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The Pros & Cons of Submitting Your Fiction to Markets

Rejection is tough in fiction writing, and it tends to happen way more than acceptance for most of us. Even so, many of us continue to send our fiction out into the slush piles in the hope that somebody will pick it up and publish it.

New authors might find themselves at a crossroads when it comes to sharing their fiction with the world. A popular avenue for publication, particularly in the speculative fiction genres, is submitting to magazines and anthologies. While this approach can give you valuable exposure and opportunities, it also comes with its challenges.

Today I'm going to list a handful of pros and cons for submitting your fiction to magazines and anthos, and hopefully help you make an informed decision about the best path for your writing career.

Pros of Submitting Fiction to Magazines and Markets

Publication Opportunities

One of the primary benefits of submitting your fiction to magazines and open submission calls is the possibility of getting published (I mean, duh). Magazines and literary journals often have a wide readership, giving your work a chance to reach a broad audience. Having your work published in reputable venues can also enhance your credibility as a writer and open doors to other opportunities. You might even end up on award lists.

Exposure and Visibility

When you submit your fiction to magazines, you expose your work to a diverse range of readers and potential fans. Publications typically have established subscriber bases or online audiences who actively seek out new and engaging stories. This exposure can lead to increased visibility and can attract attention from literary agents, publishers and other industry professionals and also help you grow your social media following.

Feedback and Networking

Many magazines and markets provide feedback on submissions, even if they don't accept your work for publication. This feedback can be invaluable for improving your writing skills and understanding the preferences of editors and readers. The submission process also allows you to connect with other writers, editors, and professionals in the literary field, opening you up to networking opportunities and potential collaborations.

Building a Writing Resume

Submitting your fiction to magazines and markets allows you to build a writing resume. When you accumulate a list of publications, it demonstrates your commitment to your craft and can impress agents or publishers. A strong writing resume can enhance your chances of securing future publishing deals or obtaining representation.

Cons of Submitting to Magazines and Markets

High Competition

The world of literary magazines is highly competitive. Editors receive countless submissions, making it challenging to stand out from the crowd. Rejection can be such a disheartening experience for all writers, especially when you begin to understand that even talented, popular writers often face a high rejection rate. It requires perseverance and resilience to navigate the competitive landscape.

Time and Patience

Submitting to magazines and markets demands time and patience. Crafting a quality submission, researching appropriate markets, and following submission guidelines can be time-consuming. And the response time from editors can vary significantly, ranging from a few weeks to several months. Waiting for responses can be frustrating, particularly when you're eager to see your work in print.

Rights and Compensation

While some markets offer payment for accepted submissions, many publications may only provide exposure and recognition. It's important to carefully consider the terms and rights associated with submitting your work. Some publications may acquire exclusive rights to your story, limiting your options for future publication or repurposing your work.

Limited Control over Publication Timing

When you submit your fiction to magazines, you relinquish control over the timing of publication. Editors have their own schedules and priorities, which may result in a significant delay between acceptance and publication. This lack of control can be frustrating, particularly if you want your work to be available to readers as soon as possible.

So there you go. A few short, simple pros and cons for sending out your fiction. Submitting to markets can be a hugely rewarding experience, especially when you land a sale on a story that means a lot to you. But the competition is fierce, and the time commitments are brutal.

Ultimately, the decision to submit your fiction to magazines and markets should align with your writing goals, your personal preferences, and your understanding of the publishing landscape. Remember, there are alternative routes to publication, such as self-publishing.

Do you have experience with getting your stories published? What are the advantages and pitfalls you've encountered on your writing journey so far? Drop me a comment below.

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