So, fare thee well, my trusty friend Duotrope, you who have stood full-square behind me during my first few years of subbing. I’m afraid I’ve just cancelled your $50 annual subscription through PayPal and after 29 January 2016 you and I shall go our separate ways. It’s not you, it’s me. You have not changed but, over the years, I have come to realise that you and I are not compatible. As you will be painfully aware, I haven’t paid you many visits over the past year to eighteen months, despite setting you up on my Firefox Bookmarks Toolbar to remind me that you’re there.
Duotrope, I have no quarrels with you. I remember when you used to be free, but, quite frankly, writers shouldn’t begrudge paying for your services. You should charge for what must involve a lot of work by a lot of people: listing on a database all those magazine and book publishers of fiction, non-fiction and poetry; their requirements and preferences; whether they pay or not and, if so, how much; the editor interviews; response times; most of all, for sorting them into categories, for genre, topic, style, length, audience… and other things. Your site is well-built and user-friendly. Over the years, I have typed my requirements into your search page and you have found me many destinations for my stories (a few successful, many not, but, there again, that was me, not you).
So why am I going? I thought about it long and hard but I had to take into account how little I have been using your services of late and why. You are American, Duotrope dear, and I’m a Brit. You are young and I am old. You are literary, and I am middle-brow. Publications run by young, literary Americans, who are not my natural readers, predominate on your database (although I do realise that not all the publications on there are like this). I cannot see myself ever submitting to The Beauty of Death Anthology or Australian Rationalist , Icarus Down Review or Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, all of which you mentioned in your last weekly Duotrope Newsletter. For the last year or so, my interests have been in subbing (unsuccessfully) to womag (for which there are other and different resources), historical and Christian. I have also subbed a lot of my mainstream stuff to comps, listed mainly in Mslexia and other writing magazines. However, you did put me on to The Copperfield Review and Circa (my historical favourite destinations) and, to be fair, several others where I have had hits. Oh, aren’t I the treacherous one!
I may also need to say goodbye to another old writing friend – my Dell Inspiron 1545 laptop, which is seven years old, as I recently discovered when I was sorting through some papers. The fan is running almost continually, which is not good news, and it’s running very very slowly, particularly on the internet. Moreover, yesterday, whilst trying to clean the keyboard, I managed to knock off the E key, although I’m getting used to using the residual rubber teet in its place. I have found a replacement E from replacementlaptopkeys, despite being quite used to seeing students typing on keyboards with several keys missing. My friend, Dell, is going to the computer doctor next week, and I’m crossing everything. He/she is likely to be expensive to replace.