Markets for Weird Fiction, Sci-fi, Horror and Fantasy?
Confession: I'm writing stories for cardboard boxes rotting in the pantry.
When I finish a short story in the weird fiction, soft sci-fi, fantasy or horror genres I send it off to the usual suspects (assuming they're accepting manuscripts from un-agented writers that quarter): WEIRD TALES, THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE-FICTION, BLACK GATE and perhaps one or two other print or online-only publications.
Once I’ve exhausted those resources, I’m pretty much done. If the story gets rejected by these publications the story gets tossed into one of my battered writing boxes and disappears into the pantry for a decade or so.
I endlessly revise, rewrite and otherwise fiddle-diddle with these rejected stories (that part of the authorial life I have down pat) for the first year or so after creation, but then: consignment to "The Box."
Yes, I know I should be tirelessly seeking out additional potential markets for my weird fiction, but you know what? I’m not good at it. Not a bit. Terrible, in fact.
I once had a list of genre magazines accepting slush (I’m sure you know the one I’m talking about; just about every genre writer who writes in the genres of fantasy and science-fiction has the list) and I began researching those markets only to realize almost immediately that 85% of the magazines had gone out of business.
As for the storied Writer’s Market series of books, well—they haven’t been much help either, I’m afraid. The restrictions on story length, thematic material and tone rule out 90% of the magazines as potential markets for my fiction. (And the list of genre magazines published therein isn’t terribly large to begin with.)
Since I’m not a novelist and therefore cannot rely on an agent to tell me about potential markets for short fiction in upcoming themed anthologies, I’m dead in the water there as well.
As for self-publishing: No thanks. Not for me.
So the question is: Does anyone know of any current markets/magazines that would consider un-agented manuscripts submitted to them (via e-mail or regular mail) for weird fiction, sci-fi, horror or fantasy from unknown/under-exposed writers?
I would greatly appreciate any help anyone has to offer in this matter. Thank you!
PS. I'd also like to hear about your own experiences in submitting manuscripts to these markets. What was the editorial reaction? Turn-around time for response? Was personalized criticism offered, or a standard form-letter rejection received? (Assuming you weren’t
published, that is. If you were published—great! Tell us about it.)