More on Novel & Short Story Writer's Market: I received the book a few days ago, and it's a great resource. It has articles on writing and getting published, tips and tricks, and lots of information on markets for short stories and novels (as the name would imply). I especially liked the symbols in the literary magazine section: they indicated at a glance whether the journal mostly accepts new or established writers, whether the journal pays, and where it's located (US or other), among other things. At first it made me wonder if creating my own literary journal spreadsheet from internet searches was a waste of time, but not all journals are included in the Writer's Market. According to the publication, the included magazines are highly likely to be seeking submissions. To top it off, the entries displayed many EDITOR NAMES. It always made sense to me that an editor would consider a submission addressed to him or her before one addressed simply to "Editor," but I wasn't sure how this information could be found. (Bribery? Top-secret spy missions? Sad puppy-dog eyes?) Still, I'd suggest calling the magazine before submission and asking something like "Is so-and-so still the fiction editor?"
I can't say, however, that having this book has necessarily increased my confidence in my chances of publishing success. I'm reading The Granta Book of the American Short Story in conjunction with the Writer's Market, and it's made me feel somewhat overwhelmed. I'm still working on my novel, up to 31,000 words now, and luckily I haven't had any major writer's block (yet). But I've always been somewhat daunted by the short story. I know that I can manipulate the individual elements with moderate skill, at least upon occasion. I can turn a pretty phrase, build an interesting plot, and even write convincing dialogue. The one thing I'm lacking is that mysterious closure, the ribbon that ties it up into a complete package worthy of consideration for public enlightenment and entertainment. I think what I need is more practice, and more critiques. More on that soon.