Researching Writing Markets

Research doesn’t end when you finish the last sentence of your novel or short story. You also have to research the publishing opportunity to find the right home for your work.

The Market
Will you be submitting your short story to a magazine or writing a collection to submit to a publisher? You also want to think about your long-term goals for the piece if you’re submitting your writing to a contest. That publisher you’ve got your eye on for your novel may not publish your work after you’ve submitted it to a writing contest.

Know the market you want to submit to before you start sending out your work. Many writers have been disappointed when they find out the short story they sold to one magazine can’t be published in another because of that market’s particular rules on publishing.

As a writer selling your work, you have to think like a chess player…planning out your publishing moves way in advance.

Type of Work
You wouldn’t go to a home improvement store to get your car fixed so don’t send your horror novel to a Christian publisher. It may seem obvious but many writers make the mistake of not researching the market before they submit their work.

Instead of sending their work to an appropriate publisher that prints their type of work, they waste their time and money by submitting work the publisher can’t use. Publishers, magazine markets and contests are very specific about the type of work they will accept.

Pay Scale
Are you going to be happy with the pay terms? Save your postage if the publisher’s pay terms don’t line up with your expectations.

Many market listings show a pay range. This will give you an idea of what they will pay if your work is accepted.

Length of Work
If the magazine is accepting short stories under 2,000 words, don’t send them 3,000. If the book publisher wants novels to be at least 40,000 words, don’t send them anything less. Your work may be fantastic but these markets have very specific needs and following their guidelines will help you get your work published much sooner.

Agented Submissions
Keep an eye out for markets who only accept agented submissions. This means you must have a literary agent before they’ll submit your work. No agent, no book deal so keep researching for a publisher that will take a look at your work if you don’t have an agent.