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.