Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Sad Truth about Short Fiction Markets

I made a short story submission this morning. It's been a few weeks since doing so. While I was at Duotrope, I tinkered around a bit with my records.

Let's face it: short fiction markets, unless they are some time-honored tradition kept alive by the good will and deep pockets of a benefactor, aren't built to last. Even non-paying venues take time and effort (and often cash) to produce.

Of the recorded 153 "acceptances" (some reprints, some markets which never published), I counted 61 closed (permanently) or dead markets. Granted, some of those "closed" were anthologies, but roughly 40% of the markets to which my work has "sold" in the past four years are gone.

Gone, gone.

It saddens me a little.

What doesn't sadden me is the story I submitted. The first bit from "Jack is Almost Eight":

Night was coming, and Jack was afraid.

The shadow man only came at night, the darkest nights. Jack held his covers close to his seven-year-old chin as if the blanket could keep the monsters away. His thin, light brown hair stuck in sweaty ribbons against his forehead. A television hum rose from the stairs and trickled into Jack’s bedroom. Evan was watching wrestling. He would smell of beer and sweat and a day’s grease from the shop. Jack could keep his eyes shut for a while, but only so long before fear nibbled away at the fringes of his seven-year-old brain.

Here's a hint (if you didn't catch it from the sample): more than one monster lurks in this story.

Have a great weekend.


jan said...

So...where can we go to read the whole thing? I'm hooked.

Cate Gardner said...

One dies and another one is born. What a strange old place our small press is.

Anthony Rapino said...

153 acceptances!? Hell, *that's* the number I'd focus on. That's killer.

Aaron Polson said...

Jan - it's coming. Promise.

Cate - It's true--I guess a good example of the circle of life in all its forms.

Anthony - I don't really want to bang that drum, but thanks.