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I'm not dismissing anything, but I'd rather try selling a story for $5,000 (Playboy) or $1,200 (Zoetrope: All Story) before I give it away or sell it to a new publisher for $10 (as Amazing Journeys is offering for 3K-20K stories!) or go the profit-sharing route (per Trip The Light Fantastic, and others).

Well, wouldn't we all? =)

This may sound patronizing, but the following I consider legitimate advice, so please don't be offended: you're just starting out, so concentrate on getting accepted and recognized, NOT on getting paid!

You are apparently VERY prolific. Writing is not a problem for you, you can always "make more". The competition in the fiction market is incredibly fierce, and the competition for the journals with decent pay is particularly so, thus the odds of a new writer breaking into that market from the get go are very low. I'm not saying it's impossible, but the odds are way more in your favor going in low and slow, and then building up.

Playboy gets over one thousand submissions a month. Do you think they read all those, or that you'll have any chance in hell of having your submission read? The typical sifting mechanism that most magazines and agents go through is something like this:

- is submission packet poorly packaged?
- wordy, effusive or poorly done cover letter?
- any prior publications?
- has writer indicated that they're familiar with this market?

The cut-off is different for each location, but by and large with the sheer number of authors out there, often the triage is capricious, merciless and excessive. Perfectly good stories never get read because the author didn't include an SASE or e-mailed it instead of sending a printed manuscript, etc. In fact, a lot of good stories are rejected simply because the first paragraph wasn't that good.

Once again, On Writing has a good discussion about the submission process. It's a two or three evening read, really. Not to belabor the point =)

With for-pay journals, you're looking at turnaround times in measured in months. With the smaller journals, you'll often (but not always) get a personal reply from an editor instead of a pink rejection slip with no commentary. You'll have a faster turnaround time, better feedback, and overall probably a better feeling of satisfaction and progress early on. To me, that's more important than the first early checks.

You don't go into writing for money until after someone has paid you at least once ;)

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