About 47 minutes into my work day here, I thought of something I used to do when it came to finding the right market. Notice, grasshopper, that I said used to do. As in the past, way back when, long, long ago.
Okay, maybe it was just last year. That’s not the point. The point is, I have learned my lesson when it comes to finding the right market for my work. And now, I’m passing along that lesson to you: Research, Research, research.
Here’s what Used To Do Cathy C. Hall did when it came to finding a market:
Step 1. Thumb through market listings in Writer’s Market, or Duotrope’s Digest, or any market newsletters I might have on hand. (So far, so good.)
Step 2. Find a market that accepts what I’m looking to place. (Sounds reasonable, right?)
Step 3. Go online and check out market for guidelines and such. (Of course, I’d do that. I’m a pro, you know.)
Step 4. Submit. (Wheeeee!)
Well, that plan looks jim-dandy, doesn’t it? Except for one teensy, little thing. It wasn’t working so well. Eventually, I woke up and smelled the step I was missing: Step 2a. Read the market.
See, I thought I’d take a shortcut. You know, scan the masthead, give the market a real good skim, even peruse a page or two.
Don’t do that, grasshopper. Unless you like rejection. Take the time to read the entire magazine or webzine, or at least as much as is available online. Or check out an anthology from the library and read the whole thing.
Yep, the whole thing. That way, you’ll get a good idea of the voice and style of the market. You can get a feel of what an editor likes. And that will tell you whether your work has a chance with that editor…or not.
And yes, grasshopper, it takes awhile. Which is why, here at the end of the day, I’ve only sent out one story. But midway through my market madness, I had to update my website. Which I should have done last month. But that’s an entirely different What Not To Do (Sheesh).
Great advice! I've done all that searching and reading and thinking about submitting….but my problem has been, I usually never get around to actually writing and/or submitting anything! DUH! But, I'm on the New Becky Track, now, so that will be changing soon. I still have to get the top priority list accomplished.
Yay for the New Becky Track! On to the Top Priority List!
Good post, Cathy. It's so easy to get caught up in the "hurry up and submit, get it out there" idea. Slowing down and really checking out a market benefits everyone in the long run – no one's time is wasted.
You've hit the nail on the head with researching the magazine you're submitting your piece to, and I think you have to look at copies for about a year's time to make sure they haven't run something similar. Thanks for the tip — I had kind of dismissed it but it's a really important one.
GREAT point, Anita (about going back to make sure you have something fresh!)…It's not terribly exciting, but I think, in the end, it pays off. And I also think that comment above you gives my blog a sorta international flair. Yeah, I'm gonna keep it. At least till I found out what it means…
The flair may be a bit more than you were expecting, I think!
Sheesh…you always want me to DO something!! Chores, chores, chores. It doesn't help that you're right all the time. I'll whine some more…as soon as I get back from the magazine section of the library. *sigh*
Um, take a canoe, Lisa. (And have fun reading all those mags!)