I've heard a few complaints lately about the lack of markets for short crime fiction, both paying and non-paying. But I don't think there's a lack of markets, only tunnel vision on the part of the genre’s writers. They tend to look down the tunnel and see Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock as the only paying markets. Along the tunnel length there's online zines like A Twist of Noir, Plots with Guns, and Spinetingler (And yes, there's others, too numerous to mention.) There's also a few print magazines along that tunnel like Needle, Pulp Modern, and Big Pulp. And, of course, there's the very few crime anthologies out there that beckon but many of those slots go to the name authors who can attract sales. What bothers me about this tunnel vision is that mystery/crime writers are failing to use their imagination. They write themselves into a box and refuse to claw their way out.
I know writers hate when you use the phrase transcend the genre, but I think it applies to finding new markets for your short fiction. Joe R. Lansdale is one of those writers who transcend the market box. Consider his story, “Incident On and Off a Mountain Road” http://www.thehorrorzine.com/Fiction/Oct2011/Lansdale/Lansdale.html This is a crime story but he’s marketed the story as Horror. And “Torn Away” http://www.fantasy-magazine.com/new/new-fiction/torn-away another crime story marketed as fantasy. Lansdale has mastered marketing his crime stories by thinking outside of that constricting box of the mystery genre.
The markets are what they are. Whining about getting the “organizations” to do something about the lack of paying markets is useless. That’s not their focus and they don’t give a crap about shorts or their authors. For them, short stories are merely a way to draw attention to the writers in their own membership of novelists.
You want to sell your short stories? Look at the markets that pay in the range you’re happy with. Sci-fi, Spec-fiction, Horror, Romance, Fantasy, and Erotica all have good paying markets, both zines and anthologies. Give yourself the freedom to reimagine your crime stories. Don’t follow the strict rules of the genre. Cut loose and let your imagination run wild. The only one holding you back is yourself.
And, dear God, please stop the whining. If you want to write shorts, write them. If you want to find paying markets, look for them in the unusual places. Make yourself happy, not the genre.