1. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    Short Story Publishers

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Daniel, Jun 13, 2007.

    Okay, rumor has it that publishers like past publishing credits. Furthermore, rumor has it it's much more easy (still, by no means easy) to get published if you have several short stories published in a paid market, particularly, magazines.

    So, the question is: does anyone have any resources for building publishing credits (to magazines) for short stories?

    Thanks,
     
  2. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Publishing credits help, to a point, depending on the market you're trying for (novel, short fiction) and the particular publisher.

    Like anything else, paid is far better than 'for the love of', markets, but there is also a pecking order. I can really only speak with limited experience from the SF and Fantasy perspective.

    Paying varies greatly. Pro rate ($0.05+ per word) markets would have a greater impact, and multiple sales vs "one hit wonders" makes a bigger impact. Thus, while one could argue the quality and content preferences of different magaziens/ezines, sales at Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov's Science Fiction or Baen's Universe would count for far more than a sale to Strange Horizons or The Sword Review.

    Editors and agents scan cover letters (so have said the few I've spoken to), and bigger names/sales are more likely to catch their attention. Will that sell the material? No. There has to be some hook or something that catches their interest. The novel or story will have to sell itself. Will it give the writer a better chance? Possibly. Instead of reading the first paragraph or two (possibly even if the cover letter 'blurb' doesn't interest them) and deciding it's for the rejection pile if the piece doesn't sparkle (short story--novel might be skimming the first page or two) immediately, one might get the first few pages of a short story and a read of the first 5 or so pages of a submission of a novel.

    Most of the information I am sharing comes from a discussion I had with a Tor editor a few years back when I first started writing. He cut his teeth as an editor at Asimov's SF, I think, before going to Tor. One of the first questions he asked me was if I'd been published anywhere.

    I don't know what you mean, Lpspider:
    Getting works into the pages of pro magazines is highly competitive. Some would argue, equal to that of a novel--it's just that it takes less time to write a novel than a short story...so you get shots chances. But so does everybody else. Right?

    There is not one hard/fast rule. Some editors hardly bother with cover letters (unless it's submitted through a known agent). Others don't even care to read a novel synopsis and prefer to just go into the novel's first page (even if the publisher's guidelines ask for cover letter, synopsis, and first three chapters).

    Hope my post was along the lines of what you were looking for.

    Terry
     
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  3. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    Hey! Thanks for the extensive reply.

    So if my ultimate goal was to publish a novel, how much good to short story credits actually do?

    So it does make quite a bit of difference, correct?

    Other way around, you mean? :p

    Oh, and what I meant in the part you quoted was basically, where do I get started?
     
  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, some good publishing credits do make some difference. It means, somewhat, like getting a respected agent to represent your work--someone else thinks you're work has merit...at least with the few major editors and agents, and even the couple of small publishers I've spoken with.

    They can't hurt, and getting paid $250 or more for a short story isn't a bad thing either.

    And correct...my mixup. Novels do take longer than short stories...at least for me.:rolleyes:

    In the end, I believe, if your heart is in novel writing, (and you're not up for a year writing short stories--they take slightly different skills and mindset to do well), write the novel(s) and the work(s) will sell themselves, if they're good enough. Althought the credits may help crack open the door, if the novel isn't excellent, a half dozen strong publishing credits won't matter one lick.

    Where do you get started? Write a good short story, preferably in the same genre that you hope to write novels in. Submit it. And while it's out, write another. Get a couple out in circulation and then maybe work on the novel?

    Terry
     
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  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    good advice/input from terry!... i can only ditto it in toto...
     
  6. IndianaJoan
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    IndianaJoan Contributing Member

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    Awesome advice Terry...really awesome
     
  7. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    Thanks Terry. I guess everything you said some might consider common sense, but for others it's not. I don't know what exactly I was looking for, but I guess the short answer is to simply write and submit.

    Thanks!
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'll add my own thoughts on your later questions, in case that helps any...

    not a lot... all it does is give you some legitimacy as a published writer, when you query agents or publishers... they'll know they're not dealing with a complete amateur, if you have some good paid -for publishing credits under your belt...

    if you have a well-written, clearly marketable ms to offer them, it won't matter if you've ever been published before, or not...

    it may, with some folks... but the most major thing is the quality of the ms you are offering...

    writing marketable material and submitting it to reputable paying venues... you can find them best on Duotrope's Digest (Markets for Writers)

    hope that helped a bit...

    hugs, m
     
  9. sashas
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    sashas Senior Member

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    So, if say, I get published in the New Yorker, The Paris Review and The Atlantic Monthly, wouldn't that make the agent/publisher read my manuscript much more closely? Surely an agent would know that if a guy's stories got past the editors at the New Yorker, then he has some literary merit...
     
  10. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It may and if the markets are in the same realm or genre (Literary, YA, Fantasy, Romance, etc), probably a little more.

    Consider that editors and agents get tons of submissions...some small publishers, even when they have open call for two months out of the year, get hundreds in that time. Some larger ones get up to a thousand a month or even a bit more. Anything that can give your manuscript a leg up can't hurt.

    Being published in a good market means several things:
    1. Some folks prior already believed your work merited publication.
    2. You can finish projects and are probably not a 'one hit wonder'.
    3. You've worked with editors before and got through the process of a shorter work (let's face it, if an editor takes on your novel, they're gonna have to work with you--and you're an unknown. Are you professional? Are you reliable? Do you get revisions back on time? etc.)

    As has been said by several in this string; in the end the work will have to sell itself. But with so much static out there (so many submissions), anything that will garner a little more interest in your submission among the hundreds sitting in the slush pile at the time, is the goal.

    Also, I've come a cross more than a few writers whose ultimate goal is to become a novelist. They think, "Well, I'll just crank out a few short stories, gather a few credits and be on my way to selling my novels." I think I said earlier in this string that getting one's work into pro-rate magazines is highly competative, and not an easy thing. That's why criedits with them make some difference. If it was easy, they wouldn't count at all.

    The thing to consider from the editor's perspective, considering a novel submitted to the slush pile is that picking it, he's got to convince others--his collegues, editors above him, marketing folks, etc. that this novel is worth the risk, if nothing else, financially. (or if it's an agent, he'll have to convince editors he knows). It will be a huge time investment for the editor to take on a new writer as well--and his other responsibilities don't diminish. Maybe the writing credits that got the novel read by that editor will be a little bit of ammunition to help 'sell' others on the idea of publishing this new author. But again, in the end, the work's quality is what will finally 'sell' the work.

    It's a business decision. An agent that tries to shop/market novels that aren't very good, will be wasting time and not earning a living, and possibly diminishing his reputation/influence in getting authors he's signed a decent look by editors--again, hurting his ability to earn a living. An editor that makes too many poor choices in projects supports and he takes on, will not be at that publishing house forever, and may have trouble getting an editing job elsewhere. Publishing houses that make poor choices generally don't sell well and have staff cuts, staff shakeups or are merged with other imprints and those that made deicsions are no longer in such a position, etc.

    I know I went a little off track on the topic, but I feel looking at the situation from an editor's-agent's persepective is important to a writer trying to convince them that the novel he's writting is worth the risk in time and sales. Remember, very few first time novelists earn a profit (sell through their advance). They're hoping the writer's work does well enough, shows enough promise that a second and third novel by that author will make money.

    Terry
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'd say, with credits that lofty, it most probably would!... the agent/publisher is not just looking for a piece of work they can sell, but an emerging new literary star they can brag about acquiring...
     
  12. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    Tis true.
     

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