You have been writing stories for a while now and your family and friends have them to be engaging and worthy of being published. You may feel intimidated and uncertain if that is really true or just a way that your family and close friends give you consolation for all your efforts. You may have already accumulated a small collection of short stories that are waiting to be published. Here are some ways to turn your dream into reality.
- The best way to gain publishing success is to find the right magazine where you can submit your short stories. This will require you to do some extensive research to find out if your short stories will fit the magazine’s style and thrust.
- When you have identified the right magazine, request a magazine writer’s guidelines from the magazine editor. If the magazine has a website you may be able to find the guideline there ready for downloading.
- Read the guideline thoroughly and check the construction of your short stories. They should conform to all the guidelines given. Make sure that you follow all the instructions that will facilitate the acceptance of your stories.
- Take note of the maximum word count required. Generally you may be able to exceed the maximum number by 10 percent but it is always better to follow the magazine’s guidelines. Edit and tighten your story as needed.
- Make sure that your stories are what the magazine needs. Review the stories that have been printed in the magazine and check the tone, story angles and pacing. You should also note if most of the stories have long or short paragraphs; if they are descriptive or narrative in form. You have to clearly ascertain that you writing style conforms to what the magazine is seeking. You can determine what the magazine editor likes to see by the previous stories that the magazine had published.
- Check the mode for which the magazine accepts manuscripts. They may prefer to receive it by email while some prefer to see a hard copy of your manuscript. If it is the latter, make sure that it is typed in the proper format in good quality paper. Ensure that you have the editor’s name right. Include a professional cover letter with your submission and send it by post.
- Magazine editors received numerous manuscript submissions a week. You have to be prepared to wait as it may take several months for them to get in touch with you. Use the waiting time to write more short stories or submit what you have to other publications.
- Consider securing the latest copy of the Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market guide. This is a very good reference book for all aspiring writers. The guide includes listing of literary agents, different publishers, writers’ conferences and contests. It also includes editors’ names and contact information, submission guidelines and writing tips. You can also look at the list of publishing houses and agencies that are willing to buy short stories and represent writers.
Be careful when submitting manuscripts. There are editors who will not touch manuscripts that have been submitted to other publishing houses. Check their submission guidelines to make sure. If your short story had been accepted by another publication be sure to inform the other publishing house and ask that your submission be withdrawn. You have the option to follow up the status of your submission after a year and use the option to withdraw your submission.