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how to write short stories and get them published

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how to write short stories and get them published


how to write short stories and get them published


Where to Submit Short Stories: 30 Options for Writers

by Farrah Daniel | Apr 14, 2022

short story submissions

Trying to find a sense of community comes with the territory of being a writer. Whether you’re looking for the right writing contests or residencies , it’s hard to know where to begin and how to find the right home for your personal work. 

But here’s the good news: You can finally stop stressing about where and how to submit your short stories — we compiled a list for you. 

In this guide, you’ll find 30+ magazines and literary journals that publish short fiction (and nonfiction). Our list includes a mix of publications across various genres and styles, ranging from prestigious, highly competitive options to those specifically seeking new and emerging voices.

Plus, international writers, a lot of these are open to you, too! 

Need a Story Structure Template?

30 outlets that publish short stories.

While we’ll give you a brief idea of the flavor of each magazine and site, you’ll definitely want to spend some time reading your target publications before submitting to become familiar with the sort of pieces they prefer. 

Many of these submissions accept original submissions that are simultaneously submitted elsewhere. Just make sure to withdraw your submitted submissions if you get your story published!

Ready to get started? Here’s where to submit short stories:

1. The New Yorker

Might as well start with a bang, right? Adding publication in The New Yorker to your portfolio puts you in a whole new league, though it won’t be easy. Author David. B. Comfort calculated the odds of acceptance at 0.0000416 percent !

It accepts both standard short fiction as well as humorous short fiction for the “Shouts & Murmurs” section. No word counts are mentioned, though a quick scan of the column shows most pieces are 600 to 1,000 words.

Deadline: Open.

Payment: Huge bragging rights; pay for unsolicited submissions isn’t specified. As of this post’s publication, no rates specifically for short stories.

2. The Atlantic

Another highly respected magazine, The Atlantic publishes both big names and emerging writers in fiction and nonfiction. Submission guidelines advise, “A general familiarity with what we have published in the past is the best guide to what we’re looking for.”

Deadline:  Open. Fiction stories are submitted to [email protected] .

Payment: Unsolicited submissions are generally unpaid.

3. The Threepenny Review

This quarterly arts magazine focuses on literature, arts and society, memoir and essay. Short stories should be no more than 4,000 words, while submissions to the “Table Talk” section (pithy, irreverent and humorous musings on culture, art, politics and life) should be 1,000 words or less.

Deadline: January to June

Payment: $400 for short stories; $200 for Table Talk pieces

4. One Story

One Story is just what the name says: a literary magazine that publishes one great short story every three to four weeks , and nothing more.

Its main criteria for a great short story ? One “that leaves readers feeling satisfied and [is] strong enough to stand alone.” Stories can be any style or subject but should be between 3,000 and 8,000 words.

Deadline: January 15 – May 31 | September 3 – November 14

Payment: $500 plus 25 contributor copies

Check out this helpful video from our friends at Self-Publishing School.

5. The Antioch Review

The Antioch Review is currently on hiatus and not accepting submissions for future issues. Check back in the future.

The Antioch Review rarely publishes more than three short stories per issue, but its editors are open to new as well as established writers. Authors published here often wind up in Best American anthologies and as the recipients of Pushcart prizes.

To make the cut, editors say, “It is the story that counts, a story worthy of the serious attention of the intelligent reader, a story that is compelling, written with distinction.” Word count is flexible, but pieces tend to be under 5,000.

Deadline: Open except for the period of June 1 to August 31, and no electronic submissions.

Payment: $20 per printed page plus two contributor copies

how to write short stories and get them published

Thought-provoking is the name of the game if you want to get published in AGNI. Its editors look for pieces that hold a mirror up to the world around us and engage in a larger, ongoing cultural conversation about nature, mankind, the society we live in and more.

There are no word limits, but shorter is generally better; “The longer a piece is, the better it needs to be to justify taking up so much space in the magazine,” note the submission guidelines.

Deadline: Open September 1 to May 31

Payment: $10 per printed page (up to a max of $150) plus a year’s subscription, two contributor’s copies and four gift copies

7. Barrelhouse

Published by an independent nonprofit literary organization, Barrelhouse’s biannual print journal and online issue seek to “bridge the gap between serious art and pop culture.” Its editors look for quality writing that’s also edgy and funny — as they say, they “want to be your weird Internet friend.”

There’s no hard word count, but try to keep your submission under 8,000 words.

Deadline: Currently open for book reviews only. Check the webpage to see all open categories and sign up for the email list to receive updates on submissions. 

Payment: $50 to print and online contributors; print contributors also receive two contributor copies.

8. Cincinnati Review

The Cincinnati Review publishes work by writers of all genres and at all points of their careers. Its editors want “work that has energy,” that is “rich in language and plot structure” and “that’s not just ecstatic, but that makes its reader feel ecstatic, too.”

Fiction and nonfiction submissions should be no more than 40 double-spaced pages.

Deadline: The review accepts submissions during three time periods, September, December, and May. Submit earlier in the month because they will stop accepting submissions when their cap is reached.

Payment: $25 per page for prose in journal

9. The First Line

This cool quarterly is all about jumpstarting that pesky writer’s block . Each issue contains short fiction stories (300-5,000 words) that each begin with the same pre-assigned first line. 

If you really want to get ambitious, you can also write a four-part story that uses each of that year’s first lines (which is due by the next year’s spring issue deadline). To find each issue’s assigned first line, check out the submission guidelines.

Deadline: February 1 (spring); May 1 (summer); August 1 (fall); November 1 (winter)

Payment: $25 to $50 (fiction); $25 (nonfiction) plus a contributor’s copy

10. The Georgia Review

Another one high on the prestige list, The Georgia Review features a wide variety of essays, fiction, book reviews, and more across a wide range of topics. You can read specific requirements for each in the submission guidelines, but the common theme among them all is quality, quality, quality.

Bear in mind submitting requires a $3 processing fee if you’re not a subscriber.

Deadline: Opens on August 15

Payment: $50 per printed page; contributors also receive a one-year subscription to the quarterly and a 50% discount on additional copies of that issue

11. Boulevard Magazine

Boulevard Magazine is always on the lookout for “less experienced or unpublished writers with exceptional promise.” It accepts prose pieces (fiction and nonfiction) up to 8,000 words (note: no science fiction, erotica, westerns, horror, romance or children’s stories).

