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Short Fiction Markets and Contests

Discussion in 'Original Fiction Discussion' started by Perspicacity, May 8, 2010.

  1. Perspicacity

    Perspicacity High Score: 3,994 Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Several of us on on DLP have an interest in breaking into publishing original fiction professionally. I thought it'd be worthwhile to open a thread listing some short fiction markets (the classical way to get into the game) as well as point out contests, etc. that pop up from time to time that folks here might wish to enter.

    Before starting, I recommend you check out SFWA's Writers Beware. Don't get scammed.

    A few semi-pro markets/contests where I've sent stuff and had some success:

    Often Inspired - Monthly short fiction contests with a prompt, $50 first prize, relatively few competitors, it's the easiest place I've found to rack up "semi-pro" sales. Occasionally, stories that don't win are bought for $25. This month's (May, 2010) contest in particular should appeal to Dresden Files fans.

    Writers Weekly - Runs a quarterly 24-hour short story contest. TGYH veterans may enjoy the time limit.

    Reading Writers - Quarterly contest, typically of Flash Fiction (<1000 words) length. The present contest ends 15 May. (I've made the finals twice, but have not won).

    Much more comprehensive listings of writing markets and contests (thanks to jbern for the links):

    http://www.freelancewriting.com/writing-contests.php (all genres)
    http://www.ralan.com/m.pro.php (pro speculative fiction)
    http://www.ralan.com/m.semipro.php (semi-pro speculative fiction)

    Several Professional Markets (most are cribbed from Ian Tregillis's website). Be warned: pro fiction is a brutal game; you'll need to bring your 'A' game and a bit of luck to have success.

    Writers of the Future
    Abyss & Apex
    Analog Science Fiction and Fact
    Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine
    Asimov's Science Fiction
    Baen's Universe
    Chiaroscuro Magazine
    Clarksworld Magazine
    Fantasy
    Ideomancer
    Interzone
    Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet
    On Spec
    Paradox
    Realms of Fantasy
    Shimmer
    Strange Horizons
    Subterranean Magazine
    Talebones
    Trabuco Road
    Weird Tales

    Some online critique groups (participation in some kind of serious critique group is pretty much mandatory if you want to bring your game to the next level):

    Online Writers Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror - A pay site, but the first month's free; I understand that Jim Butcher used to be a member.
    Critters - Similar to OWW, but free; the quality of the reviewing isn't quite as high and they have fewer "success stories," authors who have gone on to make it big.

    You should be aware of the industry standard manuscript format; don't give editors an easy excuse to reject your story.

    A parting comment: Be careful with how you post your stuff online. "First publication rights" are voided if your stories are accessible by anyone with Google and a browser. Formats such as WBA on DLP, which limits the readers to site members only, are probably okay, though I've run into one editor who thought otherwise and required me to take a piece down before publication.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2010
  2. Antivash

    Antivash Until we meet again... DLP Supporter Retired Staff

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    Awesome thread. Stick.
     
  3. Seratin

    Seratin Proudmander Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I love you awesome and forever, Pers. Fucking excellent thread.
     
  4. Perspicacity

    Perspicacity High Score: 3,994 Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Beneath Ceaseless Skies - SWFA-qualifying pro market (5c/word). I've not published there, but they have received high praise on a speculative fiction list I frequent.

     
  5. jbern

    jbern Alba Mater

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    The best "clearinghouse" for all the token, paying, semi-pro, and pro markets is www.ralan.com.

    Many of the "pro" markets still require you print it out and snail mail it to them. Asimov just shifted to an online submission form developed by the folks at Clarkesworld.
     
  6. Perspicacity

    Perspicacity High Score: 3,994 Prestige DLP Supporter

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    A "for the love" market at 1c/word, Dark Wine and Stars publishes speculative fiction anthologies centering around a common theme, 50-5k words, prose and poetry. The present theme is "cats."

    http://darkwineandstars.blogspot.com/

    Upcoming themes include: Classic Universal monsters, Steam punk, Witches and their familiars, Urban fairy tales, Coffee and magic.
     
  7. Perspicacity

    Perspicacity High Score: 3,994 Prestige DLP Supporter

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    The editor of the Often Inspired Magazine is practically begging for science fiction, fantasy, and mystery stories. He's paying $25+/story, a "Pay" market below semi-pro, decent beer money/padding of one's publishing resumé. I've sold two stories to this mag for $50 apiece and can attest to their being a legit shop. (I will probably submit another story or two just to get them out there).

