Nothing seems to draw some writers' scorn so quickly as nonpaying markets. As an aspiring writer myself, the thought of working so hard for no money is...well, not so warming a thought as pro rates. But I imagine that another potentially more important reason for such scorn is, for some writers, psychologically, acceptance is validation of one's skill/talent, and payment the validation of the validation. How can you be sure if you really have made it if you weren't paid? After all, if the editors didn't have to pay for it, how good can it be?
I had already recommended a story by Tom Miller Juvik, published by Compass Rose. And if you haven't already checked out these sites, do so--especially if you happen to be one of the doubters...These sites prove it's not the pay rate, but discerning editors (many of whom work voluntarily) that make the mag.
And don't forget, there are aspiring editors as well as aspiring writers. And some of the best, most experienced editors may not be working for pro rate magazines. Which leads to a question: as a writer, where would you rather see your work? Would you rather be paid pro rate by an aspiring editor or in contributors copies by an established one?
But back to the free fiction...the sites above feature great stuff. Their editors may not pay their writers, but boy do they deliver!
Michael Penncavage, a fellow member of the GSHW, turned me onto Thug Lit with his Derringer Award winning story, "The Cost of Doing Business."
The current issue has some real winners as well...