Duotrope's Digest is a fantastic on-line resource that lists over 2,750 current fiction and poetry publications in a fully searchable database. This way, you can take the piece that you've just completed and find just the write market for it.
The information that you can get on every publication is quite extensive. Here is a summary of the information that is available:
- Genres & Themes. These are categorised for searching. There is usually a quote from the publisher's editorial guidelines that gives you a better "feel" for the what they're interested in.
- Lengths. This tells you what length pieces they're after: flash, short stories, novellas, etc.
- Media. Is it a print publication, or an on-line journal?
- Paycale. Do they pay, or are you rewarded only by the pleasure of seeing your work in print? Some pay better than others. Money's not everything, but the information is available.
- Submission Types. There are so many variables to consider here. Electronic or postal submissions, or both? Are reprints and multiple submissions allowed? Are simultenous submissions acceptable? Duotrope lays the information out in an easy-to-read and easy-to-search format.
- Response Times. This is my favourite section, and it can be so telling. You get the minimum, maximum and average resonse times. You get the percentages of acceptances and rejects. There's a bit more info here too. Important: This information is based only on what other Duotrope users have submitted. Like all stastics, take them with a grain of salt. But, it's still very interesting…
All of this information is great, but it can't beat following the link to the publication's website and having a good look around. Read their editorial guidelines, and if possible, read their journal. Writers are readers, too – you may well find your new favourite literary journal.
One of the best features of Duotrope is the submissions tracker. You can use it to keep track of all your pieces, and what markets you've submitted them to. It tracks the date submitted, how long it's taken to respond, and most importantly, what the response is. This way you can avoid wasted time and embarrassment with trying to find when you sent a story off, and to who, and whether it's time to send a query. You can also be very pragmatic about accepting a rejection for a piece and sending it right off to the next publisher for consideration.
Curiosity and the Cat
For those of us that also like playing with numbers and data, Duotrope has a section called Curiosity and the Cat, which contains a number of reports on their database. These include the Top 25 "Good, Bad, and Ugly" Markets, based on response times and acceptances.
More about Duotrope's Digest
Duotrope's Digest was one of Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers for 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Duotrope is run by volunteers, and is always looking for your support.
They also welcome comments, suggestions and questions. If you do have any questions, have a look at the about page first.
If you want to get fiction or poetry published, you need to know the markets and keep track of your submissions. Duotropes Digest is a fantastic, free tool that helps you do this. I use it, and so should you.