1. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    How difficult is it to get published "anywhere"?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by DefinitelyMaybe, Sep 7, 2012.

    I've seen the comments here about how difficult it is for an unknown author to get published, even if the novel is of high quality.

    How difficult is it to get published anywhere? E.g. in a fiction magazine, monthly compendium, anywhere else you can get published.

    And where are these "anywhere elses"?
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    This is a tough question to answer since there are so many variables.

    For paying short story markets, it's fairly tough. The higher end markets (New Yorker, etc.) are basically impossible to get publishing in if you're an unknown writer. The higher paying markets are usually the toughest to get published in, though not always. You can increase your chances by seeing what kinds of stories a magazine publishes and seeing if your story would be a good fit. Also, following guidelines help quite a bit. I'm sure there are a large number of manuscripts rejected automatically because the writer didn't follow the magazines guidelines.

    I'd say novels are tougher to publish than stories because of the time and money involved in the entire publication process (cover art, editing a large manuscript, marketing, etc.). Therefore, the publisher/agent is going to be more selective about what they accept.
     
  3. JamesOliv
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    JamesOliv Senior Member

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    There are paying markets and non-paying markets. Within paying markets, there is quite a range of how much you will (or could be) paid.

    Non-paying markets are typically easier to break into for a variety of reasons. But that isn't always the case.

    With the rise of small press publishers (they range from an individual self-publisher who decides to take on other projects up to publishing houses run by qualified editors who are starting new publishing ventures) there are tons of "paying markets" that promise you shared royalties. The problem is, their distribution is such that they likely won't sell many more copies than if you self-published it yourself.

    So, your question is difficult to answer. How hard is it to get published? It falls into the same category as "How hard is it to start a business?"

    Your genre, the quality of your work and the particular publication are all factors. Your best bet is to find places you want to publish and submit.
     
  4. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks for the comments. I originally arrived here wanting to write a novel and distribute it for free. I've rapidly come to the conclusion that I need to dramatically improve the quality of my writing before I try anything longer than a short story. My plan for "publishing" was then to release a compilation of short stories in a particular genre as a free eBook. I'd noted that free books are downloaded orders of magnitude more than books sold at even a modest price, and there are only thirteen free e-books on the site in the genre I'm targetting.

    However, I've noticed a professional paid-for magazine where the "information for authors" says that manuscripts can be submitted directly. They also say that they "never get enough" of genre1 and genre2. I've already written a short story which is a genre1 and genre2 crossover, and am considering submitting it.

    Comparing my story to the stories published in the latest issue, I need to improve the technical side of my writing to be closer to that of the professional authors who currently publish in it. Biographies of authors publishing in this magazine show that most of them are published novelists, often in other genres. So competition is tough. I'm just wondering what to do. I don't want to do something utterly silly.

    I wonder how hard it is to get published in <website name removed>. As an exercise yesterday, I read a lot of opening sentences from well known published books, and wrote some of my own trying to match the professional authors. One in particular I think could make a very short story. Hmmm..... pondering.

    I didn't intend for this to be a self-obsessed thread about me, me, me. But about places where people can break their publishing "duck" in general.
     
  5. editabook
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    editabook New Member

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    I'd like to add a comment here from the my own perspective as an Executive Editor at a large publishing house. If you are hoping to be published in print I would like to offer the following suggestion: familiarize yourself with the type of editorial each publishing house offers. Identify the house that most closely fits with your particular editorial style and interests. I know this may seem obvious, but I often meet people at writing conferences who want me to consider their novel, yet they know very little about what I publish. It is off-putting to be pitched hard by someone who has not done their basic research. Finally, depending of where you want to go with your career, you might consider engaging the services of a literary agent. In my experience, agents help manage a career and they take care of the business side of things--things like contract negotiations which, to my mind, are best left to the editor and agent to hammer out.

    OK, that might have been more than one suggestion!
     
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  6. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks for your reply.

    I've been reading materials from places that I might, just might, consider submitting to.

    There are several sites where I feel the kind of things that I write would fit right in. In terms of story, feel, etc.

    However, I note that the quality of the language and technical writing of the published stories I've read are typically head and shoulders (if not the whole torso) above what I'm able to produce right now.

    I am middle aged and am established in a career. I don't plan to become a professional writer. But I would like to publish something, somewhere. I suspect it will be a free ebook , and I'll be happy if people will read it. But I like trying different things, and even if I just end up with a collection of rejection slips, I would like to at least try to submit something.

    Today I wrote and have edited several times a story that I could submit to <site name removed>. However, I think it reads like a piece of GCSE coursework, rather than the slick, clever, impressive writing I see on the stories actually published on that site.

    I'm getting the idea that there is enough quality fiction around, that to publish anywhere requires a considerable amount of writing skill. I have read published stories from pulp magazines in the 1950s etc. that were pretty bad. But the bar seems higher now.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    actually, there's a lot more crummy writing out there today, thanks to the slew of freebie and low-paying online sites that are always hungry for content and all the self and e-publishing options available, all of which take pretty much anything anyone sends them, regardless of how poor the quality...
     
