The Long Short Story
I have a story that weighs in at about 12,700 words, and I am really having some trouble finding a home for it.
There are a lot of venues that take long stories in certain genres, such as literary, high fantasy or straight up science fiction magazines. However, I would classify this particular story as horror or dark fantasy, and these are apparently genres that are not very friendly to novelettes.
After sending it to a small handful of pro markets who accept longer pieces, I’m looking at token payment or “for the love” (i.e. non-paying) markets to find someone who will entertain the length. The thing is, I think this is one of my stronger stories, and I’m not ready for it to sink all the way down to token or no payment already! For some genres, like short science fiction, there are so many pro and semi-pro markets, that even my very first stories are circulating at high pay magazines. Stories that I don’t consider as good as this particular story.
So what do I do? I’m not completely sure yet. I’d hate to trunk a story after just a few submissions. On the other hand, I’d hate to sell the story for little or nothing if it never really got a fair shake at a higher pay rate.
In the meantime, I’m trying to be a little more inventive in my searches, looking for outside-the-box markets that I don’t normally submit to. For example, literary magazines that aren’t specifically genre magazines. I feel like this makes the most sense in this case, and is also the advice I would probably get from long selling pros. I might be at a disadvantage being that they might not look favorably on genre stories, but on the other hand, my genre story might be the only one in the slush, and might be a welcome change of pace.
You never know if you never try. I know for sure I won’t sell it if I stop sending it out.