Submitting Short Stories to Magazines?

When you are submitting short stories to magazines, are you sure that your story  best suits that publication?

I can remember years ago having a ‘brilliant’ idea for a story, (I thought so anyway) it came to me in a blinding flash and I hurriedly started writing it, eager to capture my thoughts. There is nothing like inspiration when it strikes and it is so satisfying  as the words pour out of you in a creative stream of consciousness.The story was written fairly quickly and the clever twist in the tale fitted in like a dream. Satisfied that I had done my best, I packaged it off to the magazine and waited.

I didn’t have to wait too long for the rejection letter to reach me, in fact the turnaround was so quick, I wondered whether they had even read it.  I  was quite upset I have to admit because I had been convinced that it was a great idea. 

Rejected and miserable I may have been but I wasn’t going to be deterred, so putting the story to one side, I carried on with my other projects. As time progressed and I eventually summoned up the courage to de-clutter my study, I came across the story again and read it through. Although I still enjoyed it, I realised immediatelythat the magazine had been right to reject it as the story was much too long for that publication. No wonder it made its way back so quickly. No publication is going to make an exception to the rule if the story is over their designated word count. I hadn’t even considered this fact and afterwards, the light of realisation dawned regarding the importance of market research.

In fact that revelation made me realise that creativity alone didn’t cut it and I was going to have to start writing smart if I wanted to achieve my goals of publication.

I mention this because if you are considering submitting short stories to magazines then you need to plan your story first and it will save you a lot of time editing and re-writing later.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  •  Is your story suited to the readers of those magazines?
  • What is the required word count?
  • Does the magazine accept fiction?

 Researching any publication is vital if you want to stand a fighting chance of placing your work and a little time spent pre-planning may just save you from facing the pain of a rejection letter later. So next time you are submitting your short stories to magazines, stop and think, are you sure that you have checked your story, matched the word count and  that you have researched the publication from cover to cover? Even with careful research and the best writing in the world, there are still risks when submitting your short stories to magazines, but that’s part of the fun of becoming a serious writer, never give up if you do get a rejection letter, just treat it as a learning curve and keep trying, you will get there in the end.

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