I have a story out at a new market and they’re past the deadline when they said they’d respond to people and, since they have no website, I can’t figure out what’s going on with the submission.
Which had me thinking about what my ideal short story market would be like based upon my limited experience subbing to short story markets.
1. They would have a website that clearly states their submission requirements, including how to submit, document formatting, general likes/dislikes. (This would not be on someone’s blog. Especially not on a blog that doesn’t belong to the person behind the market.)
2. The website would include some free sample stories to see what they buy. (I know they want you to buy their publication and I get that, but this is my ideal as a writer.)
3. They would acknowledge receipt of your submission.
4. If your story was moved from one round to the next, they would advise you of that fact.
5. They would respond within sixty days of submission. (Ideally, thirty days, but I get that that’s just not always possible. One or two day responses just stress me out because I have to deal with the story again too soon.)
6. If they took more than 90 days to respond, they would send a personal response that helps improve the story in some way.
7. They would clearly communicate on their website when they were past normal expected response times or what their current response times are. (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve learned that a market was a little behind because Guy A who had an in with the market posted about it on a forum.)
8. They would pay pro rates.
9. They would accept stories up to 7,500 words. (Although, with the one novelette I wrote, I have to say it would be nice to see a few more markets that take up to 17,500 words.)
10. They would do basic editing on any stories they accept. (I have one market I read that clearly never edits stories they receive. All it would take is one pass through to see the spelling errors they let through. As a writer I try my best to turn in a clean story, but that final set of eyes would be appreciated.)
I don’t really care if they accept simultaneous submissions or multiple submissions. I can take that or leave it. And I don’t need a personal rejection if there’s nothing useful to say or the response is timely or if my story sucks so bad it doesn’t warrant their time and effort to say something.
That’s my list. I know others would prefer other things. For me, it’s mostly about steady communication and timeliness.
Oh, and I guess if someone ever buys a story I would want prompt contract, prompt payment, and timely publication.