Sometimes, while wandering the interwebTM, I find a thread worth reading--advice from a pro about the writing world. Brian Keene has posted a number of excellent snippets on his site of late. There's a great bit about Freebie Markets on Paul G. Tremblay's Livejournal, including a rather heated exchange in the comments. Keene, along with a number of other authors, etc. recommend paying markets only, especially pro-paying. If you haven't seen Harlan Ellison's rant on paying the author, here you go:
But how do you start? Really start as a writer? Many recommend listening to the feedback you receive. If you are trying to become a better writer, the pro paying markets aren't going to give you constructive feedback. I've had work bounced by pro paying markets with nothing short of a photo-copied form letter. I felt good about my last reject from Cemetery Dance 'cause it came with a tiny, hand-scribbled note. I felt good having a rejection letter signed by Gordon Van Gelder at Fantasy and Science Fiction. Did either provide constructive feedback, anything that would make me a better writer? Not really. With hundreds of unsolicited subs a month, who could expect anything different?
So what does one do? Send to smaller markets, of course, while continuing to send to the pro markets. I've received much more feedback from small markets rejections--nice little mags like Necrotic Tissue and Shimmer. But I want those pro sales, and will continue working toward that goal.
I've grown as a writer in the last year. I've made mistakes, too--submitting work to fly-by-night 4theluv pubs that weren't worth the postage. But I've been happy with the presentation in some non-paying publications--some are real class acts. No, they aren't paying the writer, but every writer needs some positive feedback to continue and grow. No human will continue doing something as difficult and punishing as writing without some reward. Not indefinitely, anyway.
What am I going to do? Keep writing. Sub to those pro markets. Keep writing. Revise. Do some more writing. Sub to quality publications, and continue writing. Revise some more.
Have a great weekend.