There is an online submission fee of $3. Free if submitting by post.

Deadline: Open November 1 to May 1

Payment: $100 to $300

Story Magazine is, you guessed it, all about the story, whatever shape it takes. Each issue — printed tri-annually in February, June, and November — is “devoted to the complex and diverse world of narrative with a focus on fiction and nonfiction.” Luckily, you don’t have to stick to any formal guidelines in regards to style, content, or even length; they consider all “short” narrative length work, from flash fiction to novellas. There is a $3 submission fee.

Deadline: Open

Payment: Regular payment rate is $10 per page upon publication

13. Vestal Review

Prefer to keep your short stories extremely short ? Vestal Review publishes flash fiction of no more than 500 words. Its editors are open to all genres except for syrupy romance, hard science fiction and children’s stories, and they have a special fondness for humor. R-rated content is OK, but stay away from anything too racy, gory or obscene.

There is a submission fee of $2 for each submission. 

Deadline: Submission periods are February to May and August to November

Payment: The author of an accepted print submission gets $25 and a print copy; $10 for accepted web submissions.

14. Flash Fiction Online

Flash Fiction Online allows for slightly longer flash stories — between 500 and 1,000 words. Its editors like sci-fi and fantasy but are open to all genres (except for nonfiction and poetry!). As with Vestal, stay away from the heavier stuff like erotica and violence. What they’re looking for is developed, empathetic characters and discernible, resolved plots. Unlike many of the other publications, they will accept previously published work, which you’d submit in the reprint category.  

Deadline: Open each month for submissions from the 1st to the 21st of the month.

Payment: $80 per story; two cents per word for reprints

15. Black Warrior Review

Black Warrior Review publishes a mix of work by up-and-coming writers and nationally known names. Fiction pieces of up to 7,000 words should be innovative, challenging, and unique; its editors value “absurdity, hybridity, the magical [and] the stark.”

BWR also accepts flash fiction under 1,000 words and nonfiction pieces (up to 7,000 words) that complicate western traditions of truth-telling, and “foregrounds the history of emotions rather than the history of facts.” There is a $3 submission fee.

Deadline: Submission periods are December 1 to March 1 and June 1 to September 1

Payment: A one-year subscription to BWR and a nominal lump-sum fee (amount not disclosed in its guidelines)

16. The Sun Magazine

The Sun Magazine offers some of the biggest payments we’ve seen, and while its guidelines specifically mention personal writing and provocative political/cultural pieces, they also say editors are “open to just about anything.”

Works should run no more than 7,000 words. Submit something the editors love, and you could get a nice payday.

Payment: $300 to $2,000

17. Virginia Quarterly (VQR)

A diverse publication that features both award-winning and emerging writers, VQR accepts short fiction (3,500 to 8,000 words) but is not a fan of genre work like romance, sci-fi and fantasy. It also takes nonfiction (3,500 to 9,000 words) like travel essays that examine the world around us.

Deadline: Submissions read July 1 to July 31

Payment: Generally $1,000 and above for short fiction and prose (approximately 25 cents per word) with higher rates for investigative reporting; $100 to $200 for content published online.

18. Ploughshares

Ploughshares’ award-winning literary journal is published by Boston’s Emerson College. They accept fiction and nonfiction under 7,500 words and require a $3 service fee if you submit online (it’s free to submit by mail, though they prefer digital submissions). You can also submit your significantly longer work (7,500 to 20,000 words) to the Ploughshares Solos series !

Deadline: June 1 to January 15 at noon EST

Payment: $45 per printed page (for a minimum of $90 per title and a maximum of $450 per author); plus two contributor copies of the issue and a one-year subscription

19. Carve Magazine

Writers are in for a treat! Carve Magazine accepts poetry, short stories and nonfiction submissions, not exceeding 10,000 words. They accept literary fiction only and are not open to genre fiction (i.e. thriller, horror, romance, etc.). They also accept novel excerpts but only those that can stand alone in the story. There’s a $3 submission fee, but you can subscribe to the magazine to skirt past it.

Deadline: Open all-year-round from anywhere in the world.

Payment: Pays $100 and offers feedback on 5 to 10% of declined submissions.

20. Daily Science Fiction

Sci-fi and fantasy writers, this one’s for you. Daily Science Fiction is looking for character-driven fiction, and the shorter, the better. While their word count range is 100 to 1,500 words, they might consider flash series — AKA three or more flash tales built around a common theme. 

Deadline: Open except for the period between December 24 to January 2

Payment: Eight cents per word, with the possibility of additional pay for reprints in themed Daily Science Fiction anthologies

This literary journal publishes fiction stories with up to 300 words and flash fiction of no longer than 1.500 words, and it’s open to any genre as long as the story is well-crafted. To up your chances of catching the editors’ eyes, note that they like “strong characters whose motivations are not always known to us but can be explained within the confines of common sense,” as well as surprise endings (nothing gimmicky). 

Payment: No pay specified

22. Smokelong Quarterly

SmokeLong, a literary mag devoted to flash fiction, publishes flash narratives up to 1000 words — and that’s a firm word limit, so be sure to stick to it. The SLQ aesthetic remains “an ever-changing, ever-elusive set of principles,” but it most likely has to do with these kinds of things: language that surprises and excites, narratives that strive toward something other than a final punch line or twist, and more which you can see in the submission guidelines. Think you can handle that?

Payment: $50 per story upon publication in the quarterly issue

23. Literary Orphans

Fiction comes first for this short fiction and art magazine. Editors want your fiction of any genre, but they have a need for micro-fiction, flash, and short stories that are 2,000 words or less (but 1,500 is their sweet spot!). Creative nonfiction is also accepted for the bi-monthly Literary Orphans issue on the main website; just keep your story to 5,000 words max. Plus, teens under 19, there’s a category for you, too. Submit a story of no more than 3,000 words to its “TEEN SPIRIT” section

Because they receive a high volume of submissions, editors ask that you submit your *best* piece. But here’s where it gets interesting: If you can’t choose just one, send both! (As long as both stories combined don’t surpass 2,000 words.)

