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Story for Young Readers

February 22, 2009

In a response to an open plea from a youth-oriented SF magazine’s editor, I wrote a story about a boy and the alien that possessed his brother.  Not the most original of ideas, but it was for kids.  As I wrote, new twists on old ideas came to me and found their way to the page.  Now I have two problems.

First, the story is too long for the market that inspired it.  The market caps at 2000 words and this story is just over 2300.  I could probably cut a few hundred words if I wanted to, but I’m pretty sure it would weaken the story.  After all, it’s not the plot that’s special, it’s the relationship between the brothers (even though one of them is not technically there).

Then there’s the other problem: I think this story is too good to start with this particular market.  This market offers only token payment and will have minimal exposure value.  I like the market and the people who run it, but I am trying to establish myself as a professional.

I may try the story in some non-genre youth-oriented publications, maybe Boys’ Life or Cricket.  I need to look up their guidelines first.  I may also try Black Gate (though I think they may be closed to submissions right now) or some other zines that insist their demographic begins with preteens.  It might prove a futile endeavor, but it would be a shame to sell a story for pennies when it might have been worth something.

I’ll probably drop it in the Critters queue while I wait for responses.  I’m having some trouble with the title: “Brother Goo or Why I Threw My Brother in the Ocean” is what I have right now.  Old school “or” format.  Unfortunately I feel like the first sounds like mucus and the second gives away too much.  I may just try “Brother Goo” and see how it is received.  Look at that, I made a decision right here in the middle of my blog and you were here to witness it.  Momentous.


UPDATE: I checked out some of those guidelines.  Boys’ Life has a 1500-word limit.  Cricket‘s is 2000.  I went back through the story and trimmed it down to 1990 (the last cut I made was a full paragraph).  I probably could have left a little more in there.  I’ll reread the cut version in a few days, after it’s filtered out of my memory some, then maybe send it to Cricket.  It could still make the rounds of the standard genre magazines, but Analog won’t be likely to touch it.  I’ll probably stick to semi-pro markets outside the youth-oriented zines.  Time will tell how it all works out.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 22, 2009 11:19 pm

    Personally, I don’t see how anyone can get exposure from a print magazine any more. The internet seems like the only market worth cultivating if the writing profession is to survive.

  2. osomuerte permalink
    February 23, 2009 12:48 am

    With the demise of Realms of Fantasy, this topic has gotten a lot of blog attention. I used to think you needed semi-pro web credits in order to get into the big pro print zines where you would get exposure. Now I get the feeling you need pro print credits to carry with you into the webzines where you can publish your list of pro credits where people will see them (since they didn’t get read in the magazine). Plus, the big SF awards seem to go to stories from the big zines still, as does inclusion in mass-produced anthologies. Still, I started shopping my most recent work at Strange Horizons, high on the internet food chain.

  3. February 23, 2009 1:25 am

    Eventually we’ll get to the point where authors don’t even need the web-zines. I think the turn-key advertisement services offered today will eventually render them obsolete.

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