Not everybody aspires to write the great American novel. In fact, many writers are content to thoughtful and engaging short stories, whether for broad consumption or simply as a means of channeling creative energy into the written word. Writing short stories may not make you a millionaire, but you have the opportunity to gain a loyal readership and perhaps find greater glory in another medium. When you consider that a short story about cowboys by Annie Proulx, published originally in The New Yorker, was adapted into an Oscar-winning film, you’ll find the possibilities of interpreting your story are many. So, too, are opportunities for getting them read.
Thanks to the Internet, writers have greater avenues to explore for their writings. As a short story author, you especially want to take note of market guidelines – what rights are signed over, how you are paid, and in which media your story will be distributed. Here are just a few suggestions for your short piece:
Story Journals and Magazines – Yes, there are still many journals and periodicals on the market that accept short fiction. Granted, some of the better known magazines may require you to have agent representation, but you can consult the annual Writer’s Market guides to find out which journals will look at work and what you need to do to submit.
Anthologies – Keep an eye out, too, for submission calls by publishers putting together multi-author anthologies. These are especially popular in certain genres like science fiction or mystery. While many anthologies are by invitation only, you can search online submission calls for other projects. Editors of these works typically offer authors a flat fee and take one-time rights, but it’s best to check all the particulars before you sign a contract.
Self-Published Singles – Thanks to the likes of Amazon’s KDP platform, authors can offer short stories for the Kindle. You can charge as little as 99 cents for readers to download your stories to eBook devices or laptops.
Short Story Collections – If you find you have enough shorts to comprise a book, you may wish to consider publishing them together as a collection. Research publishers interested in taking on a short story author, or look into alternatives in self-publishing to get your book out to readers.
Story Websites – As with periodicals, there are fiction Websites willing to pay for content. Some may be subscription based, while others make the works available to all visitors. Be sure to study all potential Websites before submitting.
Think Outside the Box! As a writer you are encouraged to be original. Take advantage of new media to promote work. Tweet your story 140 characters at a time on your account, or set up a Facebook page for your stories. You may not make money, but the readers you gain from your publicity may end up buying your works later on.
Short fiction is more in demand than you think. Know where to go to submit your work, and you will discover a rising appreciation for your talents.