Deadline: Currently no open calls for submission, but check back in the future!

Payment: Not specified

24. The Master’s Review

The Master’s Review’s New Voices category is open to any new or emerging author who has not published a work of fiction or narrative nonfiction of novel length — not including authors with short story collections. Submit your flash fiction of 1,000 words or your piece of fiction or narrative nonfiction of up to 7,000 words. Though, editors are honest: There are no submission fees, but they’re highly selective. 

Payment: A flat rate of $100 for flash-length stories; $200 for short fiction

25. Ruminate Magazine

Both emerging and established writers are encouraged to submit fiction or creative nonfiction stories that “engages the contemplative spirit of our journal and embraces curiosity and discovery rather than resolution.” Both genres are capped at a word count of 5,500 words. 

Want another option? There’s no pay for this one (just contributor copies), but The Waking is Ruminate Magazine’s online publication space and they’re looking for short-form prose, fiction and nonfiction that is “holy, nutritious and crucial.” Keep your submissions to 1,000 words or less.

Deadline: July 2, 2020; fiction reading periods are April 1 to June 30; January 15 to June 30 for nonfiction

Payment: $20 per 400 words, plus contributor copies

26. Asimov’s Science Fiction

Have you ever wondered where George R. R. Martin’s Daenerys Targaryen first appeared on the printed page? Well, this is it! An established market for science fiction stories, Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine has won numerous Hugo and Nebula Awards, and the writers they’ve published have led successful careers . 

They want you to submit your character-oriented, “serious, thoughtful, yet accessible fiction,” but there’s room for humor as well. While science fiction dominates what the magazine publishes, you’re welcome to submit borderline fantasy, slipstream and surreal fiction — steer clear of sword and sorcery, explicit sex or violence. While there’s no specific word count, ASF seldom buys stories shorter than 1,000 words or longer than 20,000 words. 

Payment: 8 to 10 cents per word for short stories up to 7,500 words; 8 cents per word for each word over 7,500

27. Slice Magazine

Got a fresh voice and a compelling story to share? This one’s for you. To bridge the gap between emerging and established authors, SLICE offers a space where both are published side-by-side. In each issue, a specific cultural theme becomes the catalyst for articles, interviews, stories and poetry from renowned writers and lesser-known voices alike. Short fiction and nonfiction submissions should be 5,000 words max.

Deadline: Slice published their final issue in the fall of 2021 and are no longer looking for submissions.

Payment: $400 for stories and essays; $150 for flash fiction pieces; $100 for poems

28. Cricket Media

Cricket Media wants to publish your finest quality writing for children of all ages in one of its four literary magazines — you have options! Open to submissions from writers of every level of experience, CM’s mags are interested in a lot of things, no matter what genre: realistic contemporary fiction, historical fiction, science fiction and fantasy, folk tales, myths and legends, humor, and even westerns. Their advice? Focus on telling a good story that’s well-plotted, character-driven and has a satisfying conclusion.

Most stories are 1200 to 1800 words in length; however, they occasionally serialize longer stories of up to 6,000 words. 

Deadline: Varies; check the guidelines to learn the deadlines for each lit mag 

Payment: Up to 25 cents per word 

29. The Dark Sire

Horror writers, you’re up! A fairly new literary journal, The Dark Sire is a quarterly online and print journal that “explores speculative fiction works for enthusiasts” of gothic, horror, fantasy and psychological realism in short fiction, poetry and art. ​Subjects of particular interest include: vampires, monsters, old castles, dragons, magic, mental illness, hell, disease and decay of society. No word count. 

Payment: None, but they promote writers through author events , social media outreach and the (in development) TDS podcast

30. The Common

Based at Amherst College, The Common is an award-winning print and digital literary journal published biannually in the fall and spring. They seek fiction and nonfiction stories and dispatches (800-word notes, news and impressions from around the world) that “embody a strong sense of place: pieces in which the setting is crucial to character, narrative, mood and language.” Stick to a 10,000 word-count and you’re solid. There is a $3 submission fee.

Deadline: Reading periods are March 1 to June 1 and September 1 to December 1; subscribers can submit for free year-round

Payment: $100 for fiction and nonfiction submissions; $50 per dispatch

30. Kindle Vella

Rather than seeking a magazine or journals editorial approval, you can publish directly to Kindle Vella’s short story program. Here, your work will go directly to market and its success will be determined by the general public, not by an editorial team. You also don’t have to wait months on a response as to whether your short story will be published. You can upload and be published on Kindle Vella in under 48 hours. For a full review of Kindle Vella, read this article .

Deadline: None

Payment: Royalties on KDP reads.

Short Story Submission Tips

With hard work and patience you can see your short stories published!

Here are a few tips to keep in mind :

  • Take time to read through the literary magazines before you submit . You will have a better idea of what they are looking and know which magazines fit best with your writing style.
  • Read the submission details before you submit . Each publication has different specifications for submissions – make sure you fulfill their requirements.
  • Be patient . Many of these publications have a small team and a lot of submissions. It is normal to wait several months before hearing whether an article will be published or not.
  • Keep track of which articles you have submitted to which publications . Because can submit the same short story to multiple publications, you will need to withdraw that article if it gets published. You don’t want to accidentally publish the same piece in multiple places.
  • Don’t give u p!. While you might receive multiple rejections before you get your first piece published, with hard work it will be worth the wait once you get your first piece in print!

The original version of this story was written by Kelly Gurnett . We updated the post so it’s more useful for our readers.

Photo via Nito/ Shutterstock  

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Last updated on May 30, 2023

How to Publish a Short Story: 3 Ways to Reach New Readers

Once you've gotten the hang of writing short stories, the next stage is to get them in front of readers — preferably ones who will appreciate your writing. In this post, we'll walk you through the most popular ways of getting a short story out into the world.

Three ways to publish a short story:

1. Submit them to literary magazines

2. take part in writing contests, 3. self-publish a short story anthology.

Literary magazines are the traditional home of short stories, where many writers first get their works showcased to an audience beyond their family and friends. Magazine publication is a tried and true method for getting eyes on your work and gaining followers (plus earning a small chunk of money along the way). 

