Short Story Magazine Submissions

Markets for short stories

Getting your Book Published Some new authors think that writing short stories is easier than writing longer stories, since a short story has fewer words. Actually, it can often be much harder to write a short story because you only have that short space in which to make an impact. You have to somehow create memorable characters, situations, and plots in a tiny amount of space. It's a fun challenge!

With ebooks you can sell your short stories one at a time, right alongside longer novels. You can also compile your short stories into books. That is what I've done for most of my own short stories. However, there's a third option to consider. That is selling your short stories to genre magazines. This works great for some genres like science fiction and horror. Other genres might not have as many magazine options to look into.

Here are some keys to consider when submitting your short stories to magazines.

Read their Guidelines
This might sound like common sense, but as someone who runs a literary magazine I can tell you it's surprising how many people submit things which we simply will never run. It's a waste of the submitter's time. It's a waste of our time. Make sure you read their word count, genre, and other guidelines. You want to submit items which are perfect for them to build a good reputation with them. If your work isn't perfect for them, find another option which does match.

First Run
If a magazine requires first run, it means your work cannot have been published ANYWHERE else beforehand. Its very first presentation to the public must be with this magazine. If your work has already been put out to the public somehow, your work is now only eligible for reprints.

Simultaneous Submissions
Most magazines do not allow simultaneous submissions. This means, when you submit to them, you cannot submit it to ANYONE ELSE until that magazine writes back with a yes or no. This is why it's good to have a spreadsheet to track exactly what you have submitted where and what its status is. Which leads us to:

Track Your Submissions
The best way to do this is with a spreadsheet. That way you can easily sort and scan the list to see the exact status of every item you've written. For each item you want to know:
* Title
* Word count
* Content notes (adult content? Violence? Swears? Different magazines have different rules for these things)
* Submitted to
* Submitted on
* Expected response date
* Response date
* Response status
* Payment amount (if accepted)

Be Polite
It might be that your first three submissions are not their style but they adore your forth one. The more patient and understanding you are, the more likely you'll hit that sweet spot with them eventually and become a long-term collaborator.

Let me know if you have any other thoughts!

SciFi Short Story Magazines
Horror Short Story Magazines


Traditional Publishing - main page
Overview of Traditional Publishing
How Copyright Works
Working With A Literary Agent
... My Concerns about Agents
Finding a Publisher
... Writer's Market
Writing a Query Letter
... Query Letter Tips
... Query Letter Issues to Avoid
Getting To a Contract Offer
Negotiating the Contract
Working With the Publisher or Agent
... Publishers and Editing

Submitting to Magazines
Tips for Submitting Short Stories


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