With the ease in which authors can self publish now, I’m finding that many actually don’t know how to do it the traditional way. And by traditional I don’t necessarily mean sending your epic novel to Penguin Random House, getting a five figure advance and winning the Man Booker Prize. (Can’t be just me who has those dreams?) No, the simplest way to be traditionally published is to send a short story out to a literary magazine, whether online or printed, and be accepted. And it is a lot more likely.
I previously did a post on ten places to submit your writing, which many of you found helpful. The problem with any sort of list like that, though, is it eventually becomes outdated. But if you know how to find these places for yourself you can be more sure that your information is correct.
What’s the advantage of this compared to publishing your short stories on your blog?
Well, first of all, you might get paid. Yes, some magazines do actually pay authors for their work. Amounts vary, but we’ll take anything right? Secondly, if ever you do decide to submit that epic novel, you’ll be taken a lot more seriously if you have some publishing credits to list.
So, having (hopefully) convinced you to send out your short stories, how do you know where to send them?
My top tip is to sign up for Submittable. You will need to do this anyway as a large number of publications only accept submissions through their portal system. But while you’re at it, sign up for their monthly newsletter. Each one includes opportunities for writers and information on publishers seeking submissions. You can also find such information on their website.
Authors Publish magazine is also an excellent place to go. As the name suggests, they are dedicated to helping authors share their work. They too have a newsletter you can sign up for to get regular notices in your inbox of which publisher is looking for what type of writing. It also includes a helpful articles written by fellow authors on some aspect of writing. (Look out for the one in issue number 246. Just saying.)
Finally, a simple search engine enquiry can throw up some very interesting opportunities. Try to be as specific as possible though. Trust me, if you search ‘short story submissions’ you are going to come up with an awful lot of results to wade through. Which isn’t necessarily bad, but including extra information that’s important to you can really help narrow it down. So trying something like ‘short story submissions, UK’ or ‘short story submissions, free’ or ‘sci fi short story submissions’ can really help.
As always, I hope you’ve found this article useful. If you have any tried and tested ways that you use to find places to submit to, do add them in via the comments.