MGfFVtisN78 Video Thumb

There are hundreds of magazines out there, ranging from the prestigious to the niche, so no matter what you’re writing, there will be a place for it. Luckily, it’s easy to submit a story, and you can break down the process into three simple steps. 

Seek out suitable magazines

If you’re not an avid reader of literary magazines and already writing with a certain publication in mind, a great place to start is a place like Reedsy’s literary magazine directory. This handy resource does the hard work for you, listing hundreds upon hundreds of magazines. You can filter by the genre you’re writing in, whether they require a submission fee, the format they publish in, and much more. 

As you discover new magazines, consider where your story fits best. Some factors to consider include:

🎭  Genre and topic . If you've written a historical romance, don't include a sci-fi publication in your submission list.

📝  Short story length and style. Some magazines look for flash fiction (under 1,000 words); some ask for 5,000 words per piece. Most lie somewhere in between. Publications sometimes also ask for specific writing styles, like epistolary, or set themes for the stories.

✅   Author requirements. Most magazines and competitions are open to international submissions from anyone at least 18 years old, but some might have other conditions.

🔄   Simultaneous submissions. Do you want to submit to several places at once? Not every magazine will accept this, and contests definitely don't.

📚   Multiple submissions. If you have more than one story on hand, you may want to submit a few at a time, although not every magazine will accept that either.

Make sure to double-check each magazine’s submission guidelines. This is usually located on the submissions page of their website and outlines any specific restrictions or wants the magazine may have, like the preferred font and spacing for your manuscript. 

Be aware that some magazines will have specific submission windows or reading periods when they are open to receiving new stories. Sometimes, you’ll need to wait a little bit until their window opens again to submit your work to the perfect magazine. 

Even once you’ve selected your targets, the work isn’t done yet — you’ll need to prepare your supporting material for your submission.

Make an impression with your cover letter

a writer flying in a cover letter that has become a paper airplane

Most magazines these days will have a digital submissions form, which usually includes a field for your cover letter.

To start, quickly introduce the story you’re submitting and its word count. You can talk about what inspired the story or give its basic premise here, but keep it short — a sentence or less is ideal. Then, move on to introducing yourself.

Essentially, this is your author bio , and the place for you to show off any credentials you have (or experience that ties into your submission). This could include other magazines you’ve been published in, any books you’ve written and published, any awards or accolades you’ve received, or anything else that showcases your writerly abilities.

Don’t worry if you don’t have any publishing credits to your name, though. Literary magazines are more than willing to take a chance on unknown authors and have long been the place where writers launch their careers. 

To make your cover letter more personal, you should directly address the editors in your greeting and mention any recent stories from the magazine you’ve enjoyed. This shows you’ve done your research and have a good sense of what will fit in the publication — aka, your own story! 

Your cover letter could look something like this:

Dear [Editor’s First and Last Name],

Please consider [Story Title], a [word count] [Genre] short story, for publication in your magazine. I am an emerging writer; if this story gets accepted, it will be my first published work.

This story is being submitted to several publications, and I will let you know if I hear back from other places.

I am finishing my MA in Creative Writing at [University Name]. When I’m not writing, I usually work on my webcomic, experiment with watercolor painting, or go on hikes in the countryside with my partner.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

[Your Name]

Once you send your story out for consideration, there's still one small step left.

Track your progress

If you’re sending your short story out to multiple magazines through different methods and platforms, it can be easy to lose track of where you’re at. Finding a way to keep this information organized will keep your stress levels low and keep you on top of your submissions. 

how to write short stories and get them published

You can set this up in a document or make notes by hand, but to save you time we have a handy little submissions tracker spreadsheet filled out and ready to go. Download it here!


Story Submissions Tracker

Stay organized on your journey to find the right home for your short stories.

It's a good way to see where your stories are, how long you want to keep waiting for a response, and where you can go next if your attempt was unsuccessful. Keep in mind that usually editors and judges take 8-12 weeks to get back to you, but this does vary from publication to publication, and their submission guidelines page may give more specific information.

If you don’t have a story ready to go or need some inspiration to get started, a writing contest might be up your alley. 

Someone getting ready to write

Contests might also offer added bonuses, like getting a blurb or introduction from a judge or getting a review by a literary agency, among other things. It can be a great place to gain some recognition since your success in a contest really is measured by your writing, not who you know or previous publication. All the judges care about is that you have a good story and tell it well. There are many writing contests out there — all you have to do is find them.

Search for contests

There are just as many writing contests out there as literary magazines and they provide a great opportunity for beginning writers to build practice and credibility. And get published, of course! Along with a cash prize, winning a contest often means you’ll be published in an organization’s own magazine or website, or in an anthology alongside other winners or shortlisted stories.

Some contests that publish anthologies are the Desperate Literature Short Fiction Prize , the BBC National Short Story Award , and the Bath Short Story Award . 

Publishers , writer’s guilds, and other literary organizations often host contests, so if there are any in your area, see if they have a contest you can enter. Otherwise, Google is your best friend. But always be on the lookout for any scams. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. 

💡Want to know how to spot publishing scams? Check out this guide for tips on how to avoid publishing scams .

If you want to avoid scams and take some of the research time out of your browsing, Reedsy’s writing contests directory has over 500 verified, up-to-date contests you can enter. 

Try out prompts-based contests

Instead of a traditional writing contest, why not try a prompts-based contest? Take inspiration from a prompt rather than racking your brain for an idea. The challenge of fitting a story to a specific topic while still remaining unique among dozens of other entries is a great writing exercise. And posting it on a community forum will give your writing exposure, perhaps gaining new fans who want to see more of your work. 

If that interests you, Reedsy has its own Prompts contest you can enter. You can choose from one of five prompts every week and create a story based on them. It’s just five dollars to enter, and if you win, there’s a chance you could be published in Prompted , Reedsy’s very own literary magazine. 

In many ways, self-publishing has completely changed the landscape of traditional publishing, and that applies even to the realm of short stories. If you’d rather not wait for your work to be accepted by a literary magazine or win a writing contest, you can take the power into your own hands by self-publishing an anthology of your short stories instead. To ensure that you have a satisfying and cohesive book that readers can discover and fall in love with, check out these three tips. 

