Mar's Market: A Retrospective

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Vision 68


Mar's Market:

A Retrospective


Margaret McGaffey Fisk


Copyright © 2012, Margaret McGaffey Fisk, All Rights Reserved



When Lazette Gifford approached me about using my results after a Forward Motion Market Research challenge in December of 2003, little did I expect to find myself still offering market information for Vision: A Resource for Writers nine years later. Initially, she wanted to break my challenge research into groups of five and publish it across a year. However, I was uncomfortable with the idea because of how fluid market data can be. I only agreed if I could maintain the data and ensure that the information published in Vision was accurate to the issue publication date rather than some months earlier.


I continued with the methodology I’d used for the challenge, gathering markets from various writing group publication announcements on the assumption that those markets would be more likely to accept as yet unknown writers. This seemed true even when some of the announcements came from authors who had already made a name for themselves but were still part of the writing group. I’ll admit to a bit of self-interest too, as I was building my own submission lists for short story markets at the same time. Not all the markets were a good fit, but the pattern of research I used served me well.


However, there came a time when the market reports listed the same markets over and over again, a good sign both for the market’s openness, and its long-term stability, but not such a good thing for a then bimonthly publication where I wanted to present five new and reasonably high-level markets each issue. New markets did rise to my attention, and some of them are still going strong today, but I needed thirty markets a year and did not want to lead people astray through profiling markets that might not have offered the same level of recognition, monetary or otherwise.


I decided to adopt a stricter research pattern for the column on the theory that, whether I profiled a specific market or not, the methodology would help others to research different markets as much as the results would aid writers in their decision making.


For all six issues of 2009, January-February through November-December, I offered in-depth profiles of a specific magazine per issue. These profiles looked at the history of the publication, what genres it published, the schedule, and other statistics, but I also explored approximately a month’s worth of material for the less hard and fast aspects, such as the type of writing style the magazine preferred and the relative experience of the authors presented.


Once I had finished a year of the in-depth profiles, I looked at what are considered the top markets, covering the speculative fiction, fantasy, science fiction, horror, and literary genres over the course of the six 2010 issues. As a follow up, I surveyed Forward Motion members on how they chose their favorite markets for the January/February 2011 issue.


The survey offered a starting point for requesting interviews with editors, where I attempted to ask questions about their publishing and editorial experience specific to their model of publication, a process that offered some surprising answers and stretched my knowledge of the included publications farther than I’d expected it to. The editors who responded were forthright and offered wonderful insights.


So now we come to the last two issues of this year, and I think it’s time for another change. I’ve given you a history of Mar’s Market Report, and next issue will offer an annotated list of the articles that have been published in this column. My questions for you are these: Is there a market you’d like to see profiled? Is there an editor you want interviewed? Are there burning questions that don’t appear in standard interviews you’ve longed to ask? Or even just what has been most useful for you in the history of this column, and what would you like to see next year?


Feel free to post your answers in the comments of this post for all to see, or if you’d prefer to respond privately, send me a message at my Vision address.


Here’s to a useful and fun 2013.