ConDFW Report Part II: Publishing Short Stories

This panel, on how to get your short stories published, was very sparsely attended but just chock full of good information.  The panelists were informed and very enthusiastic. 


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  • Hook them quick…make sure the hook of your story is strong and make them want to slow down and read the rest. If they know your name, you’re ahead but even then you got maybe one page to hook them.
  • When you go to a con be prepared.  Be serious to be taken seriously.  Have a business card.  Find out what publishers/editors want.  Put yourself out in front without being annoying.
  • Pick critique forums well…if they are always “nice”, they are not going to be helpful. 
  • Don’t be afraid to start at the top.  Identify who makes the decisions and contact them.
  • Short story market is not good right now…there are a lot of publishers folding.
  • Keep submitting…even if you are known from frequent passes through the “slush pile”, you can be remembered and, if you have some good stuff, may even have an editor rooting for you to succeed.
  • Look at your work dispassionately…don’t be afraid to kill your babies 🙂
  • Sometimes good is good enough…one mistake will be ok!  Submit it…no story is perfect.  Don’t be an “oblivious perfectionist”.
  • You can’t overestimate the power of connections…get out there and make yourself seen.
  • You must produce to get published.  Period.
  • Professional rates…$0.10/word is really good.
  • Do your research…read the magazine, know the market.
  • Turnaround on submissions varies: could be hours (online) to 6-8 weeks or even months depending on venue.  Also varies depending on where they are in their publication cycle.  Check the query time.
  • If an editor says “send us more”…do it!  Editors don’t have time to promote incompetence.  If they said it, they meant it.
  • Ideas are a dime a dozen…it’s the execution that counts.

About Shedrick

I am a professional librarian and a part-time writer that's working to do that the other way around. I currently live in North Texas in the lovely city of Denton (“The Home of Happiness“) with my lovely wife and the obligatory demon-spawn cats. When not writing, gaming, or watching cheezy kung-fu flicks, I can sometimes be found in a pub (or the American equivalent) enjoying a fine brew.
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2 Responses to ConDFW Report Part II: Publishing Short Stories

  1. I’m glad you enjoyed the panel and took away some great information from it. The short story market isn’t easy to deal with, but it is a great feeling when you get that first sale…and those first personal rejections (though, uh, personal acceptances are of course much cooler). Good luck with your writing, and keep persevering! 🙂

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