  8. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    How can I find these freebie and low-paying online sites? What kind of price would be "low-paying"? One site pays US$50 per story. But the stories I've read there are better written than mine and to my eyes look very well written. I don't necessarily want to submit to poor quality websites, but I'd like to see what is being published there. I've looked around and can find places where stories can be published online, but am having difficulty finding places where there is actually editorial control, rather than a free-for-all.

    As an aside, my most recent edit of the story I mentioned in my previous post has much improved it, I believe. So IMHO it's closer in quality to what I see on Flashfiction.com. Not yet there, though.
     
  9. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    The general rule of thumb is that about 1% of free e-books are actually read; most people download them because they look interesting and then never get around to reading them because they already have 2,000 free e-books they already downloaded.
     
  10. marktx
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    marktx Contributing Member

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    I'm going to stay out of the entire discussion regarding the merits of self-publishing, as that dead horse has been beaten beyond death. Plus, I've decided to turn over a new leaf.

    So, the following is not a plug for self-publishing versus traditional publishing. I will say that since your goal is not so much to make money as to get the stories accessible to readers, the underlined portion of your quote (only 13 free ebooks in the genre you're targeting on Amazon) suggest two things to me. (1) Your genre sounds like it may be fairly specialized and therefore harder to publish traditionally (this is just a guess, of course), and (2) if your count of the 13 free titles is an accurate reflection of what Amazon is actually carrying in your genre, then this might be a viable way for you to go.
     
  11. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    The stories that I'm thinking I might self-publish, and the stories that I'm thinking I might try to submit "somewhere" are actually different stories. Hence it would be easy, apart from the amount of work I'd need to do, to try both.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    by googling...

    that's decent non-professional pay for a short story, really... for a new, unknown writer's work, i'd probably consider anything below $.02US/per word to be 'low-paying'...

    if by 'editorial control' you mean someone at the helm who can tell good writing from bad and won't take on sub-standard work, you'll not find many low-to-no-paying sites so manned/womanned, sad to say...
     
  13. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    I did try googling before, but clearly didn't find the appropriate key words. However, by googling "$0.02 per word", I actually found some.

    The places that I've been looking at so far have turned out to be reasonable to prestigious. Googling around, I found a list of the "top" magazines in a genre I'm interested in. The magazine I'd been investigating with most interest was at number one.

    Now that I have a search term that brings up lower paying sites, I can look at the kind of materials published there.

    No-paying sites are of less interest, as most are free for all anyone can submit. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion, as it gives everyone a chance to post, and no-one's forced to read the stories. But I'm more curious about how various types of paid-for sites work, as they must have some interest in maintaining story quality, so that they can get paying customers.
     
  14. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    You can also use duotrope.com. That site lets you sort markets by pay rate (among other things). I would aim for markets that pay semi-pro and pro rates.
     
  15. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks. Certainly a wide variety of places to publish are on duotrope. I'm looking through a variety of them publishing stories of varying quality.
     
  16. Hurin
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    Hurin Member

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    There's some really helpful advice here, I'm in a similar position to DefinitelyMaybe here. Although I mainly write poetry, do these publishers open up to poems just as well? Either published individually or bound in a volume?
    I'm not exactly sure, I may start branching out into short stories soon, though.
     
  17. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    You'd be better off submitting individual poems. Poetry collections don't sell very well.
     
  18. Amr M. Abdu
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    Amr M. Abdu Member

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    Having a day job is not necessarily a bad condition that you have to put up with to be able to pay your bills. A day job, such as teaching English or writing for a newspaper, would be aligned with your passion for English and writing.

    Edit: Oops, I meant to post my comment in this thread:

    Have you made enough money for a sustainable living?
     
  19. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is there anyone here who took up writing, or became a more serious writer, after retiring?
     
  20. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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  21. VRaptorX
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    What about comics? Like say you have a script and then plan on making a comic out of it?
     
  22. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    are you asking about the chances of getting a comic book publisher to accept it?... or about your chances of selling enough copies of a self-published one to cover what it cost you to get it into print?...
     
  23. JamesOliv
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    JamesOliv Senior Member

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    Then you really don't have a comic. You have a storyboard. The art is a pretty significant part of a comic. Trying to publish a comic without art as an unknown author. I don't know. It sounds like it would be a pretty tough sell.

    If you are self publishing, you will need an artist (telling your readers to picture it vividly won't work). That will cost a pretty penny. I am the resident self publishing optimist. But the amount of money you would have to sink into the artist, and the number of shows you wold have to get into to peddle your wares, would mean a profit is unlikely.
     
  24. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    not really... if it's only text, it is a 'script'... as vr was correct in calling it... a storyboard is a series of sketches of the key scenes, usually with some directions and dialog included...

    but i agree he will have to hire an artist to do the artwork and that would be money down the drain, since chances of selling it successfully are slim to none...
     
  25. Starchaser3000
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    Starchaser3000 New Member

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    I myself am not sure because when I was getting critiqued while my first volume novel was a WIP, more than enough people on the internet recommended that I bypass the headache of finding a literary agent and just go to self publishing. I think it was because my literary concept was intentionally non commercial in writing a raunchy spoof of TV and movie fantasy/fiction, and that the current climate of what sells in today's readers market was not compatible to what I was writing about. Opinions?
     

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