Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Yet Another Way to Get Published

Dave here.

Let’s face it. Even if you love writing, clacking out an 80 to 100 thousand word novel will suck up at least six months of time that you could probably spend doing something else. If you are a committed writer, you definitely feel the crunch between finishing the manuscript and living up to your daily obligations.

I’m not trying to discourage anyone from chiseling out a full length masterpiece, but the door to publication has several paths. One of them is short stories. And drafting these quick and sweet nuggets can be oh so forgiving to your schedule.

Whereas the short story market is rarely lucrative, one must understand that in ANY profession, you have to pay dues. Doctors must complete an internship with little or no pay; why should writers get off the hook?

A friend of mine, Betsy Dornbusch, who edits for the online magazine Electric Spec, said she was contacted through the website by a pretty well-known literary agency, looking for recommendations. I’ll state that again. An agent was actually querying a magazine to find an author rather than the other way around. Bet that got your attention. It probably helped that Electric Spec published a piece by Stuart Neville, who very shortly thereafter, got a book deal for The Ghost of Belfast which is getting all kinds of rave reviews.

Lest we forget, Stephen King wrote tons of short stories for magazines. Joe Hill, who has a striking resemblance to King, heh heh, focused on shorts as well before writing Heart Shaped Box.

Writing short stories, novella’s as well, was a shot in the arm for me. I felt like I could produce. Some were accepted for publication and some weren’t. Most importantly, I think it sped up my learning curve. I look forward to seeing your short titles soon.

Cheers

8 comments:

Maureen said...

I have a ton of short stories that I haven't been able to get an agent for. Quite frankly, I'm not sure how to write a good query letter for short stories. Do you just mail off one of your stories, or just write a letter saying you have some? So basically, I've done nothing with them and focus instead on my manuscripts.

S. J. Reisner || Audrey Brice || S. Connolly said...

@Maureen, the general rule is to look into magazines you want to submit to and then send them your submission based on their submission guidelines. You won't need an agent or anything like that.

I've actually had a few short stories published in various magazines over the years. Just recently my publisher compiled some of them into a short story collection that we're using to promote my fantasy novels. So they are a useful way to advertise your novels, too.

Chiseled in Rock said...

Maureen, I agree with S.J. One of the wonderful things about short stories is that they really don't require an agent. I probably should have mentioned that. There are lots of online publishers that LOVE short stories, too.

Dave

Maureen Mullis said...

Wow, thanks for the input. You've given me something new to go for. I have a couple of dozen short stories just waiting to be read. I'm excited! Thanks.

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

Maureen, no query required.

Here's a basic cover letter for a short story:

Dear Editors,

Please consider "Story" for X Magazine. It runs XX words.

Thanks for your time.


That's it. Most of us editors could even care less whether you've got credits or not, though you can include then if you like...

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

Maureen, no query required.

Here's a basic cover letter for a short story:

Dear Editors,

Please consider "Story" for X Magazine. It runs XX words.

Thanks for your time.


That's it. Most of us editors could even care less whether you've got credits or not, though you can include then if you like...

N. R. Williams said...

Good advice. I used to think that I couldn't do short stories, but I have finished several now.

Nancy
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Kay Richardson said...

Does this count as a short story?