My Writers Circle

Writing => All the Write Questions => Topic started by: nomadog on June 26, 2009, 10:11:41 AM

Title: Your short story publishing experience
Post by: nomadog on June 26, 2009, 10:11:41 AM

I have been looking to publish a couple of my short stories. Unfortunately, I keep meeting with "not accepting now, try again in the fall."
I am new to this; is it common to see so many publishers with a closed door?

Also, I am wondering if any of you have any general advice on publishing short stories or have found any particular resources helpful.

Thanks for any help.

Title: Re: Your short story publishing experience
Post by: Hugh on June 26, 2009, 11:36:07 AM
Hello, Heidi. Welcome.

Iím answering as someone who has had mostly articles published in magazines and newspapers, and just a couple of short stories, but the principles are the same.

I donít know anything about American markets, but would imagine there are far more magazines over there than there are here in the UK. The problem with short stories is that every woman (and her sister) wants to write them, so that editors of the big nationals are inundated with hundreds of unsolicited scripts. And when the magazine only wants one or two stories per issue, and the editor has accepted enough for the next six months, she will shut the door and say, ďNo more submissions until ÖĒ

But itís not all doom and gloom. For every hundred scripts submitted, probably at least ninety-five will be rejected without being read, for various reasons ó wrong length, wrong kind of subject matter, not presented in the correct manuscript form, or simply badly written and full of typos.

If you make sure youíve got those things right, youíll be in the top five percent, and at least your story will be read. But I wonder where you are setting your sights. A beginner has more chance of getting published by aiming at the smaller markets, like small press magazines, to start with. They donít pay much, if at all, so that they donít attract established writers and you are not up against so much competition. But you are getting published, gaining credits, and giving your self-confidence a tremendous boost.

Then, of course, there are lots of short story competitions you could enter, and if you are a winner, your story will be published.

It all boils down to doing your market research, looking for target magazines that use the kind of stories you want to write. Send for their tip sheets, or phone and ask if they are taking submissions. If they are, study the magazine to get a feel for their writing style, the kind of protagonist they favour, whether they use single or double quote marks, the length of the stories, whether they like twist endings, and so on. You need to know all that to be in with a chance. If youíve already written a story, you may have to re-write it to fit the requirements of a particular magazine. There are no short cuts.

Above all, never give up. Keep on writing stories, and keep sending them out. I know someone who had forty stories rejected before her first acceptance. Now, with several hundred stories published, she still gets rejections, but not many.

But first Iíd suggest you post one of your stories in Review My Work and get some feedback on it.

Hope this hasnít put you right off, but is some help.

Title: Re: Your short story publishing experience
Post by: nomadog on June 26, 2009, 12:35:17 PM

Thank you. Yes, some of this I am aware of, particularly regarding attempts at matching the nature of one's work with the publication. Pretty logical, eh?

I understand that short stories are quite popular to write and less popular to read, but, lots of individuals are writing lots of things in every genre, really, so it's like any other creative endeavor: you either make it or you do not, you just gotta keep trying.


Title: Re: Your short story publishing experience
Post by: Max Zvyagintsev on June 26, 2009, 08:16:00 PM
At the moment I'm doing the same thing about posting up work on "Review My Work" thread. It's a short story of mine I'm finishing off and then doing final edits to it before August and submiting it to a Competition.  ;)

I've never published anything or entered any writing contests hehe, may as well make a start  ;D

Great points Hugh! No one said writing was ever easy haha