The news that Realms of Fantasy will cease publication with their April 2009 issue has caused me to rethink the submission strategy I employed for my fantasy fiction short stories. The professional market is rapidly shrinking. “Professional” is defined as any market that pays a minimum of $.05/word (per the current membership requirements of the SFWA).
There aren’t many print publications that qualify. The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is the only one that comes to mind, and they aren’t exclusively fantasy fiction. Black Gate has been closed to submissions for a while, and most professional anthologies are by invite only.
There are some e-zines that pay professional rates, like Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, Strange Horizons and Fantasy Magazine. The latter isn’t what I consider fantasy fiction, but rather literary fiction with fantasy aspirations.
While print markets like Realms of Fantasy are slowly disappearing, the Web has birthed an explosion of online markets. A Google search for “fantasy webzine” returns over 200,000 results. Most of these offer little or no compensation, so I have avoided submitting to them.
Not any more.
The reason for this is a fundamental shift in my writing goals. I no longer view short stories as a means of income, but as a marketing tool. (Yes, I am one of those writers who believes we have a responsibility to promote ourselves.) I’m not interested in a SFWA membership, and my current publishing credits would qualify me if I was.
I am interested in increasing my footprint and name recognition. Any financial compensation on top of that is just bonus.
What markets do you submit to? Are pay rates a criteria? Do you read/subscribe to any of the publications I mentioned? How often do you read fantasy fiction short stories?