Monday, May 21, 2012

Get Published: Duotrope, you magnificent Database!

How I've gotten everything published...ever.  Well, not quite ever, but quite close!

As hinted at in the title, Duotrope is a database.  But unlike MLA Bibliography, JSTOR, and many of the other innumerable databases we learned to love so well as Undergraduates, Duotrope is a free database that will actually get you published.

After setting up an account, a writer can browse through Publishers of Fiction by Genre (ranging from General to Western, Sci-Fi to Romance) Style (Absurd, Literary, Quirky, Scholarly) Length, Subject, Payscale and Submission Type.  One can call up only journals that, for instance, accept simultaneous submissions, online submissions, and multiple pieces (i.e. the sane way to submit work).

Another feature that I particularly like is the Sort By drop down menu.  Here you can arrange your results by Pay Scale (high to low), Average Response Time (low to high) or, my personally favorite, Acceptance Ratio (high to low).  A high acceptance ratio means you have the best shot at getting your work accepted there.

After I had been writing fiction fairly seriously and submitting to well-known journals for six or seven years, I was at a giving-up point.  I wasn't ready to stop writing fiction, but I did feel like keeping it to myself for a while.  Then I bought New Super Mario Brothers for the Wii.  My wife and I played it all night.  As one usually does with Mario, we started with the easy level.  All you really needed to do was jump on the heads of a few roaming goombas and occasionally dancing koopa troopas, break a few bricks with your head, and you made it to the next level.  The following day, I was reflecting on this basic concept that had been with me since before grade school, before even preschool, back from when I was three years old and alternating between Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt on our old 8-bit NES.  That was the day I stopped setting my literary aim for The New Yorker and started sending submissions to Cats with Thumbs and  In short, I began at World 1 Level 1, and (surprise, surprise) I started finding some success.

Duotrope played a big role in this process, which I suggest you flock to it if you have any intention of writing and publishing short fiction.  You need only an e-mail to set up an account, and they have sent me so few e-mails it's ridiculous.  And best of all, it's absolutely free.  (At least for now.)

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