Please welcome SMFS list member Jacqueline Seewald to our blog today…
Mystery Markets for Short Stories: Thinking Outside the Box by Jacqueline Seewald
There are not as many mystery magazines as there once were. However, there seem to be many more people writing and submitting mystery fiction than ever before. This can be frustrating for writers, especially those who are new to the game.
By all means submit your work to the major publications first. If your work is accepted, celebrate! However, we have all experienced rejection at one time or other in our careers. So how do we handle it? First, did the rejection include editorial comments about the work? If so, pay attention. It means the editor took the time to offer constructive criticism because he or she thought your work was special. If there are suggestions for improvement, strongly consider them. Perhaps you should do some rewriting.
You may eventually decide to try some of the smaller publications, whether online or print. I suggest that you avoid writing only for “exposure” if possible. There are paying markets that encourage beginners who lack publishing credits.
Suppose your work has been rejected by all the traditional mystery publications, should you simply give up? Not if you believe you’ve written a first-rate story. Be aware that there are other possible fiction markets out there. A few changes in your story might make the difference.
There is a large market for science fiction, fantasy and horror. These speculative markets can and will publish mystery stories that meet their guidelines. The trick is to pay close attention to what they will acquire and accept. Here’s an example: HYPNOS publishes several volumes per year. I’ve been published in their magazine for the past four years.
They look for “weird” fiction. My short story “Seekers” was published in the current Spring 2018 issue. It’s a mystery story in which the sleuths are Kim Reynolds, psychic librarian, and her fiancé, Mike Gardner, a homicide detective. They are featured in four of my mystery novels, the last one being THE BAD WIFE. “Seekers” was inspired by a real life story which involved two local fires. It’s also a ghost story that has elements of horror fiction.
However, you must realize that each genre has its own type of content. Mashups are acceptable, but first you should know the rules of each genre before you attempt to mix them. Do the research before you start to write or change your story to suit a particular set of guidelines. Successful writers are first analytical readers.
Check out the markets for mystery fiction listed on this blog:
Also of value:
http://ralan.com/ (excellent current market listings for genre short story fiction of all kinds)
http://darkmarkets.com/ (up-to-date listing for speculative fiction)
http://sandraseamans.blogspot.com/ (a great resource. Sandra blogs almost every day and offers the most current market listings. Although her interest is geared toward mystery fiction, you will find many others listings of value here as well.)
Jacqueline Seewald ©2018
Multiple award-winning author, Jacqueline Seewald, has taught creative, expository and technical writing at Rutgers University as well as high school English. She also worked as both an academic librarian and an educational media specialist. Nineteen of her books of fiction have been published including books for adults, teens and children. Her short stories, poems, essays, reviews and articles have appeared in hundreds of diverse publications and numerous anthologies such as: THE WRITER, L.A. TIMES, READER’S DIGEST, PEDESTAL, SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY MAGAZINE, OVER MY DEAD BODY!, GUMSHOE REVIEW, LIBRARY JOURNAL, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY and THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR. Her latest novel, DEATH PROMISE, has just been published by Encircle. Her writer’s blog can be found at: http://jacquelineseewald.blogspot.com