Before starting my little adventure as a writer, I took a bit of time looking around, trying to get the feeling of the market as a whole and to take a more detailed look in some magazines. One of the first things that I realized was about my personal reactions to the submission specs.
To me, it’s OK that every house gets its own set of rules. So, it’s a big “do” to read and understand such rules before submitting my material. The “don’t” is going straight to send or submit, there’s no need for such a hurry.
A big “don’t” for me is about submission fees. I’m not here to say that a magazine can’t charge for reading a submission or charge for a detailed answer. But I don’t like it. So, if I find such a clause in the house rules I walk away.
A strong “do” point for me is to share public announcements about submission calls and to log mine in the Grinder. Information is a currency, believe it or not. The more you spread the news, the better the market you’re in.
I’m ambivalent about zero-paying markets. Most of them are rip-offs, from a writer’s point of view. But some are the real deal in terms of visibility. So far my policy is to stay away from those markets, but I respect some of them.
Token-payment markets could be good or not, it’s about the value you give to your work. Even the best are well under pro level (6 USD cent / word), some are well managed could be listed as a good part of your curriculum. It’s a “do” for me.
Being an author/publisher myself, it’s a “do” the choice for self-publish. It brings on your head a whole lot of problems, that’s right. It’s a total pain for marketing and to find a good niche, but it’s worth it big time.