each other through the Internet, giving up writing for some would be more than giving up the dream. It would mean giving up a group of friends one has grown to love.

But yes, there probably is a cosmic obligation for more markets. More markets than many readers (and writers) can keep up with. I guess that means that a lot of markets might be there for us writers and not necessarily readers in general.

Having said all that, the most talented and dedicated writers will still rise to the top. It's just more difficult these days, I think. Though I have stopped kicking myself in the head for leaving the field back when it was easier to break in.
(no subject) - samhenderson - Jun. 17th, 2009 06:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - marshallpayne1 - Jun. 17th, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - marshallpayne1 - Jun. 17th, 2009 09:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 17th, 2009 06:05 pm (UTC)
My wife and I talked about this last night. I refuse to listen to all the chicken littles running around screaming "The sky is falling!" Other markets will appear. Some markets will absorb the quality fiction and writers left stranded by recent market closures, increasing in quality and prestige.

Heck, I remember when LSS started, and the sneering crowds at Speculations and The Rumor Mill said it would never amount to anything and gave it two issues tops to survive.
Jun. 17th, 2009 06:18 pm (UTC)
Oh, dude, I remember that!
(no subject) - marshallpayne1 - Jun. 17th, 2009 06:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 17th, 2009 06:22 pm (UTC)
Yes, in fact, I have been in a cave for a couple of weeks. Talebones? What's this about Talebones? I had no idea.

Reminder that Hadley Rille Books is alive and well. And we are accepting submissions for the Destination: Future anthology, edited by Z.S. Adani and Eric T. Reynolds. (The downside is that the submission period is near its end, the end of this month.)
Jun. 17th, 2009 06:29 pm (UTC)
We all need to get away from the Internez on occasions. ;-) Here's Patrick's post from Sunday evening:


Thanks for all the great things you're doing for short fiction at Hadley Rille, Eric! Please keep it up!
( 44 comments — Leave a comment )