Writers, Be Heard: Speculative Audio Markets

If you’re like me—and I assume you are since you read my blog—then you probably spend a lot of time submitting fiction to the multidinous array of print and digital publishers out there. But there may be a type of market of which you’re unaware, like I was until just a short time ago. What I’m talking about are the markets that publish audio versions of short stories. There are a bunch of these, actually, and I’ve been submitting to a few of them pretty regularly. So why should you add audio publishers to your list of targeted markets? Ooh, I feel a numbered list coming on.

  1. Media diversity. Audio books are pretty damn popular, and there are folks who even prefer them over dead-tree or digital reading. People who spend a lot of time in their cars dig ’em (commuters and such), as do many artist types who like to listen to books while they paint, sculpt, and whatnot. In fact, I don’t know a single working artist that isn’t way into audio books. Basically, it’s a chance to reach an audience with your work you might not otherwise. That sure is a big selling point for me.
  2. Good pay rates. In general, I’ve found the audio markets pay a little better than most print markets. It’s not uncommon to see solid semi-pro rates (around .03/word), and there are a few that pay pro rates (.06/word and above). Admittedly, my experience with audio markets has been limited to those that publish speculative fiction, primarily horror, so pay rates could be much different outside of these markets.
  3. Reprint friendly. This is a big one for me. Most audio markets I submit to are very receptive to reprints; in fact, I know one that even prefers them. What’s even better is some audio markets pay the same rates for reprints they do for original fiction. This openness to reprints makes sense, if you think about it. They’re publishing the work in an entirely different medium, so the existence of a print version of the story elsewhere really isn’t competition. In fact, some of these markets will even link to the story’s print version if it’s available. Getting one of your reprints published in audio is great way to revisit and reuse some of your best work, and, like I said in point one, introduce it to a new audience.

Now that I’ve told you why you should consider submitting to audio markets, let me point you at some good ones.

At the top of the list are the four Escape Artist podcasts: EscapePod, PseudoPod, PodCastle, and Cast of Wonders. These markets publish sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and YA respectively. They are awesome for a number of reasons. One, they pay pro-rates for original fiction and really solid rates for reprints. Two, they accept simultaneous submissions, and they get back to you in a reasonable amount of time, about 45 days, which, in my book, is fine for a publisher that allows sim-subs. Lastly, they are awesome because they accepted my story “Night Games” for PseudoPod, which will air in September 2016. I’m more than a little excited about it.

Next up is The Drabblecast, an award-winning market who describe themselves thusly: Strange Stories, By Strange Authors, for Strange Listeners. As you can probably guess, they’re a spec market with a pretty open definition of what constitutes speculative fiction. The Drabblecast is a semi-pro publisher that pays .03/word, and they publish short fiction, flash fiction, and micro fiction. Like the Escape Artist podcasts, they are very open to reprints, and they accept simultaneous and multiple submissions. The Drabblecast has a very fast turn rate, averaging about a week for rejections and a month for acceptances. All that adds up to a great publisher with very flexible submissions and content policies.

Know of any good audio markets? Tells us about them in the comments.

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