Writers who do not have the patience or time to write a novel can opt for short stories. While most writers state that they write for fun, almost all want their work published. Publishing your short story and getting paid is possible if the writer explores the right avenues. In this article, to help writers optimize their chances of getting published and paid, I have listed options for where to market your short stories. Before a writer can submit work to the publisher, he or she has to write a compelling story. I have also included some tips about how to write a short story, develop the characters and include a crucial ingredient.
Where to submit?
Writers have several options to choose from, each with its own requirements and deadlines. I have found that the best options for writers to submit short stories are literary journals, magazines and websites. Getting a short story published in a prominent literary journal not only includes a financial reward, but it exposes the writer’s work to thousands, in some cases millions, of readers. Each publisher accepts certain
genres and story length, so writers should ensure their submission meets the criteria.
The Three Penny Review pays writers $400 for a short story up to 4,000 words. One Story, a literary magazine, publishes one short story of 3,000 to 8,000 words every couple of weeks and pays $500. Fantasy and Science Fiction is a prominent magazine of the genre and pays 7-12 cents per word, up to 25,000 words. That is a possible earnings of $3,000.
Fireside is a short story magazine that pays $0.125 cents, up to 5,000 words. Cricket Media has several publications and offers $0.25 per word. The Sun pays between $300 and $2,000 for fiction and accepts non-fiction. Other publishers include Clarkesworld, Asimov’s
Science Fiction, Apex Magazine and Camera Obscura. Short-story writers who want to aim for the big leagues can submit their work to The New Yorker.
Enter writing contests
Each competition has its rules and deadlines. Some contests ask the writer to submit one short story while others invite writers to submit a short story collection. Writers might need to pay an entry fee for submission but benefit from monetary prizes and published work. Some of the contests are the Writers Weekly 24 Hour Short Story Contest, Tiferet, Hawk Mountain Book Award, Mighty River, Wilda Hearne Flash Fiction and Dorothy and Wedel Nilsen Literary Prize.
Tips on writing a short story
Ensure that you have an interesting opening line. The first sentence should grab the reader’s attention and compel them to find out the details. In my soon-to-be-released romance novel, My Wife and Girlfriend, the first line is, “’I’m sorry, Mrs. Clad, but you’re not able to have children,’ said Dr. Thompson to my wife.” That statement makes the reader curious about how the wife copes with the situation. Does the husband cheat? Do they adopt? Another example is, “The occasion was supposed to be the start of my new life, but Sarah didn’t show up to the altar.” The point of the opening line is to get the reader hooked and make them wanting more.
Develop the characters
The most interesting stories contain a lot of conflicts. One character has to have a goal to work towards while another is preventing them from achieving it. While most stories contain the protagonist as the hero and the antagonist as the villain, writers must ensure they are not kind to their characters. That means the writer should make the protagonist’s life unbearable. The antagonist in my stories makes the
protagonist’s life absolute hell. No character should be only good or only bad. Even villains can be benevolent – some of the time.
The main point about the plot is that it should keep the story moving forward. The reader does not appreciate writers wasting their time, so do not add too much scene description or go off-plot. Readers appreciate a writer who keeps them in suspense but gets to the point without too much fluff. The biggest problem with most short stories, in my opinion, is that they don’t contain a twist. Most stories contain a
plot that climaxes, and the characters find a solution at the end. Adding a twist shocks the reader and keeps them on a cliffhanger for a possible sequel.
Use these pointers and give short story writing a try. It’s a great reprieve from trying to write articles all the time.
- Trashy Short Stories (That Sell!) By Peggy Fielding
- “How do I publish a collection of my short stories?”
- Mainstream? Literary? Genre Short Stories? Huh??
- WRITERS: When The Going Gets Tough, Sell Short Stories! – by Rachel Carrington
Goran Radanovic is an erotic romance and young adult romance writer, who will release his first novel, My Wife and Girlfriend in 2019. He discovered his love for fiction after writing screenplays and short stories. Radanovic is the author of a self-help/memoir book called Shatter Self-Limiting Beliefs.
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