Note: The information below isn’t an exhaustive how-to list, but some important points to remember. If you’d like more detailed information about self-publishing, check out our in-depth guide here !

Pick an overarching theme for your anthology

A person sits on a book and writes in a notebook

One of the biggest pros of publishing your own anthology is you aren’t limited by the requirements of an outside organization, whether that pertains to topic or word count. The world is your oyster, and you can stretch your imagination's limits. However, the best anthologies aren’t simply a collection of an author’s work, but in some way, form a cohesive whole. 

The easiest way to do this is by giving your anthology a central theme. Your stories could explore an idea from different angles or all be set in the same place. This connection doesn’t need to be obvious. In fact, it can be relatively loose, so long as when you put everything together, no story feels like the odd one out.

For example, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw explores the stories of Black women and girls whose lives are caught in a bind between the wants of the church and their own desires. While every story has this overarching theme, Philyaw discusses wide-ranging ideas from sexuality to generational trauma in each tale, and no two stories are exactly alike. 

If you need some inspiration, check out published short story anthologies to see how other authors have done it. Or you could hire a developmental editor to look over your collection and help you streamline it.  

With the content down, you still have to consider how your collection physically looks. 

Make sure your book looks professional 

When you’re self-publishing, you need to consider much more than just the writing of your book. Another important job is ensuring that your book is properly formatted . It will make your anthology look more professional and overall make for a better reading experience.

Even if you have no design knowledge, there are plenty of free easy-to-use tools that can help. We might be biased, but we recommend the Reedsy Book Editor. It’s a free book formatting app that is full of useful features. You can insert page breaks, style your paragraph and chapter titles, create a table of contents, and much more. Once you’ve finished working on the interior, you can export ebooks or print files that you can then import to your printing service of choice.  

how to write short stories and get them published


The Reedsy Book Editor

Format your manuscript for print or EPUB with a single click.

To make your book look even more professional, consider hiring a book cover designer to create a stunning cover and establish a visual brand that you can replicate for future anthologies. While the old adage advises us not to, readers really do judge a book by its cover, so having something that looks good and stands out will help you draw people in just as much as the rest of your marketing materials.

Now your book is ready to go. But as you prepare to officially launch it, consider what you can do to market it.

Start building your author platform

As an independent author, getting the word out about your book is incredibly important. You are your own marketing team, and there are many things you can do to support your book, from sending out ARCs to setting up Amazon ads. One thing you should definitely be focusing on is building a following; it creates longevity and a dedicated reader base who can help you promote your book in the future.

Capturing your readers onto your newsletter or on social media will allow you to nurture your readership and stay connected with them. It’ll also be helpful in the future as you now have a ready audience to whom you can market any future anthologies (or even novels if you decide to go long-form later).  

You can do this by having a link to your socials and mailing list at the end of your book — and maybe entice readers further by offering a free bonus story when they sign up!

For a more in-depth look at how to create an author platform and market your book, download a free copy of Reedsy’s How to Market a Book , written by our co-founder Ricardo Fayet. 

Whatever path you choose, publishing a short story is a great way to gain new readers and establish yourself in the literary world. There’s a place somewhere out there for your writing, so take a chance and find your audience today.√

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The Write Practice

Short Story Submissions: 10 Easy Steps to Go From Writing to Published

by Sarah Gribble | 0 comments

How do you submit a short story for publication? It's a lot to think about and I've seen more than one writer throw in the towel and say they're happy to just be writing. To make it easier, there are ten steps you can take to tackle short story submissions.

short story submissions

It may seem overwhelming, but once you know what you're doing, getting short stories published isn't as scary as it seems.

In this article, you'll learn the ten steps needed to submit a short story for submission and hopefully get it published.

The 10 Steps to Submit Your Short Story for Publication

If you're looking for a quick guide, here are the ten steps to follow in order to submit your short story for publication. Click each step to jump to more details.

Read on for a detailed explanation of how to master each step of the process and get your short story published.

Writing to Getting Published: The Full Journey to Short Story Publication

I focus on fiction in this article, but the vast majority of this information applies to creative nonfiction writers and other nonfiction submissions like critical essays or book reviews. If you already have a story on hand to submit, jump down to learn exactly where and how to get it published.

But if you don't have a short story ready to publish, or if you want to write a new story specifically for publication, we've written a series of articles on how to write your best short story and maximize your chances of getting it published.

Here's the full process from idea to publication, with links to our articles about each step:

5 Places to Publish Short Stories

The first step in publishing your short story is deciding where to publish. There are quite a few options to choose from when you're ready to publish your short story:

1. Anthologies

Anthologies are a collection of short stories by different authors, and most will take an unsolicited submission. (An unsolicited submission means they did not approach you; you are pitching to them.) They're often themed and either pay per word or a flat token payment. Some pay royalties, but this is rare.

When you publish in an anthology, you sell your publication rights to them for a specified period. (Note: This DOES NOT mean you sell copyright. Copyright is ALWAYS yours from the moment you pen the story. Never sell copyright to anyone.)

What this means is you are not allowed to republish the story anywhere else until the agreed-upon time runs out. Then all rights revert back to you and you may publish the story elsewhere as a reprint.

2. Literary magazines/literary fiction journals/online fiction journals

Literary magazines are publications that focus on creative writing. They aren't just for literary fiction. There are plenty of genre literary magazines out there!

Lit mags can be printed or exist solely online (e-zines). They're normally published at least quarterly, but some are only yearly and some are published monthly.

Unfortunately, a lot of literary magazines aren't able to pay their contributors, or they pay in token payments (a one-time flat-rate, sometimes with additional copies of the magazine), or contributor copies, rather than paying royalties.

As with anthologies, you sell your publication rights to the magazine or online fiction journal for a specified period.

Check out our list of literary magazines to start your lit mag search. I recommend buying an upcoming issue if you can afford it to see exactly what they like and print.

3. Podcasts

Everyone loves a good podcast, and there are plenty out there that buy short stories. These podcasts are pretty cool. They take your story and produce it with sound effects and voice actors. Think old-time radio show.

4. Self-publication

Thanks to the internet, everyone is able to publish their own work. Amazon and Draft2Digital make it fairly easy to self-publish on all online retailers, as well as libraries. You can even make your story available in print through these companies.

