Signing Up

Part of the process of becoming a writer these days is signing up. Services abound. Resources are overwhelming. Many are free, unless you count the time you take to search, scan, read, save, post, forward, or archive them. All of them require at least a little time commitment.

I signed up for two things today.

First was a one year subscription to Writers Market. That’s the service that lists writing markets, submission guidelines, etc. My previous attempts at fiction, over 15 years ago, ended just about the time awareness of the internet started spreading. So the guidelines were all in print; either in the Writers Market books or in the backs of the journals and publications. Of course, you could always send a letter and ask for a copy of the guidelines, which I did.

Now, for the price of one of those Writers Digest books you can get a one-year online subscription. You get the listings, and probably even more useful, your own area on the site. You can search markets, save your search results, leave notes and reminders to yourself, track submissions, store manuscripts . . . I don’t mean to sound like a noob, but it’s pretty amazing.

I also don’t mean to pimp WM. I haven’t even used it yet. But just signing up feels like commitment, and with that, opportunity. Markets await. Editors are standing by. And now I have the keys to the secret kingdom of Publishingdom. Publishinghood? Whatever. Of course that’s not the reality. But knowing where to send things is a good step toward submitting them.

Which brings me to my second, and probably far less useful, signing-up of the day. I submitted a story to Glimmer Train. Not only that. I entered it into one of their monthly contests. Chances of winning anything? Zilch. So why pay a little to enter a contest when they would review a standard submission for free? It’s that hope again. That, well ya, but wouldn’t that be cool?

All of which makes me think of gold prospectors. Very few made any money. But the merchants who sold them supplies and, uh, services made fortunes.