Thinking about writing a short story? Wonder where you can get it published?
I've only published about five or six short fiction stories, so I'm no expert. Many people write a short story, then go looking for someplace to sell it. But that's not the best way. You can try it. But you'll likely end up with a whole lot of rejections.
Every magazine is different. They publish different types of stories in different lengths that target different types of readers. So where one magazine will publish fantasy stories at 2000 words long that have to be medieval, another magazine might publish all genres of speculative fiction but want stories that are 1000 words in length. So the same story usually can't fit multiple publications. At least not "as is."
I recommend doing some research and finding a handful of magazines that you'd like to try writing for. Then submit again and again until you get in. You can find magazines in various places.
-Go to your local bookstore or grocery store and peruse the magazine shelves for magazines you'd like to write for. Buy a copy or two of each magazine.
-Go to your library and see what magazines they have on the shelf. Check out at least two issues of the ones you're interested in.
-You can also find sample copies of magazines on the freebie tables at writer's conferences. Grab a few.
-You can find magazine markets listed in books like the Writer's Market, Children's Writer's and Illustrators Market, or Sally Stuart's Christian Writer's Market Guide. Once you find entries that look like they'll work for you, look up the magazines' websites and find their writer's guidelines. Request sample copies--purchase if necessary.
-Google "short story markets" and see what you find. There are a lot of online magazines out there right now--many of which pay. Be sure and have an adult look over the site before you submit to make sure the company is legit.
|Samples in my magazine drawer|
Once you have some sample copies, study them. Keep track of what types of stories each magazine publishes. Then go online and find the writer's guidelines. Some magazines even have lists of themes for the year and specifically look for stories that fit those themes, so if you ask for writer's guidelines, ask about themes, as well.
It's much easier to write for a magazine you've held, read, and studied. You'll know the types of stories the magazine is looking for because you'll have read them.
Then you need to brainstorm stories for each magazine that will be a good fit. And sometimes you'll know that the story could work for several different magazines with some editing. Then, depending on the writer's guidelines, query about the story you want to write, or write the story and submit it with a cover letter.
And don't give up! Stephen King was rejected over 100 times before he published his first short story. And it was years after that when he published his first novel. When I started, I decided to expect at least 50 rejections. That way, when my first rejection came, I was excited, thinking, "Only 49 more!" There was no guarantee that I'd be published before 50 rejections, but having that positive attitude helped me look at rejections as one step closer rather than a door slammed in my face.
Anyone ever submit a short story to a magazine? Anyone want to? Any questions?