The benefit here is you get royalties each time you sell a copy. The downside is you're less likely to sell a ton of copies.

5. Your website

If you don't have an author website, you should strongly consider setting one up ( here's how ). You can share your releases there, build up an email list, and show up in a Google search. Sites are also a cool way to introduce your work to your readers with free stories.

How do you find places to publish your short story?

You can search for open calls for submissions for podcasts, literary magazines, and anthologies on sites like Duotrope , The Grinder , and Horror Tree . We also keep a list of our favorite literary magazines .

Make sure to follow writing groups on Facebook as well for more chances to submit.

How to Choose Where to Publish Your Short Story

Now that you know your options, how do you choose?

The answer depends on your goals for the story.

Do you want to share it with a select group of people? Are you wanting to build your email list or social following? Go with your website.

If you're wanting to move toward building a wider readership, you're going to want to go bigger. You'll want to look into anthologies, literary magazines, and podcasts. International submissions are great, too, if they're in the language your story is in.

If money is your main motivator, I'm going to tell you right now you'd better forget about that.

Most short story publications have little to no money to pay contributors. Some offer no monetary payment at all. It's up to you if you are okay with taking no monetary payment or a token payment.

Again, think of what you're goal is.

Either way, you're not going to get rich publishing short stories. Even the publications that pay professional rates only normally pay up to eight cents a word. I've never seen more than ten cents a word offered.

And that's fine! Why?  Because the point of publication is to build readership.

Fortunately, there are many reputable publications out there, but there are also unreputable ones.

Watch out for publications that charge a reading fee or submission fee. This warning doesn't apply to writing contests, where it often makes sense to charge a small fee in order to raise funds for prize money.

And I'm not saying all publications that charge a nominal reading fee are evil, I just don't agree with them taking advantage of short story writers who desperately want to be published.

Also beware of publications that don't offer payment specifics. They might promise “professional rates” but it's a bit weird to  not  detail out what they consider to be a professional rate. Do some extra research in this situation to make sure they're a reputable publication.

How to Submit a Short Story for Publication: The Complete 10-Step Process

Once you've gotten your story polished to the shiniest it can be, you're ready to submit. But how do you go about doing it? What is the professional etiquette for submitting? What should you prepare before you email an editor?

Here are the steps to submitting a short story to a publication:

1. Read the guidelines

Ninety-nine percent of publications have guidelines posted on their websites. (These might be listed as submission requirements or writer guidelines rather than submission guidelines.)

If you're having trouble finding them look harder. There will be a link to submission guidelines somewhere, it just might not be in the header menu bar. Check the bottom of the page if it's not in the header menu.

If you've been following this blog series, you most likely already read the writer guidelines when you chose your publication, but read them again.

Guidelines are extremely important and you need to follow them. There are publications out there that will reject your story without reading it if you don't follow the rules.

If that sounds petty, it may be, but as someone who's edited anthologies before, I can tell you it's a huge pain if the author didn't follow instructions. And the last thing you want is to annoy the editor.

Remember, they get a huge volume of submissions from writers (I'm talking hundreds of submissions) every time they're open for a submission period. They don't have time to deal with an author who can't follow instructions.

Plus, it's rude, unprofessional, and shows a lack of enthusiasm for the publication to ignore the rules.

I repeat: Read the guidelines and follow them.

2. Pay attention to deadlines

Deadlines are there for a reason. They'll be listed on the publication's website and you need to abide by them. Don't think you can sneak in a day late with an excuse. If you miss the deadline, you'll have to wait until the publication opens for another reading period or submit it elsewhere.

Pro tip: Write deadlines down on a calendar or use an app to keep track. You should keep track of these like you would a word deadline.

3. Format your manuscript properly

An improperly formatted manuscript is another annoyance for editors. Some publications will have specific formatting guidelines they want you to follow (again, check the submissions guidelines), but most will simply want your story in standard manuscript format (Shunn) .

Shunn is the gold standard for formatting. Go to that link and read the entire document thoroughly! Here's a final checklist to make sure you have everything you need.

Some things to pay special attention to:

It makes it a lot easier if you format your stories in Shunn format as you write them so you don't have to tweak later.

4. Prepare a bio

You should always have an updated, short author bio ready to go. Bios are written in third person and are often required to be under one hundred words. (You may want to prepare two: one under fifty words and one under one hundred.)

If you have published stories in other publications, you can list them. Choose your three most recent or your three most prestigious. Don't list everything you've ever published, though.

If you don't have publications, don't worry! Just leave that part out.

Here's an example:

Sarah Gribble is the best-selling author of dozens of  short stories  that explore uncomfortable situations, basic fears, and the general awe and fascination of the unknown. She’s currently cooking up more ways to freak you out and working on a novel. Follow her  @sarahstypos on Twitter, @sarahgribblewriter on IG, or join her email list for free scares at .

5. Prepare an elevator pitch

An elevator pitch is pretty much what it sounds like: a one- to two-sentence summary of your story (what you could get out in the time it takes to ride an elevator). You’ll also hear it called a premise , a summary, or a  logline .

IMPORTANT: Not every publication will want this. In fact, most don’t. If they don’t specifically say they want a premise, short summary, elevator pitch, etc. in the guidelines, do not send them one.

I do recommend you prepare one at this stage, though. It’ll be easier later on when you’ve forgotten the exact point of your story and you need to have one. It’s also less stressful to have one prepared before submittal.

6. Write a cover letter

A cover letter is different from a query letter and is not nearly as daunting as it might seem. A cover letter is really just a few sentences introducing yourself and your story.

You don’t need to fill a page with several paragraphs. In fact, don’t do that! Editors don’t want to spend more time reading your cover letter than they do reading your story, and they don’t need to know what made you want to write or how many pets you have.

Here’s what you need in a cover letter:

Dear Editor, Please consider my 1,800-word short story, “Story Title,” for publication in Random Magazine. My writing has appeared in a variety of online and print publications, including  Random Anthology I, Unusual Anthology Vol. II,  and  Titled Magazine . Thank you for your time and consideration. Sincerely, Your Name

That’s it! See, not so bad.

The days of mailing a paper submission to literary journals and short story magazines are over. Most publications use electronic submissions now. The majority will take email submissions.

