Ralan's SpecFic & Humor Webstravaganza

October 2001 Report


I received several comments from my remarks on the current market situation last month. This month and next I'd like to present a few of them -- with permission, of course.


Unfortunately, it's a very tough market out there at the moment. A lot of professional fiction magazines are overstocked, and Black Gate is no exception. But that certainly doesn't mean that there are no opportunities. While we're currently not buying in a lot areas, we are still very hungry for our core requirement -- heroic fantasy -- and most magazines out there have a similar weak spot. The trick is to listen carefully to what editors are asking for, and see if you have anything in your inventory that can fill that need.

Black Gate is a magazine of adventure fantasy, so if you're trying to get your foot in the door with a work of urban fantasy, magic realism, romantic fantasy, or contemporary horror, the odds are stacked against you. Yes, we buy all those genres, but very very selectively. Try also to be as original as you can in plot and setting. We receive hundreds of Arthurian fantasies every year, and never buy more than one. Again, the odds are stacked against you from the beginning with a setting or theme we're likely to have seen multiple times before.

Finally, don't give up. Much of the very best fiction we've published was rejected by other markets -- including fiction that has gone on to be reprinted in Best of the Year collections and other places. Editors are very often forced to reject stories not because they're inferior, but simply because they don't fit the market. When they find the right market, they can become a real breakout piece.

*John O'Neill
Editor & Publisher of Black Gate


Me, I don't deal with the market situation. I'm fortunate. I have places that seek my stuff and that's where I place it.

I have other places that have made it plain they don't want my stuff (have done that in *good* times)--and so I don't waste time or effort with them.

I think the important thing is to realize that, if you are really in it, you are in it for the long haul; you've signed on for the duration.

And then you don't have to worry about the "current market"; me, I'm considered prolific--because I've place a few things--every year--for a zillion years.

And remember, good writing--*usually/eventually* gets published--there's a bit of solace, if one notes the key words.

*Mort Castle
Author of 350 short stories & a dozen books, including "Cursed Be the Child", "The Strangers," "Moon on the Water," & "Writing Horror."

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