Monday, March 3, 2014

Wordcraft -- Search the markets for historical fiction

I’m always looking for literary events in genres I love. And one of those genres is historical fiction. It’s not always easy to find. So I could hardly believe my eyes when three local book readings in two weeks featured works by writers of historical fiction. Make that, writers of bestselling historical fiction: Leila Meacham, Sue Monk Kidd, and Nancy Horan.

Chameleon that it is, historical fiction doesn’t get a shelf to itself in bookstores or libraries, lurking under appellations such as general fiction or general fiction, masked as mystery, romance, or young adult fiction. But just because historicals can be so transparent, it’s not always easy to find markets for them. As an experiment, I searched for--and found--historical short story publishers in Duotrope’s Digest using “historical” as a subgenre under each of its genre listings, general, action/adventure, erotica, fantasy, horror, mystery/crime, romance, science fiction, suspense/thrillers, and westerns.

Historical fantasy is almost too easy a search, with both historical and pseudo-historical subgenres like heroic fantasy, mythology and fairy tales, such as Fantasy Short Stories,

I thought historical science fiction would be impossible. But try expanding the search with the likes of alternate history such as the aptly titled Alt Hist, (which also publishes straight-forward historicals),

Don’t feel comfortable paying Duotrope’s $50 annual subscription price? Opt for a seven-day free trial,

Or go totally free at a couple of alternative sites. The (Submission) Grinder offers many of the same search criteria as Duotrope at no charge (although it loves donations). Not as many markets as Duotrope, and I wasn’t able to link directly to publication websites as I was on Duotrope’s site. See

Another free site,, doesn’t support searches by genre. Advertising itself as a site for speculative fiction and horror writers, it includes listings for more general publications as well, at

And while looking for historicals, don’t forget the Historical Novel Society. In addition to publishing short fiction in its magazine, it offers awards for both historical novels and outstanding short stories. Deadline for the 2014 short story contest is April 1, 2014. The entry fee is $15 ($5 for HNS members). For full rules, see


If you love genre fiction, save the date of March 15 for a day of writing workshops and authors’ appearances at the Barnes and Noble bookstore, The Parks at Arlington, 3881 S. Cooper St., Arlington, Texas. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, see

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