So, you’re a freelance writer with some niche articles in mind? You write short stories, but aren’t brave enough to submit them? Haven’t had any luck with being accepted? Here’s 15 great tips to get your short literature published.
Shift the way you think about your writing. You create a product, produce the product, pitch the product, sale the product, and gain from the product. You are the business and your writing is your product – fiction or nonfiction.
Writing something that is important or fun to you is great, but it also has to be wanted, requested or needed. You can’t always write 100% of what you want and be successful. Allow yourself to write slightly more for things that publishers, the media, or the masses want. Think more 50/50 or even 70/30.
- Build relationships online
Use all of your social media platforms to build healthy online relationships. Learn which publishers you are most interested in, what they have previously published, what they currently want and who their current editors are. Read some of their published work and search for the writers of the pieces you most enjoy. Follow them and through interaction, maybe you can learn tips and tricks on how their piece got published. (Use LinkedIn and blogs too.)
- Build relationships offline
This includes those involved directly in the industry and your ideal publishers, but also those who are contributors or people, places and things that provide information for writing. Example: You want to write for an outdoor magazine, but specifically in the hiking segment inside the magazine. Try out some equipment, gear or apparel from a company you like or admire – get the first-hand user experience. If you can interview the product designer and build that relationship, then you can translate it into your work. Tip: small companies are a great opportunity for this.
A literary agent for a short story is a waste of your time and theirs. If you already have one, you will only need them for their industry connections. They will make a miniscule amount of money off the sale of your short stories and they’re a middle man for you to deal with in submitting a short piece of work.
Simultaneous submissions and multiple submissions. Nearly every publisher in the industry will list whether they accept either of these. To break in quicker, these can be your friends. You can submit more stories to one publisher at a time and you can submit the same story to more than one publisher at the same time. Saves you time and energy, so submit to publisher accepting these first.
Don’t stop writing after one article or story. Write another one while you shop your first, and while you’re writing that one, plan another. Build a good submission foundation and practice your writing. You want a “cycle” of stories in different stages.
Obvious? Yes, but it begs repeating. Edit 3 – 5 times before asking anyone to proof your work. Then, edit once more before submitting.
- Submitting: Top Down or Stagger
Two beneficial submission strategies:
Top Down: Submit to top-tier publishers first. Start with pro-paying, then semi-pro, then token. Pro is usually 6¢ a word and up, semi-pro can range from 3¢ to 5¢ and token is usually under 3¢. Don’t publish for free unless the publisher has a history of providing help to a writer’s career and don’t pay someone to publish your story.
Stagger: You have a few stories or articles ready to submit. Send one to a pro-paying publisher, one to semi-pro, one to token, etc. Always have at least one in the pro market with another elsewhere.
Don’t avoid writing contests and competitions, even if there is a small fee. Most of those with a cash prize have built in publicity and an opportunity to get your name out there. Many publishers host writing contests on top of their publications.
Figure out how niche or broad the publishers audience is, then dial in your topic accordingly (Ex: specific type of gardening, safest dog grooming methods, etc.).
Don’t ever leave out a cover letter and only query the publisher if they request it first. Seems obvious. Also, if you pitch your article, keep it short and to the point. For good cover letter formatting, check out shun.net. William Shunn also provides short story format recommendations.
Pitch and query the correct editor. Some publishers have multiple editors based on the topic, genre or subject. The publishers website should list them in the masthead or about section.
This slightly contradicts #7, but stop being a perfectionist. It takes too much time away from your life and other writing. Also, most articles and stories you read are not perfect. No need to edit 25 times (but still 3-5 times!)
Become a regular or semi-regular reader of two or three of the publication you most respect. This teaches you the publishers style and what they want, as well as their preferred format. And, you can follow some new writers you enjoy (connections!).
If your article or story is accepted for publication, do the following:
- Thank the editor and/or publication on social media.
- Update your bio with the credential
- Keep an eye on feedback that comes from your piece (comments section, direct messages about the publication, hashtags, etc.
- Share the heck out of your published piece.
Remember, build connections. That means free promotion to the publication for paying you for your work.
TC Michael was born and raised in small town USA where he grew up with a large family. He’s always been an epic daydreamer with a wild imagination. He currently lives in northern Utah where he’s working on his next great novel and enjoying life. When he’s not writing, he’s in the gym, reading, or enjoying the outdoors. TC has wanted to be an author his whole life, but never thought it would happen. Now, he is working hard on making his dream come true.
Skip the online researching, confusing lists and piles of books. This guide increases your chances of being accepted and gaining a contract instead of the dreaded rejection.
Short Literature Pro Market 2019 is the best resource you’ll find to get your short stories, articles and freelance literature published. This completely new guide offers over 170 listings of professional paying publishers. Each listing includes the type of publisher, contact information, submission guidelines, pay rate, and other essential information and tips. The information inside contains EVERYTHING needed to submit your work properly and accurately.
Short Literature Pro Market leaves out all of the unnecessary filler material. This allows for a clean, organized search without extra confusion and clutter. It simplifies your submission process so you can get directly to the point.
Short Literature Pro Market also includes: •Genre categories such as science fiction, fantasy, horror, romance, crime, thriller, children’s, historic, nonfiction, literary fiction, travel, outdoors, and more. •U.S. publishers as well as English-speaking publishers outside the U.S. •Which rights the publisher requests. •A brief history of the short story. •Which publishers require a proposal letter, query letter, cover letter or none. •Which publishers also accept flash fiction, articles, poetry, pictures, reviews or long form literature. •Only publishers who offer the best pay rate in the industry.