Some use other electronic submission systems, like a submission form on their site, an online portal, or a submission platform like Moksha, Hey Publisher, Duotrope, or Submittable. You’ll find where and how to submit your story in the publication’s submission guidelines.

Tip: It might be worth signing up for a submission platform like Duotrope. Some of them charge a membership fee, often because they have access to better calls for submission, but those fees are normally tiny.

If you're writing and submitting a ton of short stories and getting published frequently, it might make monetary sense to sign up.

Pay special attention to the submission guidelines. (I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but I can’t stress this enough.)

Paste your cover letter in the body of your email. Most likely, unless your story is a piece of flash or you’re submitting poems, you will attach your story to the email. This is the standard way to submit, but make sure that’s how your chosen publication wants it.

Make sure you take note of what kind of file the publication wants. Some are okay with a simple DOCX format, but some want an RTF. You can change how the file is saved in the SAVE AS menu.

Make sure your story is attached before sending the email! (Seems ridiculous, but I’ve sent emails without attachments several times.)

If the publication requires a “blind read,” make sure you don’t have any identifying information on the document.

Make sure you have the correct email subject line typed. (Guidelines, again.) If you don’t, it might get lost in a spam filter. If there are no specific guidelines regarding the email subject, go with: SUBMISSION — Your Story Title — Your Last Name.

Proofread your email!

After you’ve done all that, take a deep breath. It’s time.

8. Submit again

Hooray, you have a piece under consideration! But you're not going to sit on your laurels.

Check to see if your chosen publication allows simultaneous submissions. If they do, that means you can submit your story to other publications while you're waiting for a decision. [FYI: Multiple submissions allowed means the publication will take more than one story from you at once.]

I highly recommend submitting to as many publications as you can. The acceptance rate for anthologies and magazines is quite low, so you're increasing your odds of being published if you get that story out there to as many editors as possible!

9. Record your submission

You need to keep track of where you've submitted, when you submitted, when you expect to hear back, and what the response was.

There are online options for this, such as The Grinder , but you can use anything that makes you feel comfortable and that you'll keep accurate. A spreadsheet or notebook would be fine. I double up on my tracking and use a site as well as my own spreadsheet.

You'll most likely be waiting a while before you hear anything from the publication. This isn't a quick process and it's often agonizing to wait for an answer, especially if you're new to the whole submission process.

Most publications will have their expected response time listed in their guidelines, but they're often late. Be patient. Their editorial team is sifting through hundreds of submissions.

Sometimes, if you submitted through an online portal, you can check the submission portal for an update on your piece.

Whatever you do, DO NOT email them to ask for an update (unless their guidelines say you may after a certain time). It's unprofessional to do so and won't earn you any points in the editor's eyes. All that does is clog up their inbox, and we all hate that.

How to Publish Your Short Story…and Actually Reach Readers

What's the point of publishing? To get your work read, of course!

Here's the thing: Publishing alone won't get you readers. You have to share your work!

No matter where you publish, it's your responsibility to promote your work. Editors won't do it. Big publishing houses won't do it (or won't do most of it).

You have to do it.  You have to share your work with the world. 

Once you've published, share your work on social media, on your website, in your newsletters. Talk about it around the water cooler and at family functions. Never shut up about your work!

That's how you get readers. You promote yourself, your publications, and your writing. (And it never hurts to help a fellow writer out by promoting their work as well!)

Publish, Publish, Publish!

Getting short stories published is a pretty simple process once you know what you're doing. (Way simpler than writing!) Getting your writing out there with short story publication is the best way to keep your work on your readers' minds.

If you get a few rejections along the way, don't give up! We all get them. It's part of the writing process.

And so is publishing.

So get your latest story polished and submit that baby to some publications! It's an amazing feeling to see your story in print!

Have you submitted a short story to a publication before?  Let me know in the comments !

Imagine a writer has submitted a short story to a prestigious literary magazine and has just received a rejection. The rejection was a personal note from the editor (which is rare!), explaining why the piece was turned down.

Write the post-rejection scene. Start out with what the editor said in the rejection email. Write for fifteen minutes .

Share your writing here in the practice box below so we can all check it out. Don’t forget to read and comment on your fellow writers’ work!

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Sarah Gribble

Sarah Gribble is the author of dozens of short stories that explore uncomfortable situations, basic fears, and the general awe and fascination of the unknown. She just released Surviving Death , her first novel, and is currently working on her next book.

Follow her on Instagram or join her email list for free scares.

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Home / Book Publishing / How to Publish a Short Story (and 101+ Places to Do So)

How to Publish a Short Story (and 101+ Places to Do So)

Not all authors write full-form novels or books. Some love the freedom and flexibility a short story can provide. But for all you short story writers out there, do you know how to publish a short story ?

In this article, you will learn:

Table of contents

And since some of you writers may be on a deadline, let's get to it and not waste anymore time!

The Benefits of Having Your Short Stories Published

Writing a great short story can be just as impressive as creating a full-length book. Let's look at some of the benefits.

Writing a short story for a reputable publication can do wonders for your author brand . It's a great way to get some exposure in front of new readers and industry professionals. Also, you'll become eligible to receive nominations for various short story awards which can definitely bolster your career.

If you're in a writing career track, nothing speaks louder than having previously published work. Published short stories can make it easier for you to get a book deal down the road.

Think of your short stories as test runs for different character and setting profiles. If there's an idea you're toying with, and you aren't sure whether it's worth a full book or not, try it out in short story form. If you like how it goes, turn it into a book. Ernest Hemingway himself claimed that all of his novels started out as short stories.

One of the most important assets an author can have is a dedicated email list. Short stories can be used as great lead magnets — freebies that incentivize people to join your email list.

How to Publish a Short Story (Guidelines)

When submitting short stories for publication, there are a number of things you need to keep in mind.

I know this seems like cop-out advice, but this is the absolute number one rule you must follow when submitting your story. It'd be a crying shame if your story was tossed in the can without a second look all because of failing to meet submission requirements. Do a quick Google search and find the guidelines for the specific publication you're pitching to. Follow those to the letter and you'll have already given yourself a leg up on much of the competition.

