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How low should you shoot when submitting to venues?

Bronze Member
Posts: 86

It's common wisdom that, when seeking a venue for short fiction, you submit to the best pro-'zines first and then work your way down, the order determined largely by which venues are taking submissions, fit, pay, etc. But I haven't heard much talk about how far down you should go.

Here are some responses I envision:
1. only submit to venues that could help my career
2. only submit to venues that have substantial readership
3. only submit to venues that pay (or pay pro- / semi-pro rates)
4. only submit to venues that publish stuff I like to read
5. I just want to get published

I bring this topic up because I recently sold a story to Speculative North, a new semi-pro 'zine based in Toronto (first edition: ... B089KW21WV -- my story "Bang the Drum" will be in a later edition). I had originally submitted on a lark, but now I'm involved with their writing group (if there's a silver lining to COVID, it's that people can be global now that we've given up on being physical). Building relationships is I think an underrated reason to submit to 'zines.

There are also some non-paying 'zines that I would consider submitting to simply because I've read pieces they published that I liked (e.g. "I m d 1 in 10" by Victor Fernanda R Ocampo in "The Future Fire" is absolutely wonderful: )

What determines when you stop submitting a piece?

Topic starter Posted : July 10, 2020 10:40 pm
Advanced Member
Posts: 49

I think you're right that it's all of the above. There are only so many markets that pay professional rates, and they each have their own preferences about what types of stories they'll publish, so I wouldn't limit yourself strictly to pro markets unless you're only interested in writing the types of stories that the current pro markets publish. A big reason that I submit to markets with "easier" acceptance rates (after I submit to the appropriate pro markets) is for the data. I can compare my acceptances against the acceptance rates for the markets and get an idea of how my writing currently compares to the average writer. If you're only submitting to pro markets, where the acceptance rate is often around 1 in a 100, chances are pretty good you won't have any data at all and may have no idea where you're at with your writing. I've never submitted to a less than 1 cent/word market, but I already can think of a few of my stories where I'd be open to it, based on certain stories just not having a lot of "good fit" markets. After exhausting all the paying options, sometimes you just want your story to find a good home.

Van Alrik
V33 (-- HM SHM R), V34 (SF R R HM),
V35 (HM R R R), V36 (R HM F HM),
V37 (SF HM HM HM), V38 (HM HM, Q3-Pending)
Latest sold story (10 total):
"The Church of Raw," Thuggish Itch: Scientific, Oct. 5, 2018

Posted : July 11, 2020 9:32 am
Silver Member
Posts: 254

New anthologies and markets can crop up at any time, so I stick mostly to pro-market submissions. Most of my stories are still doing the rounds at pro markets, though I've only made two non-WotF story submissions this year (I'm slowly editing older stories), so that's not saying much (60ish rejections in total, including WotF). I'd be more likely to drop below semi-pro for a printed publication I like or that is respected. One of my stories (general YA) has only had two rejections, and I can't find any other semi-pro or pro markets for it.

I think after a couple of pro sales, I'd be more likely to consider lower than semi-pro for stories that have been rejected at all the current suitable pro markets, as I would have proven to myself I can sell at pro level. I also don't mind holding a couple of stories back as exclusives for my planned short story anthology in a few years!

35: - R R R | 36: R HM R R | 37: HM HM HM SHM | 38: HM HM

Posted : July 12, 2020 12:19 am
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 202

Absolutely would and will consider lower paying markets once I've finished up with the professional ones for my currently ready stories.

I think if I knew a good editor was working on the thing (anthology, magazine, other) I would absolutely be willing to accept low rates for that opportunity. With that said I don't have a lot of knowledge about good editors so.....

But like Alex just said I also hope to self publish some of my stories at some point so I'm not completely invested in getting them all out and sold which likely affects my choices about what I will and won't look at as options for submitting my work.

v36 Q1, Q3 - HM; Q4 - R
v37 Q1 - R; Q2 - SHM; Q4 - HM
v38 Q1 - HM; Q2 -SHM; Q3 - P

Posted : August 8, 2020 4:45 am
Active Member
Posts: 20

wow- this is so very useful!

Posted : November 4, 2020 6:49 pm