Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Submitting Short Stories - A Few Tips

I’ve been sending short stories out for a while now to various genre fiction markets, mostly SciFi and Horror and thought I would share a couple of tips I’ve picked up along the way.

  1. Short story editors are more likely to give feedback on why they reject a story than Agents are for longer fiction. Some magazines in particular will try to comment on everything they reject. Always remember, it is just their opinion, but if you find them repeatedly saying the same thing then perhaps it is time to take the story out of circulation and revise it.
  2. Stories can be rejected for lots of reasons, not necessarily the writing at all. Each magazine has it’s own particular style and niche and if your story doesn’t fit with that they won’t take it, even if it’s the best story in the world. So don’t be disheartened, keep sending them out, but do your research.
  3. Keep and eye out for new magazine markets – if you get in early you could well stand a better chance of selling them something, before they begin to get swamped with accepted material. And if that magazine then goes on to carve out a niche for itself and become well known then you’ve a decent little publishing credit under your belt.
  4. If an editor asks you to send them something else then do it – they don’t say that unless they mean it. They clearly like your writing style even if that particular story wasn’t a good fit for them.
  5. Once you sell something to someone then keep submitting to them. If they’ve published you once there’s a good chance they’ll take something of yours again.
  6. Here is a useful link from Strange Horizons that lists stories and plots that editors see all the time and are best avoided.
  7. And here is another useful article from the Arkham Tales website on the secret art of wooing editors.
  8. And finally, good luck.

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