Writers are always setting goals. Word counts, earning blog followers, and making another pot of coffee are some pretty common ones, but getting your first story published is one of the biggest goals that most writers look forward to. Publication can come from many sources, but I want to discuss a few of the major fantasy/science fiction magazines that can help a new author earn their first acceptance. Before we start, I want to say that there are countless places to submit your work, but not all of them will give you the same benefits. (Payment, respect, exposure, etc.) All of the magazines that I am going to discuss are SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America) qualifying markets, which means they pay professional rates, have been in circulation for some time, and have earned major awards/nominations from either the Hugo’s or Nebula’s. Here are some things to beware if you are considering submitting to a non-SFWA qualifying market.
- Payment: SFWA states that all professional markets need to pay at least 6 cents/word for new, original fiction. It is okay to publish with a market that pays a rate lower than that because those markets are considered semi-professional. If you are publishing your work for absolutely no monetary compensation then it is likely that you are getting ripped off. Once a piece is published, you cannot publish it somewhere else as a new, original fiction. Some anthologies/magazines will make a call for submissions and give the writers nothing for their work. They will take the best stories, self-publish a book, and keep all of the royalties. They will say the writers are being paid with the chance to get, “published.”
- Contracts: Every reputable publisher has a contract regarding the rights that they are purchasing. If a magazine/anthology does not offer a contract, they are not serious enough to really be considered a publisher. You need to know what rights you are selling and for how long. Some contracts states that the publisher is purchasing “first time world-wide exclusive print rights for six months” while others might say, “permanent nonexclusive digital rights.” The more rights a publisher wants, the more money they should have to pay to get them.
- ISBN/ISSN: This is the information that records who the publisher is. ISBN’s are used for books/anthologies, and ISSN’s are used for periodicals. If you look at the other work a publisher has completed and they do not have their own ISBN for that piece, they are not technically considered the publisher. This numbers are how bookstores and libraries track books.
Now that we’ve knocked some of those warnings out of the way, here are a few magazines that have a name which will command respect in the publishing community. The coffee is ready, so I’m going to copy and paste from their submission guidelines and then provide a link to the appropriate page so you can get more info. If anyone wants a cup let me know and, I’ll pour you some too, but its up to you to get it before it gets cold.
Beneath Ceaseless Skies publishes “literary adventure fantasy”: stories with a secondary-world setting and some traditional or classic fantasy feel, but written with a literary approach. Pays 6 cents/word. http://www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.com/submissions/
Clarkesworld Magazine is a Hugo and World Fantasy Award-winning science fiction and fantasy magazine that publishes short stories, interviews, articles and audio fiction. Pays 10 cents/word for the first 5000 words and 8 cents/word for everything over 5000 words. http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/submissions/
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction: We are looking for stories that will appeal to science fiction and fantasy readers. The SF element may be slight, but it should be present. We prefer character-oriented stories. We receive a lot of fantasy fiction, but never enough science fiction or humor. Pays 7-12 cents/word. https://www.sfsite.com/fsf/glines.htm
I hope everyone enjoyed this week’s post, and I am looking forward to talking to you in the comments. If you decided that you liked the content or the offer for free coffee that is almost impossible to actually receive, please follow me and you’d make my day. Good luck writing, and I’ll have the coffee ready when we start next week.