Market talk….

Something that was brought up recently in a comment on another post prompted me to write today’s little epistle. This may seem blindingly obvious to some, but you’d be surprised how many people appear not to possess this small piece of commonsense: when submitting a story, always make sure that wherever you send it is an appropriate showcase for it. In other words, if you write horror stories then send it to a publisher/magazine that specialises in that genre. If you write fantasy, science-fiction or crime stories, then find people who publish such stories and ONLY those stories. It’s no good sending a fantasy story to a horror publishers, or vice versa, if you want to stand a chance of  it getting published. Constant rejection letters can get you down after a while.

Like I say, blindingly obvious, isn’t it? Sadly, and surprisingly, not to some. I learnt this when I ran a record label: my website and MySpace/Facebook page clearly stated the kind of music genres I was interested in – all that weird, noisy uncommercial stuff that fills a very small niche market. Even so, I regularly received demos from hip-hop artists, country & western bands, soul groups, singer-songwriters in the vein of Tracy Chapman, and pop hopefuls. As you can probably guess, it used to frustrate the hell out of me and there was always a very short trip for the demos from my desk and into my bin. In the end, I just put it down to being an occupational hazard.

What it REALLY boils down to is a lack of research, ie, the people in question never going further than the word Records in the label’s name, (FracturedSpacesRecords, for instance). As soon as they see that word, they assume that the label releases anything (as bigger concerns do) and don’t bother going any further than looking for the address to send things to. It costs money for artists to send out demos (although it IS a lot easier these days with the internet) and so it would seem that more judicious use could be made of that resource by a targeted campaign. All it would take would be to find out what kind of genres the label releases.

But never underestimate laziness. Or just plain stupidity, in some cases. I once had to patiently explain to someone that, although their work was good (it actually was), I wouldn’t be releasing it on my label because it didn’t fit in to the ethos of FracturedSpaces. Their response was ‘if you like it so much, then why won’t you release it?’ – to which the answer was ‘just like there are labels specialising in black metal, for instance, and ONLY black metal, I specialise in certain genres and not others’. Luckily, once I’d explained it they were satisfied with the logic of the answer. That doesn’t always happen, as some appear to take it VERY personally that you’ve rejected their work. How dare you!!

Extrapolating then, a commonsense approach when submitting stories is to do some simple research – decide which genre your story is in, then look for publishers/magazines that specifically cater to fans of that genre. With the advent of the internet, finding these things out is considerably easier now: NOT bothering to do so is simply the height of laziness. Yes, it IS understandable that a writer wants to get that all-important first published story under their belt, but the chances of getting it are increased exponentially if he/she targets the right venues. All it takes is the systematic commonsense approach of doing research beforehand – okay, so it can be tedious, as there are thousands of publications and publishing houses out there, but ultimately any time spent doing it will be well worth the effort.

And one final word: once you have found out which markets to go for, just keep at it. ALSO, and this is VERY important: ALWAYS READ THEIR SUBMISSION CRITERIA. DON’T assume that ALL publishers use the same guidelines. Following the specifics for any particular mag/publication means that you will at least get your story read. If you fail to follow them, very often the submission falls victim to the DELETE button. And if they say not to submit multiple stories, then send just the one. If it gets rejected, then send it elsewhere. All commonsense when you look at it, but in practise very often completely ignored.



7 Responses to “Market talk….”

  1. Very good bloggy advice fron the Illustarated Man. Rock!!!!

  2. Thanks for the compliments mate!! =)

  3. You could have at least replied…………

  4. No to my demo…….sorry weak joke

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