So You've Written a Short Story. Now What?

This is a great time to be a writer. There are so many venues for us to share our work with readers around the world – and get paid for our efforts. Print publications, online publications, and direct-to-eBook publications abound, not to mention the options we have to publish our own work via Amazon KDP or Draft2Digital.

I’ve always held the belief that money should flow in one direction: straight to the writer. And if the money can flow more than once? Even better. That’s why I submit my short fiction to paying publications first. Then, after the rights revert to me (6 to 12 months later), I package my reprints in themed collections and sell them on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and other eBook outlets.

But where do I find those paying publications to begin with? I’m so glad you asked.

My first stop is The (Submission) Grinder, sponsored by Diabolical Plots. This site has it all. You can search publications by genre, accepted word count, and pay rates. I always start at the top, submitting my science fiction and fantasy to pro-paying publications like Asimov’s, Analog, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Clarkesworld, Daily Science Fiction, and Nature. (Keep in mind that most editors do not approve of simultaneous submissions; you’ll need to send your story to one at a time and wait for a response before submitting to the next editor. Also, your work can’t have appeared anywhere else, not even on your blog.)

I also check out Ralan’s Webstravaganza from time to time, as there are often anthology opportunities listed that may not appear on The (Submission) Grinder. Ralan’s also boasts a long list of publishers accepting book-length submissions from agented and un-agented writers.

Once my work is published and the rights have reverted, I like to visit Douglas Smith’s list of international markets. Thanks to this resource, reprints of my stories have been published in Romania, Italy, Estonia, Argentina, Poland, and France, and another one is forthcoming in Germany. Just last month, I signed my contract with a publication in China that boasts 100,000 readers. Talk about getting your work in front of a new audience!

So you’ve written a short story. You’ve polished it up, and now it’s time to share that tale with the world. Start submitting it as soon as possible. With any luck, it’ll be snatched up right away by a paying publication. If not, you might receive some valuable editorial feedback. Tweak your story, and get it back out on the submission circuit ASAP. Don’t trunk it. Don’t give up on it. Believe in your work, and believe in yourself.

I’ve sold every short story I’ve ever written, and somehow I keep making it happen. You can too. Somewhere out there is an editor who will love your work as much as you do. And once your work is published and the rights revert to you, do whatever you want with the reprints. Send them out to the non-English-speaking world. Sell them on Amazon and other retailers. Watch the royalties roll in every month, and have a blast every step of the way.
All Content © 2009 - 2017 Milo James Fowler