Jeff Seymour - Author of Fantasy, Literary Fiction, & c.: Some Thoughts on Markets, Authors, and Submitting Short Stories

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Some Thoughts on Markets, Authors, and Submitting Short Stories

So while I'm working on my various summer short fiction projects, I've been doing a lot more thinking about traditional publishing and submitting stories to the few markets that pay very well.

Really, there aren't very many.

I've also been reading more of them. I work my way through a story every morning at breakfast now, and it's been a fantastic addition to my day. I've also learned that there are an awful lot of very good writers creating very good short fiction out there, and that many of them have never published a novel.

And because let's go ahead and form a trifecta so we can triangulate my thoughts, I've also been thinking more about writing fiction for a living and how simultaneously terrifying, liberating, and exhilarating it must be.

These three things have come together and forced me to ask myself a new question every time I write a story. They have also shed some light on why traditionally published authors can be so darn hostile sometimes.

The question is this: Is what I'm writing so good that it deserves to take bread off someone's table and put it on mine instead?

Because that's an undeniable reality. Clarkesworld, Tor.com, Asimov's, Lightspeed, Apex, et al. only publish a few stories each every month. Depending on the particulars of a story (length, especially), the markets for it might be even more limited. There really isn't that much money to go around (and for the record, it's better in SFF than it is in other genres), and if some of it goes to me, it's not going to someone else. Someone else who's probably writing something great, and who may be depending on the sales of their short fiction to stay afloat.

I won't feel bad about that, but only if I'm writing something that's so damn good that when they read it, they'll agree with the editor for buying it.

This isn't to say that you shouldn't write and shouldn't seek markets for your writing once you've finished it. But it's a piece of the puzzle that I had forgotten about, and it's worth remaining conscious of.

Cheers, and Happy Monday,
Jeff

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