a_r_williams (a_r_williams) wrote,

What's Your Submission Strategy?

Although I've been interested in writing all my life, I've only become really serious about getting published in the past few months. By really serious I mean studying the market, submitting, writing more stories, resubmitting stories that came back. So, in regards to the submission practices, I'm curious about how other writers tackle the issue.

I'll begin by explaining what I've done in the past few months or what I intend to do in the future.

STRATEGY 1: Check the Market Weekly

I've submitted three short stories, one poem, and one flash fiction piece that was written last year in the past two months. All three of the short stories were inspired by anthologies that I had noticed on either [ Duotrope's Digest ] or [ Ralan's ].

One of the strategies I'm trying to use is to check these sources at least once a week. I think by using this approach I should be able to catch new markets as they open for submissions within a reasonable amount of time and still have enough time to brainstorm any ideas for markets I may unexpectedly want to submit to.

Of the three stories only one was planned months before the market even opened ( the story I submitted to S&S 24 ). One was never sent to the market that inspired the story and was sent somewhere else ( because they only paid a small amount ). And the third I wrote in about a week because the information for the market had changed and the publisher moved the closing date up by about two weeks ( submitted even though they pay a low amount, but it also comes out in print ).

STRATEGY 2: Decide on a Market ( Openings, Closings, Estimated Return Times, Payment )

Once I have a story ready to send. The first consideration I make is HOW MUCH WILL THEY PAY. So I look for markets that pay SFWA approved rates for writers. If they pay well they move closer to the top of those I want to send to first.

Then I check the RETURN TIMES. From what I've experienced a couple of places will get the rejected stories back to you quick. While others take a little longer. I take this into consideration on whom to send to first. My reasoning is if a story is rejected quickly then I save some time in sending it somewhere else.

If a market has a CLOSING DATE that is fast approaching and I know it will be months before I can submit to them again, I move them up a little in the pecking order. My reasoning for this is also to try and save time.

If I notice a market that I'm very interested in is opening soon, then I look to see if I have ideas that fit their requirements. If not I try and think of something that I can write in order to send it to them. Still learning about this part. Some markets open and close at regular intervals, while others close when they get full or meet their quota. I'm not sure how I want to handle these latter because it is not consistent. If I don't submit to them and it takes months to get a manuscript back, then they may close by the time I want to send them a story and not reopen for a long time.

I have not sent any stories or poems to places that do not accept electronic submissions. What makes you decide to send to a market that only accepts snail mail?

One market I sent paid less, but the end product comes out in print. Does the medium the story will be showcased in matter to you? Is print seen as an additive quality?

STRATEGY 3: Rewrites, Shelving, Sending to a lower tier market, Resubmitting.

This is the part I have the most questions about and I haven't made any decisions about how to handle it.

This is a story you've rewritten before submission. At what point do you stop submitting a story and begin to rewrite it?

Once you rewrite it, do you try and submit it to the higher paying markets again? Resubmit to places its already been rejected? If you do resend it to the same market--how long do you wait before you submit again? Do you rewrite before sending it to the lower paying markets?

If you consider sending a story to a market that is very low paying or only pays in tokens, how do you choose the place to send it to? Does it matter the quality of stories they are publishing? Does it matter the professionalism of their website/product? Or is it only important that they give you a chance to get published?

At what point do you say--the hell with this story--I'm not submitting it anymore? Do you make this decision after it has been rejected by the low paying/ token publishers ( might indicate no choice )? Or is it at the point where you realize the story can't be sold to someone who will pay money for it?

I would love to hear any comments or suggestions anyone has on the following items. I think I have a handle on some things ( write. rewrite. submit. resubmit ). But on most I would like to get alternative, more experienced, or collaborating information. Thanks for any help you can provide.

Tags: questions, submitting

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