|Posted on June 1, 2020 at 10:10 AM|
I see a lot of questions in writers' groups about writing for specific markets. I'm agin it until you're well seasoned, because if the theme is extremely narrow and your story is rejected (as 95%+ are), where do you send it?
Same goes for word counts, at least at the start of the journey. Case in point: I have an essay that I'm finding quite hard to shop around. It's about my obsession with a musician, which would be great if he were well known or contemporary. He's also dead and the music is disturbing. Good luck to me.
I ended the essay at 1175. I sent it to a couple of venues that pay quite well. (Long shots, but what the hell. I don't have a deadline, and he already met his. Ba dum tss.)
Waiting months for a response gives me itchy fingers, so I looked for more places to submit in the interim. I found one that seemed like a good fit, but they set their minimum at 1500. I asked the editors if that 325 difference is flexible; it is not. I went through the essay again to see if I could add meaningful content, ultimately ending up with 1269. C'est la vie.
A third venue set their maximum at 1000. I asked them if they'd take 1269. "We'd be interested," they said. "But could you knock it down to 1100?"
So just write the thing, yo. When you've exhausted all the places that might take it as is, dick around with the word count then. Otherwise you'll run out of hooch before you run out of words.