I have a problem: I can't submit*. It short-circuits my brain to even think about it, and the idea of simultaneous submissions puts me into a panic. I don't know why, but this is my weak spot when it comes to writing. I can do the writing and rewriting and reading and critiquing and all the rest. I can't submit very well.
So, is there a such thing as a Short Story Agent? Someone who you pay or who gets some huge cut of any money made (since moneys isn't really made by short stories)?
*I can, on the other hand, be submissive. I can't go Dom, though.
I know there is a website called "writer's relief" that helps people place short stories for a small fee but they only take on a limited number of clients.
I'm bad at that too. Have you tried to ask the Lit Coach? Maybe she knows this one too.
No. There wouldn't be enough money in it for it to be a worthwhile profession if the agent took a percentage. Although I guess it could work if the story agent charged a certain amount per submission (although getting a story submission from someone who is not the author themselves may freak editors out and work against the story being accepted). What exactly are your problems as far as submitting? It's one of the easiest things in the world.
I've got a brain block. I promise I'll do it. I'll sit down to do it. I'll try to do it. And then the world goes by and I haven't done it. I can't stand the idea of simutanous submissions. It kills me.
What's wrong with simultaneous submissions? If you don't like submitting simultaneously, don't do it.
Nothing is wrong with them. I just can't do them. I don't know why. I really should. I've got to work on this problem.
That is bizarre.
Bryan, I feel your pain. Do you use Duotrope? It's the only way that I can keep on top of it. I wrote a column about it here at LR but it isn't that difficult.
Duotrope likes it so much they said they are going to refer to it and send people to read it all the time.
Basically, this is how it should go down:
You have a story. Let's call it "Bryan's Song." It's horror.
1. You set up an account at Duotrope.
2. You do a search to find out the markets for it, and narrow it down before you even hit SEARCH. Maybe you want print only, at professional rates, let's say.
3. You get 20 markets that fit that description. Of those, you want to target 7. Click on each one, read what their guidelines are (5000 word max, submit online via Submishmash, closed starting on March 1, 60 day time of response). Go to their website, find the SMM link, go to SMM, upload story, type in a message and your bio (cut and paste) and BAM. Submit.
4. Repeat this seven times until they are all out.
5. Sit back and wait.
6. OR, move on to another story.
So for those seven submissions, it maybe took you thirty minutes, an hour. I've actually thought about offering my services to people, but that could be weird. I would have to charge for my time. But how much, and what? Most places aren't going to pay much. EVEN if you did land a story at professional rates (typically .05 a word) that isn't much. 5000 words x .05 = $250. I thought about charging by the hour, say $20 an hour. Or time + commission. If you came to me with a list, I could certainly handle that in no time.
"Richard, send 'Bryan's Song' to Shock Totem, Shroud, Shimmer, Cemetery Dance, Apex, One Buck Horror and BULL SPEC." BAM. I send them out.
The HARD part might be if you came to me and said, "Richard, I have this horror story, I have no idea where to send it. Can you take care of it?" I do the research, present you with a list, and ask where you want me to send it, and I do that. More time, you pay more, but you get targeted results.
TO ME, this research is becoming second nature, I don't mind it, and I feel like I'm really sending my work to the right places, even if I get rejected a lot. But for some, it's very painful.
What do you think? Because I'm a big fan of your work, I could see being a short story agent, it would be kind of cool. I don't know, just tossing out ideas here.
After reading your column, I've used Doutrope. I think it's an amazing resource. Now, if only we could put our stories (or story descriptions) into a database like that and have magazines search for us! I'd pay a monthly fee for that.
My idea for a short story agent was time + commision (if applicable). I'd imagine that $20/hour is the least a person could charge. I'd be willing to split any money 50/50 at this point because I'm spending more money to have my stories read by print magazines or contests than I've ever made by writing fiction. Also because I find getting the story to the right magazine to be the hardest part of the job.
When I've got the word, I can write a story in an hour or two. I've never had the Spirit Guide of Multiple Submissions* come over me and show me the way.
I've got 4 out of 12 stories out for consideration. I have some stories I've shelved after numerous rejections (and hitting the limit of rewriting them).
*once again, sexually: yes.