I don't know much about writing for magazines, but reading my birthday present (Writer's Market 2001) made me aware that the opportunity is there for an unpublished writer. So, I have some questions for all you sage writers out there.
1. Have any of you published in a magazine? Is it easy? Hard? What do I need to know?
2. Is is wiser to pursue publication in magazines before approaching the book publishers?
3. I have never seen an issue of any Science Fiction or Fantasy magazines. Any recommendations?
I have submitted to, but never published in, a few Sci Fi "pulp" magazines (Fantasy & Science Fiction, Azimov's ... are the one's I recall.
My rejection slips were of the variety that could fit 6 or so on a page and then be cut into envelope-sized strips for easy mailing.
My submissions to them were CR@P, so I wouldn't necessarily think that you'll get the same treatment, or that such treatment was unwarranted. Basically, the line is something like: "Due to the large number of submissions we receive, we regret that we cannot offer comments on individual manuscripts. Nor can we return submissions to the author. Thank you for your interest in publishing in ..."
Usually, someone went to the trouble of xeroxing this message on colored paper. I think that softens the blow. A nice soothing ecru always makes bad news more palatable for me, anyway.
Bottom line is, I fear, that most of these magazines aren't interested in discovering new authors. They live and breath by giving their readership fresh stuff by established authors at a reasonable price. I think the profit margins are pretty low. But, by all means, submit there. You may prove me wrong and I will certainly be there to applaud your success.
I think there are other avenues to explore, and the 2001 Writer's Market has a better list than I could ever come up with.
Have fun with it, and try not to get down about the reject slips. As the process has been described to me, the slips are sent without even a glance at your manuscript because of the mag's need to sell work by the already published. That means the slip is not a judgement passed on your work, but only on your current (temporary) status as an unpublished author.
The WM 2001 is great I bought the online version with the book.
As to your mag question:
I have submitted to both Azimov's and Fantasy and SciFi--- I got a form letter back from Azimov's with a note attached, sorry but this would be better marketed as Fantasy.
Fantasy and SciFi replied that it did not fit their needs at this time. They felt that while a good stiring story that it was too "dark" for their needs and too long. (15,000 words)
I submitted the same story to several online paying ezines. (considered professional, paying at least 3 and a half cents a word) EUTO magazine responded personaly with a very nice email. He stated he liked the story very much and called it a good read--then said it was too long--the editor also went on to say that if I felt inclined to write something around 3000 words he would certianly consider it. (I have a hard time with short, so have not followed up on that offer yet)
Recently the story has been published in an online ezine. Not a vanity type. I have a very strict Editor, but the story has come to life. I cannot disclose how much I was paid for it--it is going to be six issues long.
But I do have a new monitor to go with my slightly older computer. A 17inch one.
So I say go for it! Youhave to write a stearling letter, and start your story with a good hook, read at least one copy of the mag before you submit so you know what they realy want.
I've sent stuff to SF&F, and always got the same little letter back. "Thanks for sending us your story, but we've decided to give it a pass." Apparently, nothing I ever sent them made it past the first guy.
Somehow, one of my story ended up in the hands of a small print guy, who sent me a postcard saying he was going to publish it, but I haven't heard from him since.
1. Yes... A lot of people try and a lot of people fail, even good writers.
2. Yes and No. If you can get 3 or 4 stories out and published, you are going to have a much easier time publishing your longer work. There will already be a market for it, but lot of PH's will snatch up books from new writers they believe in. YOu won't be paid much, tho.
3. By all means, subscribe for a year. it's a good magazine, good stories do appear in it, but I don't know... a lot of stuff that I don't think is really outstanding (just to me) shows up there. I canceled my subscription in a rage when two stories by a guy named Steven Tem Ransic appeared there. He wrote like a 6 year old, but somebody liked him and published him twice. I couldn't handle it... But as you can tell ,I still have some wounded pride.
Just remember... Good stories get rejected, sometimes. Undeserving stories get the pages, sometimes. But, as the rapper EMinEm says.. "You can't deny talent."
Oh, and congrats on your success, Shawn.
[This message has been edited by TheUbiquitousMrLovegrove (edited September 10, 2000).]
I agree wiht the quality of work in many forms right now. I just got done reading a book, that flip flopped out of POV and had more sentence fragments in it than my six year old uses. THe same with magazines right now. And if you publish online---well---
There are so many vanity press types out there that the good ones are getting a bad rap as well. I have researched and found some good onine ones. And it is very hard to get past the first guy---the one that decides which ones go to an actual reader.
Sometimes I think it's a lottery!!!! A kinda he loves me he loves me not thing except it's done wiht mss. Duck duck duck goose---and the goose is the one that goes onward.
I think that even one published story or contest win can help you. It says thta you have worked with an editor, and that is a plus.
The WM 2001 site has a number of epublishers on it and some that are not in the book as well. Choose one and go for it.
Well, I don't think it's as bad as you say. Not just any fool can write up a story and get it published in a popular mag. Well, that Steven Tem Resnic guy can, but he's just a weird freak thing... But look, "Flowers For Algernon" got turned down by the first editor who saw it... It's always been this way.
What I do think is happening is, I think the field is waiting for its "Next Dangerous Vision." The writers that sparked the 2nd generation of Sci/fi are getting on up there now, and a lot of the newer guys think that "cutting edge" means writting about Virtual Reality. I want to be a part of the next group, whoever they may be, with a unique voice and style of storytelling.
Well, virtual reality (and the horribly spoofed counterpoint, virtual reality invading real reality) are now part of the science, and very few extrapolations of the future can be realistic without including them in some way.
But I don't think that anyone is really hanging around waiting for the next dangerous vision, I think that our society is sort of trying to ignore the dangerous visions for now....
China, now ruled by a government more oppresive and brutal than Stalin's or Hitler's, is going to surpass the United States throughout the area of the Pacific some time in the next decade. I don't know that they won't stop there, but there is plenty of reason to suggest that they won't. Chinese citizens are subject to summary execution for any sort of protest against their government, and we buy it when they smile and say that everything is going just fine...
American Constitutional Democracy is at an all time low in both international esteem and in practical application of the Constitution, and the public debate over this problem has ended. We no longer have a Constitutional government...
Health care is in the news, but there is very little attention given to the fact that progress in modern medicine has made the highest level of treatment avalible enormously expensive (the fact that you think that I'm wrong in making this statement just proves how blind we are) There is little attention to the fact that we can now realistically expend billions of dollars per patient on proven medical proceedures that actually extend and improve life. We are not talking about quackery, we are talking about real medicine that could benifit me and you in our daily lives, both by improving quality and extending quantity, a situation that is unique to this day and age...
There are a heck of a lot of dangerous visions around, many of them uncomfortably close to reality. What will happen? I tend to think that everything is going to come to a head sometime in the next three decades, right about the time that an Earth crossing comet with an orbital period of over ten thousand years (and the vast majority of them have periods that long or longer) comes down and smacks into the Antartic (or maybe Siberia) with only a month's warning.
Of course, that's more or less religious literature when you get to that point...better to just go with one or maybe two visions at a time, eh?