Magazine circ doesn't matter

Miss Snark,

I have a question about magazines. I've been sending out short stories to some of the major magazines (such as the ones you find in B&N), but I don't expect I'll be published in those. While I wait for those rejections I've been looking for the next tier magazines to submit to, but I'm not certain how to find circulation information on most magazines. I vaguely recall you mentioning that it should be easy to find on their websites, but after searching some of their sites (and google, and duotrope, and your blog) I haven't been able to find any sort of circulation information. Do I have to loosen my death grip on my wallet and subscribe to Publisher's Marketplace? (no, not for this but it's a good investment for many other reasons)

When you're checking pub creds you don't immediately recognize in query letters, what are your criteria for what constitutes a reputable magazine? I know there are a lot of degrees of legitimacy between Backwater Parish Newspaper and The Atlantic Monthly, but I'm uncertain how to determine where a magazine might fall in that spectrum.

A magazine that takes ads has to publish its circulation figures in the magazine. Not every issue but periodically (I'm thinking it's once a year--someone pipe up if this is wrong). Correction: it's for postal rates, not ads (thank you Don)

The info I've seen has been in a top to bottom box, like a disclaimer almost, that shows the number of copies printed and sold in print the size of a gnat's ass.

The smaller pubs, the ones you mean, don't dervive their "legitimacy" from their circulation figures. What I look for in small pub credits is whether they have an editor selecting work and if the work seems pretty decent.

When I look at Spinetingler I notice they have submission guidelines (good), they have a staff of people (also good with the exception of a very very suspicious person named for a low slung car and an intoxicating beverage).

So, I don't care if Spinetingler has 1 million readers or one hundred. It would count as a respectable pub credit with me.

The point of pub credits is to tell me that someone other than your mom and your writing conference teacher think you're good.

Also, you can send your work anywhere you want regardless of what I think of it. The only time my opinion matters is when it comes to listing those credits in a query letter. Short of turning up in "Agents Are Pond Scum Weekly", it doesn't count against you if you've published stuff in a lot more places than you mention.


December Quinn said...

also good with the exception of a very very suspicious person named for a low slung car and an intoxicating beverage).

Okay, I'm trying to guess weithout looking...

Hooptie Gin?

Cobra Ale?

Jalopy Wine?

Corvette Bourbon?

Viper Rum?

Don said...

As a one-time small magazine publisher, the requirement to publish circulation figures has nothing to do with ads (I had ads, but not enough to keep the mag from folding) and everything to do with postage. To get the periodical rate, you need to disclose on an annual basis your circulation figures (including paid vs unpaid). This is, in part, to keep catalog publishers from calling themselves magazines and getting periodical rate postage. You also need to have a regular publication schedule (which I never did--which is why I didn't do this).

bookfraud said...

damn. i should have never submitted to "agents are pond scum weekly." they did pay well, however.

Dave said...

What Miss Snark is saying is that you want publications that have editors and editorial boards that review and accept your work. Citculation doesn't count, it's the independent review of your work.

There are many small magazines and web-only e-zines that have editors and editorial boards. They might not pay, but they are a way to get a few publishing credits for short stories and other short forms.

Go look at Ralan dot com for a list and then decide.

archer said...

Short of turning up in "Agents Are Pond Scum Weekly", it doesn't count against you

You owe me the Grande Redeye that now graces my keyboard.

Anonymous said...

Listings for magazines in the Novel & Short Story Writer's Market and in The Writer's Market usually list circulation figures. That would be the easiest place to find them, I think.

I publish a small press literary magazine. The circulation is only about 150, but I still have the opportunity to be highly selective. I publish less than 10% of the short stories I receive for consideration.

Anonymous said...

with the exception of a very very suspicious person named for a low slung car and an intoxicating beverage

Whoa! That's too much for me to figure out this early in the morning.

overdog said...

M.G. Tarquini is a regular poster on this board, and I'm guessing Miss Snark is making a funny...

M. G. Tarquini said...

Mouths slowly, 'Low-slung carriage...'


*cleans glasses*

Oh! Low-slung car. For a second there I thought you were referencing my boobs. Or maybe my butt.

Tarquini - Tanqueray Martini

Yeah, you gotta keep a tight count on your cannolis around that chick.

snarkfodder said...

I use the Duotrope Digest search engine. VERY useful when looking for short fiction publishers.


overdog said...

M.G.! You made me laugh. Lucky I don't spit when I laugh, so I don't need the keyboard raincoat.

Anonymous said...

If there are specific magazines you're interested in, go to the library and ask to see the Standard Rate and Data Service (SRDS) book. It's primarily for listing ad rates, but it also shows how many eyeballs will see those ads.