    Seriously, if you want to break into writing, this would be as good a place as any to rack up sales. Sales build confidence like nothing else.

    Link.

     
    Last edited: May 25, 2010
  8. Perspicacity

    Perspicacity High Score: 3,994 Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I couldn't not forward this contest: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2010/05/30/fanfic-contest/

    The pay is 10c/word (double the SFWA minimum for a pro sale) for a 400-2k word story describing a picture with Wil Wheaton riding a kitten-unicorn-pegasus wearing a clown shirt and John Scalzi as an orc; the winner is to be published in an electronic book with similarly prompted stories by Scalzi, Wheaton, Patrick Rothfuss, and Catherynne Valente, proceeds going to Lupus Alliance of America.

    The money is good; the company is great. Entry deadline: 30 June.
     
  9. silverlasso

    silverlasso Minister of Magic DLP Supporter

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    Damn, I was just about to post that. :p
     
  10. Perspicacity

    Perspicacity High Score: 3,994 Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I ran across this one, which isn't a short fiction market per se, but may be of interest to DLP members hailing from the British Commonwealth or Republic of Ireland:

    The Terry Pratchett Prize.

    It looks like a sweet deal for eligible someones writing alternative history novels (in the broadest sense) and looking for a way in. Just being read by a major publisher is nontrivial nowadays--most major houses do not even consider unrepresented novels anymore.
     
  11. Perspicacity

    Perspicacity High Score: 3,994 Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I saw this today and thought of the many Aussies on this site. Science fiction/horror blend themes, 1c/word up to $50 (pay market). Submissions are open until 31 Jan 2011:

     
    Joe
  12. IdSayWhyNot

    IdSayWhyNot Minister of Magic DLP Supporter

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    Nice contribution, Pers. Where do you "see" this stuff? Unless I specifically look for fiction markets I don't just stumble on this kind of thing.

    Is there a magazine or website subscription?

    /ignorance
     
  13. Joe

    Joe The Reminiscent Exile Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Nice one, Pers.

    I'll be making a contribution to this, for sure.
     
  14. Perspicacity

    Perspicacity High Score: 3,994 Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I used to be a member of the Online Writers Workshop, a workshop for speculative fiction, fantasy, and horror. OWW has a couple of Yahoo groups that announce these kinds of things regularly, along with discussion of the commercial side of writing. I think jbern may be a member of a couple of other such sites, more for suspense/thriller writing.
     
  15. Fiat

    Fiat The Chosen One DLP Supporter

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    Hate to necro with what may or may not be something people are interested in, but to anyone who's into 40k, The Black Library is opening up a submission window for a short fiction anthology this September. It's an opportunity for one to get a SFWA qualifying short story under their belt.
     
  16. Fiat

    Fiat The Chosen One DLP Supporter

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    Sorry about the necro/doublepost, but I'm just wondering if anyone else actually sent in a submission for the aforementioned 40k Anthology?
     
  17. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    I know that this is a Necro-post, but I had a question that I didn't want to start up a new thread for. And the sticky that looked more relevant was closed.

    I've given a lot of thought over the years at trying my hand at writing. I've tried to come up with ideas/interest for writing Fanfiction, but it's never materialized. I do however have a large imagination full of stories that I've thought about for years, full of half-complete plots and characters.

    If I was to write a one-shot of this original fiction, and post it here in the DLP WbA for critique (because I might suck too much to try and take this further), would that... invalidate it somehow for publishing elsewhere? I mean, if I've put it on the internet, are the characters/plots/whatever then somehow not valid options for... whatever?

    Sorry for the confusing question, but I'm not quite sure how to phrase it. I know next to nothing about how this sort of thing works where fiction is concerned.
     
  18. Joe

    Joe The Reminiscent Exile Prestige DLP Supporter

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    It's a likely possibility, made even more so with the advent of google. Certain (read: most) publications do stipulate the work is not available elsewhere. That the story they are buying is solely their's, usually for a determined amount of time.

    That said, I say throw it up here anyway. I have. If you're really cut out for the writing game, you'll find the stories don't stop at one. Indeed, you'll never have enough time for all the ideas. Ever. So throw us a tester story, if you will, and let us gnaw on it.
     
  19. T3t

    T3t Purple Beast of DLP Prestige DLP Supporter

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    What Joe said, but also there's the fact that the WbA section is restricted to members only and I don't think you can find stuff on it from google.
     
  20. Calz

    Calz Oh, I Got the Mic Now!

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    You can. Shows right up if the sentence is a direct quote and is something that likely wouldn't be found elsewhere.