On Writing : What are my options for publishing a short story? by Christopher Dyer

Christopher Dyer

What are my options for publishing a short story?

I’ve been working on a short story for a couple of years now. After having it read by a friend who’s a published author, I tweaked it a lot more. Afterwards, I had a professional editor read through it—which was amazing as he marked it all up and I actually had a blast going back correcting and rewriting. I’ve probably written and rewritten the story roughly 20 times, if not more. I’m finally at the point that I think it’s done, as good as it’s going to get. Eventually, I’m sure I’ll adapt to a screenplay and turn it into a movie, but for now I’d like to know what I can actually do with this. Where does one publish a 15,000 word short story? What are my options? How do I go about this? Any advice is much appreciated.

Aray Brown

Do you have a publishing company already interested?

Christopher Dyer

Hey Aray, don't know anyone at any publishing companies, so none of them even know I exist. Don't actually know how to go about submitting, I know it's not generally a wise idea to offer unsolicited manuscripts. Hey John, thanks for the tips of looking in the back of certain publications. That is definitely one route to investigate! And, I couldn't agree with you more—no free copies (unless accompanied by a check). ;)

A Alex

Christopher, depending on what sort of story it is, you can seek ezines or other online publications, or printed outlets to publish it. As JP said, be careful with rights. In my experience, reputable online publications clearly state when the rights revert to you so you shouldn't have a problem with that. The problem you may have is with the length. Your options narrow as you'll need to find a publication that accepts serials (they'll offer it in parts).

Aray Brown

I sincerely suggest you invest in a book called The Writers Market or go to your local library and pick up a copy. It has the resources you need from literary agents, publishing companies to submitting to magazines, trade journals, consumer magazines and short story contests.

Carl Plumer

Christopher, check out Duotrope. I used it all the time with great success when I was writing short stories: https://duotrope.com/ You can track submissions and even use email templates. Here's another link of interest: http://letswriteashortstory.com/literary-magazines/

Jody Ellis

Christopher a lot of writers get published in university quarterlies/journals. That's how my boyfriend started out. There are also quite a few short story contests worth entering. He won the Poets and Writers short story contest a few years ago, we got an all expense paid trip to NYC and he made a ton of contacts, which is one of the reasons his short story collection will be published by Arizona Press this fall. Good luck to you Edited to add- it is rare for journals to pay much, if anything. But the exposure you can get by being published in a prestigious literary journal is priceless and often opens doors.

Mark W. McIntire

Christopher, consider turning the short story into a film short. Writers here in the Northwest are finding fruit from that approach. FilmLab and the Willamette. Writers work together on such endeavors under the guidance of Randall Jahnson.

Sidney Williams

Duotrope is a great website, though it's a payment required site these days. Tons on anthology and publication listings

Daisy White

Lots of publishers are looking for short stories for anthologies in a whole range of genres. I sent one out a couple of months ago and it is published middle of April. Pay isn't normally great but some do give a small advance up front. 'Writing' magazine has loads of 'casting calls' every month.

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