Howdy readers. So, the time has finally come. I’m shopping my short story around for publication, checking out various sites for submission into the hallowed grounds of first time Publication. I’d like to say that I found a whole bunch of opportunities for legitimate submission, great gobs of contests, and publishers just aching to grasp my tiny tale and get it into print at first bite.
The truth is, it wasn’t very hard to find the welcoming trail bread crumbs. However, the more I looked into things the more confused and wary I became of the offers. If it sounds too good to be true, is it really? Are those sharp teeth and claws I spy on those happy websites with their clutching hands?
To wit: I saw calls for submissions and contests where the fee to enter is $15.00 (US) and the awarded prize is $20.00 to $60.00, but only if yours is pick of the litter. I also saw publications that were foreign, inviting submissions for free, but with no information to be found, and several US companies already on the watchdog sites of Preditors and Editors, Absolute Write, and Writer Beware lists as badguys.
It is typical for Indie Publications to charge an entry fee for their contest, but they trend toward the manageable, which is good news. Some journals and magazines indicate calls for submission with no fees involved, at least not that I saw outright. To clarify whether these would be a good start for a noob, I headed over to Writer Beware (WB), that great website like an eye in the sky keeping new Writers and Authors out of the clutches of the Damned Unscrupulous Malicious Publishing Scammers (DUMPS) for any advice. (yes, I just coined that acronym this evening!)
I learned to research EVERY SITE because the Dumps monsters will bite the unwary and uneducated, and received advice to not click on any links within sites, but instead do a direct Google search (http://www.blahblah.com) to confirm information on a prospective publisher. I learned that publication of a short story could be equally good or a nil sort of venture, depending on the publication. Here’s the link to the page where I questioned WB, and their responses: 2011-Writer Beware Retrospective Under 2011 WB Retrospective discussion, scroll down to comments to C.K. Garner (se Moi!) asking a question, and read Victoria Strauss, Author and Co-Founder of Writer Beware and Grace Peterson of WB Blogs, answers and advice.
Once in their website, I highly recommend clicking around. The advice contained in Writer Beware is an invaluable resource for you. Just in case you are skeptical, these fine folk are part of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. They do this as a community for free, to aid other Authors and Writers. So check them out, you can lose the monster DUMPS and get some sound footing to navigate the path out of the woods!
We must, do the assignment of protecting ourselves by asking the questions and then following through to find the answers, and using the proper resources before submitting to any contest, or Journal, or publishing entity.
So, how well do you know your intended publishing company? When you are ready to send in a submission, have you done research on the Publishing company? Did you check with Writer Beware first? Did you run them by Preditors and Editors, or check with Absolute Write? Did you Google the company to see how much you could find out about them, and find other Authors who have used them?
I need to sign off now. I’ve got a lot of work to do before I send off my short story for submission. Good luck to you, and have fun researching those prospective publishers! Here Goes…