What is the most efficient use of Duotrope?
May 21, 2016 2:43 PM   Subscribe

Hello there. I've been using Duotrope primarily to see what market is opening or re-opening and targeting markets that way. Yet Duotrope's search function is getting pretty kewl, in terms of targeting subgenres and lengths and whatnot. So I'm curious, fellow writers: what is your Duotrope process?

I've not been using the search feature primarily because I thought that, well, why not wait and see what markets are opening. But I'm curious as to a) if this is dumb, to limit myself to recent openings and b) what other folks' Duotrope procedure is.
posted by angrycat to Writing & Language (4 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I think that depends on your goals. What are your goals?

My goal is to publish science fiction and fantasy stories in the best publications that I can get into. New markets are not generally particularly appealing to me because who knows whether they'll pay, or whether they'll fold after their first issue. I don't prioritize them (but! I got a good vibe from the website of a new semi-pro magazine, submitted a story happened to really fit their guidelines, and ta-da! It's going to be my first published story. And they've already paid).

Since it's free, I use Submission Grinder rather than Duotrope, but I used to use Duotrope and they're pretty similar.

When I have something to submit, I start by running a search based genre, length, and status (I start with pro magazines). I already have some default search exclusions: anywhere I already have a piece still under consideration, anywhere this story has been submitted already, anywhere that's closed, and any market on my Ignore list. I sort the results by response time, and then consider which markets are a good match, stylistically and thematically, for my story. That's where I start.

I do keep a few markets on my watch list so that I know when they close and reopen, but they're usually places I've decided to really try to get published in (and/or places that I know get lots of submissions).

Some people have a good enough feel for what the numbers on Grinder/Duotrope mean that they can practice rejectomancy, with good guesses as to whether a story has gotten out of the slush pile at a particular market and so on. I don't really have that knowledge yet, plus I don't yet have access to Codex or other places where more experienced writers share data.
posted by wintersweet at 3:29 PM on May 21, 2016 [5 favorites]

My short fiction experience is also completely within the realm of SFF, so -- grain of salt, if that's not your scene.

Most of the markets I choose to submit to first have been around for a long time -- older markets tend to have larger readerships, and most of the better paying markets are well established.

When I search for a place to submit a story, my concerns are:

- What markets publish a story of this length?
- What markets publish a story of this genre? (Horror, SF, Fantasy, Mystery, etc)
- What's the minimum amount I want to be paid?
- How long am I willing to wait for a response?
- Is it a priority to submit to markets that allow simultaneous submissions?

For example, let's say I have a 3000 word fantasy story I want to submit. My order of operations would be:
- Set up a search for markets that accept 3000 word fantasy stories and pay a professional rate
- Sort the markets I get in my search results by average response time (I'm impatient)
- Open the results in tabs until I find a market that seems like it may be a good match
posted by Narrative Priorities at 5:47 PM on May 21, 2016 [4 favorites]

I use Duotrope a lot for keeping track of where I've already submitted something.
posted by deathpanels at 5:24 AM on May 22, 2016

thanks everybody so far
i'm trying to get into 1) sic fi and 2) lit fiction markets. Ultimately I'd like prestige (ha) over payment. I mean, if there's a choice.
thanks again!
posted by angrycat at 4:41 PM on May 23, 2016

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