I was reading posts in one of the writer groups I follow on Facebook the other day and several of the writers were lamenting about the restrictions in markets—things like:
No animal cruelty, no child abuse, no vampire/werewolf/zombies, etc. No serial killers.
One writer commented that they still send stories of these kinds to markets despite the restriction, something they bragged had even worked.
The example restrictions above are actually from LampLight, not the thread, and I wanted to talk about them.
I get stories that go against the guidelines all the time. Some are even fantastically written. Amazing zombie stories, horrific vampire ones. I get a lot of what I would consider ‘drama’—stories that are slice of life, and while tragic, lack that which you need to be a horror story.
Some of which I have quite enjoyed reading. I also rejected them.
The thing about the guidelines is that yes, there is some wiggle room in them, their intention has nothing to do with the writer.
Guidelines are about the reader.
LampLight, as other markets, has a certain theme, mood and feel to it. This helps the reader to know what to expect. A market that goes for anything may be convenient for the writer, but will struggle to find an audience.
More how the story isn’t the whole story—I’m not looking for a good story, I’m looking for a good LampLight story.
Which is why as a submitting author it is important to know the market. And, if the only thing you know about the market is the guidelines, then it is even more important that you abide by them.