There are so many good resources for writers out there: some free, and some available for a small fee. I’d like to talk about three of the best when it comes to finding publishers and agents. I’ve mentioned these off and on throughout the last few years blogging, but I thought it would be a good idea to group them together in one post and hopefully help newer writers become more aware of what tools are available.
Let’s start with my favorite 🙂
Duotrope.com lists over 6000 markets for all pay scales, from non-paying to pro-paying and all formats, from publishers buying novels to websites publishing flash fiction. The listings are fully searchable by genre, length, pay, format, and acceptance rate.
Duotrope keeps average acceptance rate and turn around time for each of its listings, based on user reports. You can also track your own submissions and collect stats about them, which is not only cool for stats-mongers, but an easy way to make sure you don’t submit the same story to the same publication, or make multiple submissions to a single place.
So those are the pros.
As for the cons, Duotrope did become a subscription site a couple of years ago. The cost is $50.00 per year, or $5.00 per month. While I don’t mind paying that, it does raise a bit of a concern with how acceptance rates are tracked. I fear that by becoming a pay site, the more “casual” writers won’t subscribe, which could potentially give the listings a much higher percentage rate than they really have.
But don’t let that stop you. Duotrope is awesome. If you have some short stories ready to send off, it’s a great resource. And if you’re turned off by the 50 bucks a year, just set a goal to make a fifty dollar sale every January and you’ve got it covered. I’m not exaggerating when I say I would not be a published author had I not discovered Duotrope.
Check it out now. You can get a 7-day free trial before you subscribe.
The Submission Grinder
Since Duotrope is not a free site, I can see newer writers getting turned off.
If you’re one of the people who would rather not cough up the fifty bucks, I’ll give you the best free alternative to Duotrope that I’ve found online so far: The (Submission) Grinder. The Grinder is very similar to Duotrope, in the way that you can create an account, track your submissions, and view various market listings and their statistics.
At the moment, it’s got over 5000 market listings and over 3500 users. It’s 100% free as far as I can tell, and just like Duotrope, has a very user-friendly display. Check out one of their many awesome listings here: http://thegrinder.diabolicalplots.com/Market.aspx?mid=3556.
I haven’t used The Grinder much, mostly because I pay for Duotrope and don’t see any reason to track submissions on more than one site. While they are essentially two nearly identical versions of the same product, both sites have pros and cons.
The obvious pro for The Grinder is that it’s free. The con is that since it is free, you never know what might happen. I think that since Duotrope is no longer a free site, it should (in theory) be more likely to stick around.
Duotrope does have nearly 1000 more market listings, but it’s hard to tell how accurate that count is. If it includes closed markets, then of course it will be a higher number since it’s an older site.
So if you’re just getting ready to submit, which one would I recommend? It’s really up to you. Duotrope offers a free trial, so definitely try both and pick whichever one you like more. Or use both. I highly doubt that every market out there is listed on both sites, so maybe your chances of getting published are better if you look for markets in a variety of place.
While both Duotrope and The Grinder focus mostly on short stories, they do include listings for full-length manuscripts, which is great if you’re hoping to find a publisher willing to take a look at your novel.
Unfortunately, a large number of publishing houses don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts. To get one of those publishers to consider your work, as you probably know, you need to find a literary agent.
I tried several sites that give agent listings, but what I really wanted was one that worked pretty much like Duotrope. For what I was looking for, QueryTracker seems to be the best.
Much like Duorope, QueryTracker is a listing site that also allows you to track your submissions and rejections. At the moment, it list over 1500 agents and nearly 200 publisher looking for novel-length submissions.
The search works pretty well, allowing you to search by genre and a whole host of other options, such as location, gender, or query method. The free site gives you most of the available options, but it limits you to only one project and restricts some of other functions. Premium membership costs only $25.00 a year.
I used only the free site when I was querying and had no complaints. As far as I could tell, if you’re only querying one novel, the free site covers everything you need. If I’m every fortunate enough to have more than one novel completed at a time, I’ll certainly consider the premium site.
So, if you’re ready to query agents or submit short stories, go ahead and give these sites a try. And if you’re using another resource as an agent or publisher listing, please leave a comment. I’d like to check it out as well. Thanks for reading and best of luck with your submissions.