Yesterday I posted that The Hard-Boiled Dimension had closed up shop. The editor, Dusty Wallace, stopped by and explained why. He had received only one submission in the month the site had been up. Which made me wonder why no one else submitted, so I thought I'd start a discussion about what writers look for in a market, especially when that market is non-paying.
Here are some of the things I look for in a non-paying online market.
1. Does the site look good. This isn't just about the graphics, it's about the editor's skill. Are the guidelines clear. By that I mean does he explain what he wants clearly ( I've seen sites where the editor just says send your shit. And then there's the one that nit-picks every detail.). Does he spell check and use correct grammar. Because the bottom line is if he doesn't care about his words, he's not going to care about yours. Most important does he have a clear vision of what he wants the zine to be or is he just posting whatever comes through the submission door.
2. Who else is published there? If I'm familiar with the published writers and admire their work, I'm in. Writers like to be in good company. In the first issue of Pulp Modern the editor managed to snag a reprint from Lawrence Block and there I was on the same TOC. I didn't get paid, but I had bragging rights to being published in the same magazine as Mr. Block.
3. Even non-paying markets need a good editor. I want someone who looks at my story, offers suggestions if needed, and puts in those pesky commas I tend to miss or catches a missing or extra word that I didn't see after the 100th read through.
Those are just a few of the things I look for. What about you? What do you look for when submitting to a market?
Back in 2011 I posted a list of things people who are starting zines should consider before opening up for business. These still hold today and they're things I look for before submitting.