“Detail makes the difference between boring and terrific writing. It’s the difference between a pencil sketch and a lush oil painting. As a writer, words are your paint. Use all the colors.”
-Rhys Alexander

Sometimes I think as writers we can tend to look at another writer’s work and think our work doesn’t stand up against it. To the point that we may not send our work to the markets that seem renowned — the ones that are “household names” to writers. Places like Glimmer Train, Asimov’s, Carve Zine, Analog, and L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest are good examples of popular markets, I think.

But why do some of us hesitate to send our work to such places? Why do we box ourselves in? Containing our works to those smaller magazines that offer only exposure and (if you’re fortunate) contributor copies? Don’t get me wrong, the smaller markets need stories, and it is a great way to build your publishing credits, especially if you need that confidence boost in your writing. But hear me out.

When I finish a new story, I usually do send it to a lesser known market which may or not offer payment, or any sort of compensation other than publication. I do that to see where the cards fall. If they like it as is, great! (though that hasn’t happened yet, haha)

But while I send it to a market, I also get it critiqued.

As history has shown, I’ve always had to use the critiques I’ve been given. After I get the story to where I feel it’s at its best and any more critiquing of it would be purely preference and opinion (meaning nothing major regarding plot or character or the like), I go for the “big” markets. Now that I have full confidence in my story, why not start with paying markets?

Glimmer Train seems to always be on the list of markets to send my work to. No acceptance from them yet. But it doesn’t discourage me. They (or anyone else) can’t publish me unless I send them something to publish. I want writing to be a substantial part of my income, and I can’t get that by avoiding such markets.

Again, I don’t say neglect the “smaller” magazines, but what’s your motive? Do you want less competition? Do you just want publication? Or are you afraid? Do you think your work isn’t as good? I will say this: If you don’t have much confidence in your abilities, why should an editor? Remember, you’re a writer; no one can tell the story that you have to tell or tell it the way that you want it told.

There are a lot of us writers in the world, but we all have different styles, different motives, different goals. If you want to do this in the long run and make some sort of income from it, you’ll have to graduate from the smaller markets at some point. If you haven’t even graduated to sending your work out to magazines, it’s time to start that! Believe in yourself and  your work. If you have talent and persistence, you’ll reach your goal.

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