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Musings on Marketing

I've been looking through Duotrope's Digest and a number of magazines' submission guidelines, thinking about where to send several of my stories next.  It feels like slogging through mud.

I joke about collecting rejections, and I'm resigned that it is an inevitable part of the process. 

However, watching myself  read these guidelines, I see myself imagining why this editor and that editor and the other editor are likely to may reject the story.  And that doesn't help my mood, or the process of actually getting the story out the door (or, more likely these days, through an online submission window). 

In the meantime, in the back of my head, I'm getting ready for that job interview tomorrow.  I think I have a new answer to the question, what skill would you like to improve.  I definitely need to get better at marketing myself! 

We spend so much time being told not to toot our own horn, to be modest, and so on.  And too much time being told to find our weaknesses and to stay aware of them so we can improve on them (or, sometimes, use other skills to compensate for them).  And identifying ways we can improve is important.  But it's not the only thing that's important.

Being able to be happily excited while figuring out how and where to share your work with the world is important too. 

So, I guess, now one of the goals I'm working on is getting better at selling myself and my skills, both mundane and fantastical.

Anyone have some tips to share?


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 3rd, 2009 03:22 pm (UTC)
Knowing the market is, indeed, good.

With submitting short stories, most editors don't want to hear/read explanations, they often barely glance at the cover letter until after they've already read the story, or (in the case of rejections) as much of the story as they're ever going to. If the story doesn't sell itself, the only factor that might change their minds is being popular enough that your name on their magazine will increase bookstore sales (or, I suppose, internet clicks).

I wrote this piece because researching the short story market was being difficult and depressing. Any thoughts on how to make it less so?

However, as for job interviews, yes, getting more comfortable with and skilled at that explanation process would be good. (-:
Sep. 3rd, 2009 09:10 pm (UTC)
My advice is to just submit and submit. If you have stories, boost them out! I've had stories rejected by token-payment mags and then picked up by pro mags so it's hard to judge sometimes who will like what. However you end up getting a good idea of what people want and what to write to get the mags you want after a bit and obviously you can go read the mags and be like OOOH they like stories with this theme, teeheehee.

I usually submit stories like this:


Here is a story I'm submitting to your mag, thx for reading,


If it's a pro or semi pro I also include my long list of publications.

It's also a lot easier to get into mags than you might think, although I suppose it depends what level you're submitting at.
Sep. 3rd, 2009 09:20 pm (UTC)
It's easier when I have an idea where the story will fit while I'm writing it; maybe one early thing to do is challenge myself to write for particular markets. Like you with Futurismic.

If you have markets to suggest for me, based on what you've read so far, I'll check them out. (-: If not, well, all jobs have some stuff you have to slog through!
Sep. 3rd, 2009 09:35 pm (UTC)
I admit that I don't often write for particular markets... but I do aim for particular *levels* of market... like I will consciously write to a pro or semi pro level. I would totally recommend to aim stuff at particular anthologies though... there's a great livejournal community, specficmarkets I think it is, which has anthology updates and stuff.

Haha, I love telling people where to send their stuff. I'm a lot better and saying "where" for specific stories though. If you post extract stuff and summaries behind a link I reckon me (and other writery people on your flist) could recommend places to mail it.
Sep. 3rd, 2009 09:43 pm (UTC)
That said we are somewhat different markets, I'm urban fantasy, dystopic and post-cyberpunk, so I'd be best able to help in those areas.
Sep. 4th, 2009 03:59 am (UTC)
True. I'm not very dystopic. I've done some urban fantasy, though. If you want, I could put up a locked post with the other story inspired by the photo, but only if you want!
Sep. 4th, 2009 04:15 am (UTC)
Sep. 4th, 2009 09:11 am (UTC)
Turn off the internal critic. I know it's hard but remember that you have good stories that someone will want. If you rip them to shreds trying to figure out if you should submit them you'll never get accepted.

And for the interview? The hardest thing is believe in yourself. I think about everyone else I'm interviewing against and that's my weak point. To sell yourself (and believe me, this is hard for me too!) in the interview you need to concentrate on you. Think about all the great things you've done in your past jobs. And think about how you can apply those skills in your current job.

It helps to go into an interview with examples in mind of how you've "wow'd" a customer, how you've gone out of the way to finish something, how you've handled a difficult situation. Think of a project you've had to work on with a team and how you contributed to the end result. Behavioural interview questions usually not only focus on the answers you give but that you prepared, that you're thoughtful and that you can express yourself. THey often want questions answered in the "STAR" manner: Situation (what was the situation?), Task (what needed to be done/what was going on), Action (what did you do?) and Result (what came about from your actions).

Fingers crossed for you!! I hope the interview goes well!!
Sep. 4th, 2009 09:28 am (UTC)
(-: I think the interview went well; but it also depends on how well the other folks did. And may depend on whether they need insurance...sigh.

As to stories, it's disheartening when I am pretty sure a story I like and believe in will be rejected by most markets because it's not their thing. All one can do is make one's best guess and see what happens, but I'd rather feel excited about sending my story out, instead of depressed, y'know?

But I feel better today, too, because the next chapter of Fireborn is out. (-:
Sep. 4th, 2009 09:37 am (UTC)
Ah, that's what I get for being behind in reading my f-lists :( Sorry I missed sending you good vibes for the interview. I'll send you good post-interview vibes.

I understand how you feel about sending your stories out them getting rejected by the publishers because they don't see a market from them. I think you're offering them somethign slightly different. It isn't strictly sci fi, more along the lines of fantasy but also alternate reality & something else thrown in.

:) I saw the new chapter listed. I'm gonna read it when my eyeballs don't feel like they are bleeding :*{ And use it as a treat this weekend after I've done my "homework" (I brought my work notes and some training materials home to try to put them in a more legible and better order).
Sep. 4th, 2009 11:18 am (UTC)
As to editors, they may see "a" market for a story, without it being "their own" market. (-:

Sounds good, re reading the story later. I hope you like it!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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