This is an ongoing series looking at websites that can be of help to fiction writers with their craft and career.
Story markets are important to fiction writers. After all, traditionally writers of all stripes made their living through finding new markets for their stories, articles, books, poetry, etc. Nowadays, because of digital publishing and e-books, things are a bit different with many writers publishing their own works, but a smart move is to continue working with traditional publishers as well as publishing your own works.
It only makes sense, especially from a financial point of view. As the old saying goes, why put all your eggs in one basket? No one knows what the future will hold, so it's best to play it safe and work in both print and digital formats, as well as continuing to work with publishers while doing your own thing. Despite the conflict that seems to consistently spring up between the print and digital fronts, it behooves writers to take the best of both worlds and use them for one's own ends.
Looking for places to sell one's stories has never been an easy task. Oh, there are books and magazines out there that have listings of the markets, but quite often those listings are outdated by the time they reach publication.
Today, instead of a writer having to buy a book or magazine to find story markets, he or she can go online to Duotrope's Digest.
Duotrope, as the site is commonly called, is sort of a search engine for markets looking to purchase stories, poetry, articles, books and more. It's quite simple. You go to the site and type in your various search criteria, from genre to pay scales, length of stories accepted and on and on. The search can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. The great thing is that once you've put in all your information all you have to do is click a button and up pops a list of publications and/or publishers who fit that criteria.
For example, let's pretend you've written a romance novel and are trying to find a publisher. You pop onto Duotrope and begin your search. First you want to pick "Romance" under genre, then under "Length" you pick "Novel." Now click the "Search" button and your potential publishers will appear in a list. Of course you could go back and add more defining characteristics to you search, narrowing that list even further.
The focus at Duotrope is upon fiction and poetry, so keep that in mind. Still, many of the magazine, e-zine and book publishers listed will also consider non-fiction articles.
Also, the What's New section at Duotrope will allow you to keep up to date on changes within the fiction and poetry markets, providing recent updates of what publications have closed, which ones are new, which ones have temporarily stopped looking at stories, etc.
The market search and listings are the main enticement for many writers to use Duotrope, but the usefulness of the site does not end there.
Also available is a long link list of interviews with editors. These interview can be quite informative, giving writers clues as to specifics that cause an editor to be interested in a story.
There's even a Stats page where writers can find out the response times from publishers.
If you're looking to sell your fiction or poetry, you need to be checking out Duotrope's Digest on a regular basis.