Honestly, the best approach for your cover letter is to keep it short and sweet. And don't forget to add a touch of professional courtesy. Personally address the letter to the editor who will read your submission. If you're unsure, use a greeting such as “Dear Editors of Such and Such publication,” instead of a flat “Dear Editors.” And whatever you do, avoid the dreaded “To Whom this May Concern”.  Take the time to do your homework, and you'll have a better chance at success.

There are many publications that only allow for exclusivity when it comes to submissions. This means you can't submit your story to anyone else once you've sent it to them — until they've had a chance to review it. This kind of stinks. Sometimes, it takes months for a publication to give you a simple yes or no. And it can be particularly difficult if the answer returns no. So, how do you avoid this? Submit different stories to different publications and rotate that schedule. Or submit to a publication that will allow you to apply at different publications simultaneously.

Stick with something straightforward and easy to read. Your story is responsible for making things interesting — not your fonts, spacing, or decorative headers and footers. A standard .doc or .docx is often accepted by most publications as well.

This might be the most overlooked part of learning how to publish a short story. Many times you'll get so caught up in verifying submission guidelines you'll completely miss a full edit. There's only so much a spell checker can do.

If you are going to use software to edit yourself, use a premium platform such as ProWritingAid . ProWritingAid can find 10x as many errors as MS Word! Sloppy work can prevent even a good short story from ever being published.

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See the Publisher Rocket effect, when you use the right keywords and categories to help get your book seen more on Amazon.

Top 7 Places to Submit Your Short Story

Now that you know how to publish a short story, you should start looking for the best places to do so. Here's six of our favorite.

No list on short story publications would be complete without The New Yorker . It's the holy grail for short story writers. And while it's next to impossible to get published here, doing so will catapult your writing career into heights once firmly believed unobtainable. Most stories published in The New Yorke r are short fiction that run between 600-1000 words. And you can submit an entry at anytime. They haven't specified any sort of real pay rate if you do get published, but come on… Getting published here brings more than enough accolades to make up for that.

This is another very well-respected publication you should strive for as a short story writer. They specifically advise that you review their previously published stories to get an idea of what they're looking for. Like The New Yorker ,  The Atlantic has an open deadline for unsolicited submissions which means you can submit anytime your story has reached its peak perfection. They do not pay for unsolicited submissions, but the opportunities that come from being published here often make up for it.

If you're looking for another top-notch publication with slightly less competition, The Georgia Review may be just what you need. They also accept a much wider range of genres and styles than the previous two. That said, be prepared to give your best to The Georgia Review . If you're not a subscriber to their publication, they do require a $3 processing fee. They also have specified deadlines, so be sure to look out for those. And unlike the others above, The Georgia Review will pay you $50 per printed page.

This publication claims that it's always on the lookout for beginning writers with the promise of exceptional talent. Essentially, they're the talent scouts of the short story world. They accept both nonfiction and fiction writings within 8000 words. However, they do not accept horror, sci-fi, erotica, westerns, romance, or children's stories . Their deadline ranges between October 1 and May 1. And they pay between $100-300 per piece.

As a sci-fi geek, I have to have this on my list of favorites. This online publication is open year round for aspiring Sci-Fi writers (with the exception of December 24- January 2). And they accept word counts starting at 100 up to 1500. So, these are truly short stories. They do pay on a per word basis at 8 cents, with the possibility of additional pay in reprint anthologies. And it doesn't cost anything to submit . So, if you've got a stellar character-driven Sci-Fi tale, this might be the place for you.

Is your writing a bit wacky? You may think there's no place for you and your stories BUT… there's a home for you a well. It's Drabblecast! Drabblecast is an online publication meant for writers just like you. While they focus mainly on Sci-Fi, Horror, and Fantasy, all genres are accepted here — as long as it's a bit unique. One great thing about Drabblecast is you can actually make some decent money by getting published. For original fiction, they paid 6 cents a word with a cap of $300. However, Drabblecast is very clear when it comes to their submission guidelines. You can have simultaneous submissions, but you cannot have multiple submissions (unless specifically asked).

Are you a speculative fiction writer? Is Science Fiction and Fantasy your thing? If so, you should definitely check out Writers of the Future. Writers of the Future is a online workshop/contest for new writers. As a matter of fact, if you've published a novel, novelette, or more than three short stories, you're not eligible to enter the contest. It really is a contest for beginning writers. And if you complete the writing workshop , you'll already have a submission ready to go.

But here's the best part…the validation you receive from winning the contest. That's because the contest judges are giants in the genre. Current judges include Orson Scott Card, Kevin J. Anderson, and Brandon Sanderson. And some of the contest's previous judges include legends such as Frank Herbert, Dr. Jerry Pournelle, and Roger Zelazny.

These 6 aren't the only platforms available. In fact, there are tons of publishers out there! Just remember one thing:

Submit your stories to the appropriate outlet.

There's no sense in sending your spooky thriller to a publication that specializes in wholesome love stories. Again, this can send your manuscript straight to the bin.

This being said… Here are lists of of over 100 other publications you can consider submitting your short story too.

Just because you submit a short story does not mean it's going to be published. As a matter of fact, it's more likely not to be. That's a cold, hard reality that all short story writers will have to face. Just take it with a grain of salt, and go forth improving and applying. And look on the bright side, all the rejection only makes getting published that much sweeter.

When it comes to publishing a short story, it all boils down to two things–apart from the actual story.

Attention to detail and patience.

By thoroughly examining and adhering to a publication's guidelines, you'll give yourself a distinct advantage over the many writers who don't. But that alone doesn't guarantee success. Just remember, if you don't accepted the first time, there's no harm in trying again. Don't give up and your patience and determination will be rewarded.

Dave Chesson

When I’m not sipping tea with princesses or lightsaber dueling with little Jedi, I’m a book marketing nut. Having consulted multiple publishing companies and NYT best-selling authors, I created Kindlepreneur to help authors sell more books. I’ve even been called “The Kindlepreneur” by Amazon publicly, and I’m here to help you with your author journey.

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2 thoughts on “ How to Publish a Short Story (and 101+ Places to Do So) ”

Hi Dave, I am grateful for your concise and helpful advice on how to publish a short story. Thanks!!

Awesome and glad you liked it!

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