Today we’re talking once again about potentially unexpected elements of submission guidelines. As always, you should read the guidelines completely and carefully every time you submit a story. These articles simply highlight the many reasons why. This Submission Spotlight focuses on regional preferences and how they could affect you if you live outside a market’s targeted region.
1) If you live there, you can submit here. Sometimes a regional preferences is so focused, a publisher will not accept ANY submission outside of that region.
[Publisher] is looking for original science fiction and speculative fiction from New Zealand, Australian, and Pacific writers. This means that (for now) you can only submit to [publisher] if you are a citizen of New Zealand, Australia, or the Pacific, or if you are a resident of these areas.
Pretty straightforward, right? If you don’t live in that part of the world, don’t send them a story. Markets with these restrictions are generally pretty easy to spot and usually have this part of the guidelines right at the very top (but not always). In addition, market databases like Duotrope will mark a publisher like this with a limited demographic warning at the top of their entry.
2) Limited seating. Some publishers that focus on a specific region might allow submission from outside that region, but can only publish a small percentage of them. There’s often a very good reason for this, such as:
Our mandate is to give our readers the best SF we can find, regardless of the author’s nationality, and we have published authors from Canada, the U.S., Britain, New Zealand, South America, and more. In order to qualify for grants, we do have to maintain 80% Canadian content.
This market must publish mostly Canadian authors to qualify for grants, which no doubt keeps them in business and publishing (a good thing). They’re open and upfront about the restriction, and if you live outside of Canada, it’s something to take into consideration. Should you submit to a market like this if you’re outside of their region? Absolutely. If you’re story is good enough, you always have a chance.
3) Small window. Other markets with a regional preference may choose to publish authors from outside their region but might give them a shorter window to submit. Like this:
Submissions from Australian and New Zealand writers: 1 February – 30 September
Submissions from anyone anywhere: 1 August – 30 September
This market gives authors from their part of the world a big window in which to submit (eight months) and authors outside of that region a much smaller window (two months). This seems to me a pretty equitable way to do things. If you’re not from Australian and New Zealand, you simply treat this publisher like any other with a short annual submission window.
As I said in the opening, always read the guidelines completely and carefully. There’s no good reason to miss something like a regional preference (or anything else, for that matter). Most publishers are going to put something like this right at the top of the guidelines, and, as previously mentioned, market databases like Duotrope often note a market’s preferences in their entry.
Know of any other way publishers handle regional preferences? Tell me about it in the comments.
Regarding #3, it also gives their ‘native’ writers first crack, and throws the ‘addons’ into the slush pile at the end of the process, ensuring that some available slots have already been filled by natives.
Agreed, and I think that is a perfectly reasonable way to do things. I have no issues with #2 either, as they’re up front about it and will still publish authors outside of their region.