I finally joined. At least I’ll check it out for a few months.

For those who don’t know, Duotrope is a sort of searchable database for writers. With it, one can search for magazines and journals and such that most match, in tone, style and length, the sort of piece one has written. A writer can than submit their piece to that (hopefully) good match.

I’ve only joined this week, even though thousands of authors have used it for years. I’ve played around with the search engine, and so far it seems it will be useful.

It’s five dollars a month, and I admit I had put off joining the site several times over the last few years because of that. After all, I thought, isn’t Duotrope just doing what I myself could do for free? Namely, search the internet for information about places that seem to be looking for the type of work I’ve written.

The answer is, yes. There is no information, as far as I can tell, that Duotrope provides members that one couldn’t with enough time and searching find on one’s own. But for me, I decided that would take a lot of time. Possibly as much as twice the amount of time, as simply using an existing, searchable database. The time I save searching for possible matches on my own can be used to review and read excerpts from the publications I’ve found. (To see if my work really is a good match.) More time also on the actual submitting. And of course, more actual writing time.

I could grill my own steak, after all, and once in a while, I do. But I’m willing more often to pay someone to do it for me, in an establishment suited to the purpose. I feel no guilt in doing so either. They can do it better than I could anyway. Why should a search for magazine be any different? It will certainly cost less than a steak.

The site will probably be even more useful if I lightly study some genre definitions. I confess that on their search engine, there were a few genres and subgenres of fiction I  had never heard of before. I have no idea what such genres entail. For all I know, some of my stuff falls into said categories.

Which brings up another issue. Unless it’s obvious, as some of my stories are, I’m not adept at determining what genre one of my pieces falls into. Not to say that they aren’t classifiable, rather that I myself don’t always know how to do so. (Though I also think a few of my stories are genre-bending.) If I find out along the way using the site that many of my stories fall into, say, “angel tear fiction,” I’ll be better able to describe it in other contexts as well. (By the way, as far as I know, “angel tear fiction” is a subgenre I completely invented just now to make a point.)

So hopefully I’ll get some good leads.

Do any of you use Duotrope? Has it helped you?


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