26 March 2015

Writers' tools: Duotrope

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you might've noticed that on most Mondays I post 3-4 calls for submissions, usually themed calls with upcoming deadlines. Where do I find these calls? Duotrope.

What is Duotrope?
Duotrope is a database that helps writers find markets (e.g. journals, magazines, publishers) that accept unsolicited submissions (meaning you don't have to be agented or personally invited to submit). The database interface lets you search by a number of different factors, including word/line count, genre and whether or not it's a paying market.

You can also build your own little database within their system of your own pieces of writing, which you use not only to list what you've written and want to submit but also to track where you've submitted which pieces, how long it takes for markets to get back to you, which pieces have been accepted/rejected, and your acceptance rate.

In addition, subscribers can elect to receive email announcements about new markets, markets that have reopened, those that have been declared defunct, and upcoming themed deadlines in the genre(s) in which they write.

Why I like it
Before someone told me about Duotrope, I spent hours searching for literary magazines and journals via Google search. The ones I found weren't guaranteed to be open to unsolicited submissions, much less be paying markets geared toward what I write. Not only do I come across a ton of markets I probably would never know about if not for Duotrope, but their search features mean I can narrow it down to what's relevant to me.

I also really like getting the emails because:
  1. My weekly email from Duotrope is where I start for the calls for subs I tweet about and post on Facebook, and I often see listings that are relevant to my friends and clients;
  2. The email is a weekly reminder that I want to be writing & submitting; and
  3. I love the idea of using the upcoming themed deadlines as writing prompts.

And it's super affordable! If you're not sure whether you'd use it, you can start with a monthly membership of $5. If you like it and want to continue, the annual subscription is slightly discounted from the monthly rate - $50/year.

Who should subscribe
Duotrope's listings include poetry, fiction and nonfiction. And it's not just creative nonfiction; I've seen calls for submissions for political, spiritual and even science writing in my weekly emails. If you want to submit a piece of writing - whether it's a poem, short story, nonfiction piece or entire book - Duotrope can help you find markets suited to your work.

Note: This is an unpaid endorsement of a resource for writers that I find super helpful. I offer this review as a service to readers of this blog and do not receive any form of compensation from Duotrope. [Update: After this post went live, Duotrope did tweet a thank-you at me, which some might consider compensation.]

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