Selling Short Stories
--edited by Ian Nathaniel Cohen on 7/15/2013, 12:26 PM--
I don't know if I've "broken in" yet, but I have published some short stories.
I searched through the markets in the big directories, searched the web for years, sent stories to magazines and journals, and sold nothing. Then I started writing fiction and creative non-fiction for free for a club newsletter. Only a small part of what I wrote would work for the club, but it was something. I won modest cash prizes in story writing contests sponsored by a local newspaper. Then I went to the bookstore and bought copies of regional magazines that sometimes printed short fiction like mine, and I made a connection with a magazine editor who liked my stuff. He even paid me for a couple of stories.
I researched publishing houses and after a couple years I was fortunate to find a small traditional publisher with ties to my part of the country. The publisher had not been working in fiction but he took a chance on my first collection of short stories two years ago. I sold some books and I made some friends. My readers said they liked the book and asked for another, and my second collection with the same publisher should be out late this year.
I give about a dozen stories a year to a local community events newspaper and the club newsletter. I'm happy to do this for no pay. The editors are good to me and it reminds some of my readers that I'm still out here.
There is a lot of good writing that never finds its audience. My advice is to start small, start local, be persistent and be patient. After a very slow start, I think I've seen about 60-70 of my stories in print. It helps to be lucky. I think I am.
I'm working on my first long story now. I have 52,000 words. It won't be done for a year. When I'm ready to release the book, I hope my record of publishing short stories will help sell it.