This is the most frustrating part of writing short stories--searching for markets.
Coming up with ideas and putting them on paper is the fun part. Even editing and revising can be loads of fun! But searching data-bases to find magazines. Bleh.
First of all, the pay ranges from nothing to professional rates (5-10 cents per word). Naturally, one wants to start at the top :). But that's not going to happen for most of us. I've got my first three stories coming out in 4-the-luv markets. I'm lucky, though. They are all very professionally-run magazines. The fact that I'm not getting paid doesn't bug me a bit because I feel like my stories are being showcased in professional markets.
Here are links to those mags, btw. My stories aren't in them yet, but will be shortly:
CFOM is a must-read for Christian writers--my story "Eyes on the Hilltop" will be featured in this in just one more week!
My short story "The Artist" will be in this one in a couple of months (not sure of the exact date yet). Mindflights is an awesome Christian-run speculative magazine.
My longest piece, "Willing Blood," will be in The Absent Willow Review in August.
I have been really impressed with the quality of writing and artwork featured in this secular magazine. It's good, traditional writing--no artsy, high-brow, experimental junk. I hate that, and I'm distraught to see that some speculative magazines are turning to it. This month has a story I just love--"In The Valley of Dry Bones" by Jason Rolfe. (This is a dark magazine, so be warned--most of the stories have at least an element of horror.)
Speaking of artsy, high-brow...it's so hard to tell what a magazine wants without really reading an issue. That's fine for online mags. But print mags are a different story--I just can't go buying sample copies of them all! I've already gotten burned on that. For one, I bought a copy of two mags that turned out to be horrible. Experimental nonsense. And another spec-fic mag I wanted to try out--The Leading Edge--never sent my copy. I think I'm going to be writing a letter to the editor this week.
So, I end up searching places like http://www.duotrope.com/ and http://ralan.com/index-i.htm to find magazines. These are great websites, btw. But you still have to check out each magazine individually.
Anyway, I am really trying to find some magazines that can put me into the "professional" arena--ones that pay pro rates. It's not the money I'm after quite honestly, it's the label. And the chance to join SFWA.
Ugh, I feel like all I've done all day is search online for places to submit my latest short stories!
I've sent a few more queries out for Finding Angel, too. That's my other least favorite thing about writing. But that's a whole different whine-fest :).