First off, congratulations – you wrote a short story! Now, use these eight tips to help get it published.
BY DANIELLE RAMAEKERS
1. Let Your Characters Speak for Themselves
Ok, this one is a little more about the writing process. Still, a good story is essential for publication, and characters are your stories. So get out of the way and let your characters roll. Allowing your characters the freedom to be themselves gives your story punch, and punch is publishable in every genre.
2. Explore the World of Publication
Spend time perusing magazines at your local bookshop, searching online databases like Duotrope, or talking to other writers about upcoming competitions. By getting a feel for the world of publication, you’ll know where your stylistic lingo and powerful protagonists fit. Submitting stories is like choosing which shoes to travel in. Knowing which ones fit best makes the first step a lot easier.
3. Read Submission Guidelines
Typefaces, word count and margins – they all matter. Fine-tuning your piece to fit submission guidelines develops your professional skills and increases your chance of being published.
4. Keep Your Pitch Letter Short and Sweet
Editors are busy. A simple template with your name, address, story name and word count, plus where you heard about their publication, is enough to introduce yourself and your work.
5. Stay Open to Feedback
Give yourself room to learn and grow by staying open to any feedback on your writing. Ask other people to read your stories (preferably other writers, because family always love what you write). Listen to their feedback. If an editor takes the time to give you feedback, it means your story has merit. With a few adjustments, you can resend it into the world with a more substantial chance of being published. Winning.
6. Try Different Publications
The road to publication requires practice, patience, and a hefty dose of perseverance. Submitting stories in different styles and genres to various publications expands your writing skills and increases your chances of publication. Plus, it allows you to explore niche opportunities, pushes you outside your comfort zone, and helps you navigate the learning curve ahead.
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- Glenn McGoldrick – Published Short Story Writer
7. Then Again, Write for Specific Publications
If you come across a publication with a genre, style, or feel that you love, write for it! Starting a story with a publication already in mind increases your chances of getting published. You’ll naturally tailor your piece to fit in, like choosing track shoes for a hiking trip, even if you’re not sure where the trail leads.
8. Have Fun!
If it gets too much and your spirits are low, or self-comparison sneaks in, or your inner critic pipes up, take a break and remind yourself why you started writing in the first place. You’re doing something you love. Sure, it’s hard work, but somewhere in there, it’s also (hopefully) fun. Getting published can be a challenge, yet it’s part of the writer’s (hero) journey. So enjoy it!
Use these eight tips in whatever way you like. They’ll come together in various ways to help you get your short stories published.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Danielle Ramaekers is an avid writer with notebooks of collected ideas and feedback. A professional yoga instructor, she blogs about yoga, travel and life on www.daniramaekers.co.nz. When Danielle isn’t writing you’ll find her teaching upbeat Vinyasa Flow yoga classes, planning her next travel destination, or chilling at the beach with her nose in a good book.