"Moon-Shadow" is now done. When I started editing it, it was 6,170 words long. I moved a scene at the end of the story closer to the beginning; I changed a few words here and there, finding better, more accurate ways to express things; I freaked when I saw the number of exclamation points that littered this story and then I hunted them down and exterminated as many of them as possible; I fixed a problem with the story's timeline; and I added passages that, I think, added to the main characters, rounding them out more fully.

The story now stands at 5,430 words, 740 words lighter. I think it's ripped, the best I can make it.

A few weeks back, I drew up a list of nearly 40 markets, all publishers of science fiction (soft, hard, and dark), fantasy (including dark fantasy, sword & sorcery, and magic realism), horror, speculative fiction, weird, paranormal, or supernatural, or any combination of those genres. Out of those 40 markets, 10 appear to publish the sort of fiction that is and is as long as "Moon-Shadow." Some are online markets, some are print. Some are considered by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America to be professional markets (paying a minimum 5¢ USD/word, and a minimum $50 USD/story), some, although they are paying markets, the SFWA regard as semi-pro markets. Some have response times of a week or less, some have response times that range from 1-5 months. Assuming that I end up submitting the story to all these markets and then have to find more, it could be another 14-20 months before I have to think about that. There are, of course, a lot more markets than that for my fiction; this is just a starting point.

The markets on this list, in order of the highest paying to the lowest (along with what I could potentially earn from them for this story), are:

  1. Zoetrope: All Story (pro; print & online)— $1200
  2. Glimmer Train (semi-pro; print — Glimmer Train is something of a literary magazine and also something of an on-going competition; they charge a $20 reading fee) — $700
  3. Heliotrope (semi-pro; print) — $543
  4. Fantasy & Science Fiction (pro; print) — $489
  5. Clarkesworld (pro; online) — $471
  6. Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show (pro; online) — $326
  7. Realms of Fantasy (pro; print) — $326
  8. Fantasy Magazine (pro; online) — $272
  9. Strange Horizons (pro; online) — $272
  10. Weird Tales (semi-pro; print) — $217

The pay rates vary, as you can see, and, really, the only way to compare them, I think, is to calculate what they'd pay for this story. No matter how crass it may sound, it strikes me that the best strategy is to start with the highest paying market and to work my way down, regardless whether the market is pro or semi-pro. This will earn me the most money, regardless whether the market is pro or semi-pro. The only advantage to publication in pro markets is that three short story publications garner eligibility for an SFWA membership. I'm wanting to earn as much from this endeavor as possible, and I'm sure that eventually I'll earn enough pro credits to be able to claim an SFWA membership.

This story goes in the mail no later than this Monday.

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