Mystery Weekly is a respected publisher in the mystery genre, published by Chuck and Kerry Carter out of Canada. Their guidelines are on line at http://www.mysteryweekly.com. The basics–2,500-7,500 words–never before in print. Unlike many others in the mystery genre–this one pays! Kerry Carter graciously answered these questions to further clarify what they want in a story:
Please tell us a bit about the history of your magazine and about the magazine’s goals present day?
Back in September of 2015, we wanted to create another market for authors to get their stories out there. But if I’m completely honest, our motives weren’t entirely altruistic. Of course it’s satisfying to have a creative outlet by curating stories, choosing covers and releasing a new issue each month. But it’s also very exciting (in that same way a prospector must feel), to read through submissions and discover new voices and talent.
We actually started as an e-zine, sending out a free original mystery each week, hence the name “Mystery Weekly Magazine.” But, less than a month later, we decided to roll up these weekly stories into a monthly Print-On-Demand (POD) issue on Amazon, adding a few extra stories as a bonus. Over the years, we sent out fewer and fewer free stories by email and focused on our monthly issue. But there is still some confusion about what we do, so I would like to set the record straight.
We are primarily a monthly POD mystery magazine, but we’re also distributed through various digital subscription channels such as Kindle Newsstand and in schools/libraries via Flipster. We have never published any of our stories online.
Our goals for 2018 are to increase our compensation to authors, which we’ve recently done, and to continue to support the mystery fiction community through our sponsorships and scholarships, such as our 2018 Emerging Mystery Writer Scholarship which was open to entries until May 30th.
What are you seeking in general and what especially delights you in a manuscriptsubmission?
My favorite types of stories are not well represented in the other mystery magazines. There are a lot of magazines specializing in hardboiled, flash, or literary fiction, but often the story takes a back seat to flowery prose or gratuitous violence.
Generally, I’m looking for an original, compelling story. I especially like cross-genre submissions and humorous mysteries, with a satisfying or surprise ending. I try to buy a diverse selection of stories to please as many readers’ tastes as possible.
What is an instant turn-off in a submission?
We have very clear submission requirements, but it’s surprising how often writers disregard them. Because we’re distributed in school libraries, we want to keep our rating to an equivalent of PG-13 or milder; hardboiled is fine, but don’t boil it so much that it becomes distasteful. Another turn-off is laziness. I can tell if a writer has put effort into their submission. Avoid simple spelling and grammar errors, weak words, and plot inconsistencies.
What are some of your favorite journals/magazines?
I’ve read all the top mystery magazines for years and years. But now I have so many of our own submissions to read that I have an ever growing pile of magazines and books on my shelf, waiting for a long vacation.
How can writers contact you with questions and find out about submission calls?
We have a contact form on our site. Any question, big or small, is welcome! We often answer within minutes, but rarely it may take a day or two. If we have a special issue in mind such as our pastiche issue or western or humor issue, we will send out calls for submission by Twitter or to writing groups.
Is there anything else you would like to say to writers who are considering submitting to you?
We are always open for submissions. I’ll read your story from start to finish and take notes in case feedback is requested (but please, only request feedback if you’re sure you can handle it!). If I turn down your story, remember that it doesn’t mean I think your story is bad; it only means I have other submissions that would fit better into our next issues. And private eye stories, mariticide, and other overused themes are a hard sell regardless of how well they’re written.
We pay immediately upon acceptance, and typically you’ll see your story in print in the next monthly issue or two. We’ll also advertise your other works (novels) for free in our emails or magazine if requested, and support you in any way we can.
Finally, I recommend you read one of our current issues. If you’re on a budget, you can read us for free with a 30-day trial Kindle Newsstand Subscription, or via Flipster at your local library.