The following market report on the magazine, Often Inspired, as well as the follow-up interview are courtesy of Market Scoops by D.L. Snell.
Publisher: Often Inspired Magazine
Editor: William V. Burns
Pay Rate: Individual 2000-5000 word short stories from $25 to $100
Response Time: One to two weeks after contest end or submission
Description (from the editor): Often Inspired is a magazine that celebrates the bond between writer and reader. We exist to encourage writers to improve their craft by showing examples, having fun, and constructively giving advice and counsel.
Complete Guidelines: Writer’s Guidelines
Note: Horror author D.L. Snell conducted the following interview to give writers a better idea of what the editors of this specific market are seeking; however, most editors are open to ideas outside of the preferences discussed here, as long as they fit the basic submission guidelines.
1. What authors do you enjoy, and why does their writing captivate you?
John Steinbeck, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Rex Stout — they have in common just enough description to get the job done, precise dialogue, good solid plots, and colorful characters that pull you right into a story.
2. What are your favorite genres? Which genres would you like to see incorporated into submissions to this market?
I enjoy: Mystery, Horror, Fantasy, Science Fiction — unsurprisingly these are the submissions we accept.
3. What settings most intrigue you? Ordinary or exotic locales? Real or fantasy? Past, present, or future?
The mundane can be made fascinating by skillful writing, the exotic can be painted in your mind by a colorful author, real or fantastic, past present or future. If you bring me into the scene, that’s what I love.
4. Explain the type of pacing you enjoy, e.g. slow building to fast, fast throughout, etc.
Pacing should be fit to the genre — mysteries build a pattern of clues, and then have a faster pace towards the end; fantasy has a consistent pace where cycle leads to cycle of exposition; horror just starts and then builds, builds, builds until you shriek. But any story can be subtle and slow in its pace throughout if you have a compelling tale.
5. What types of characters appeal to you the most? Any examples?
Earthy. Direct. Poignant. Lennie and George from Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck. The characters in The Maltese Falcon by Hammett.
6. Is there a specific tone you’d like to set in your publication? What kind of voices grab you and keep you enthralled? Any examples?
I want our magazine (and our forum) to be friendly and accessible to readers and member authors. Fun, creative, fascinating. People who are creative and love to share, but have that competitive fire. We run a contest/meet centered around National Novel Writing Month and you see the fire in our writers come out in November.
7. What is your policy for vulgarity, violence, and sexual content? Any taboos?
We like to keep to a standard of PG-13 for most of our work. Some curse words are inevitable in describing conflict, anger, or outright terror. We don’t accept stories that overuse profanity and vulgarity. Please don’t submit toilet humor or needlessly gruesome work. Think mature themes, but not obscenity.
8. What kind of themes are you seeking most in submissions to this market? In general, what themes interest you?
Our scope is wide. Think big. We avoid fanfic, slash, or writing heavily derivative of someone else’s work (except when we run parody).
9. Overall, do you prefer downbeat or upbeat endings?
Both are good. Lift or fall, but take me somewhere.
10. Any last advice for submitters to this market? Any critical dos or don’ts?
Polish your work. Correct your spelling and grammar. Format your paragraphs so we don’t confront a wall of text. Keep politics, religion, and topical subjects out. Make your work timeless. Don’t disappoint the reader and we’ll get along just fine.