Which magazines publish short stories
How to get your short stories published in journals and magazines
The idea of posting a short story can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Having a system and incorporating it into your writing routine will help distill the fear. An organized system will also help position you as a professional in the eyes of an editor, which is key to publishing, no matter how exemplary your work is.
If you are in doubt whether this is the right time for you to start this process, it pays to say "Are you ready to publish?" You can also test your knowledge of publishing with the Publishing Quiz. If journals and magazines are not near you and you want to publish a novel, see "How to Find an Agent."
01 Complete and proofreading multiple storiesEven if you're not in control of an editor's likes or preferences, this self-editing checklist can help ensure that your work is spelling and grammar free. You can also edit your stories in a class or writing group, all of which are available online. You should also have more than one piece ready to submit to a magazine or magazine just in case an editor asks to see more of your work.
02 Research the market
A little research goes a long way and will incrementally make your efforts publicly more successful. Start by researching the entire publication market to see which journals and journals are open to your work. Once you've narrowed down the market, you'll find the submission guidelines for the journals you selected.
03 Format your short stories correctlyEditors expect certain information to be part of every short story submitted. For example, editors want to know in advance if your story is the right length for their diary, so it is common to put the word count at the top of the first page. You also want to make sure your contact information is included in case your cover letter is lost.
04 Write a cover letterYour cover letter doesn't have to be long, and most editors prefer short cover letters because they get ground up on time. That said, you need to add a brief biography listing all the publications that have accepted your work. If you haven't been released yet, don't worry, you have to start somewhere and if you stick to it someone will eventually give you a chance. To streamline the filing process, keep a generic cover letter on your computer, preferably your desktop, and customize the heading and salutation for each journal you access. For more information on how to write a professional cover letter, see Cover Letter.
A spreadsheet is an easy way to keep track of submissions (see an example on the left), although some people go old school and use index cards. Whichever process you choose, you need to be able to see every submitted story at a glance to avoid facing a magazine more than twice a year or sending the same story twice. This will also help you keep track of simultaneous submissions. When you receive this letter of acceptance, it will be easy to contact the other magazines that want to publish your story as well.
06 Observe the simultaneous submission guidelinesEvery journal has a guideline for simultaneous submission (i.e. whether they prefer exclusivity or not). If a story you submitted at the same time is accepted somewhere, write the others to withdraw your submission. If you haven't heard from a magazine in a year, it's acceptable to contact them again to either inquire about the status of your work or to withdraw your submission. Otherwise, do not email or call editors.
07 Keep the rejection in perspectiveThe best writers out there have a pile of rejection letters, so keep sending stories, especially after a rejection. It's easier to fend off rejections when you have multiple samples of your work out there and still have the opportunity to be accepted in the wings. On the other hand, if you've been around for a while and find yourself bitter about what is affecting your writing, take a break and just focus on writing for a while.
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