Getting published, traditionally, these days is a very difficult feat. For every writer out there who has been published in a magazine or offered a book deal, there are numerous others who haven’t. This does not mean it is impossible to get published, but you need to write really, really well, and be incredulously lucky. And for every writer out there who knows what he or she is doing, and have plans for the works they are writing – be it short stories, or novels – there are others who don’t know, who are currently working on their fiction or non-fiction, their short stories and novellas, and just focusing on writing better and better, without actually attempting to get published until they are sure they got it right. And then they get rejected. It’s true – writers who got book deals and got published in literary magazines the first time they sent a query or a story, are very, very rare. Below, we have gathered some tips to help you get closer to getting your short story published, despite the fact that your story will be one among hundreds of other short stories.
1. Write it well
Some literary magazines accept submission within a certain period during the year – a month or two – and you might be tempted to do a rush job in order to finish the story on time in order to submit it. Resist that temptation and wait instead for next year, or choose a different magazine that accepts new submissions throughout the year. This doesn’t mean that once your submission is accepted, the story will not undergo more changes, but some magazines do not have the funds to edit the submissions they publish, so they look for stories which are well written, need minimum editing and are polished to near perfection in order to accept and publish them.
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2. Follow submission guidelines
Nothing gets you rejected faster than not following submission guidelines and formatting requirements. There are two reasons why you must follow submission guidelines and formatting rules and requirements. The first is that you need to show you’ve read both the guidelines and the formatting rules carefully, and second is that if you submit a story that clearly defies the guidelines and rules of the magazine, you appear unprofessional. In that case, chances are your story will not even be read before being rejected, and it might affect future rejections from the same magazine, despite the fact that you might have submitted a masterpiece.
3. On themes and genre
In the submission guidelines, many literary magazines who accept stories from a variety of genres have rules and themes that they simply do not publish. For example, if the magazine’s submission guidelines state that they do not publish paranormal stories where zombies, vampires, and werewolves appear, then do not submit your paranormal romance short story there. You might think that despite your story featuring such creatures and themes, your story is so good that it will blow them away. Keep in mind that there will be a hundred or so other stories that do follow these guidelines, and that your story, again, will probably be skipped over and rejected without anyone reading it.
4. Read back issues
If you wish to make sure that you don’t get rejected at first glance, and that your story might attract attention from the editors of the magazine, read their back issues and research the type of stories they have published in the past. Some of them have monthly or weekly issues that you can peruse for research, and we suggest that you do this constantly, and even subscribe if you can afford it. That way, when you submit the story, you will know that it’s the story they are looking for, and that your chances are better. You can either write a story directly geared towards the magazine, or you can adjust a story you’ve already written to fit, and if you do not wish to put such limits to your creativity and stories, then you can look for a different magazine that might be interested in the stories you’re writing. Keep in mind, though, that you should always be prepared to do some adjusting, even if you believe that the story you have written is exactly the kind of story the magazine will be interested in publishing.
Like we said above, there is a great chance your first submission will be rejected. Really, most authors today have been rejected numerous times before getting published. What you need to do is learn from the rejections. Some rejections might come with elaborations of where you went wrong, and if they do, heed them and work on getting better. Do not get discouraged. Remember, the more you write, the better you will become. Maybe you can work more on the story that got rejected, or you can write a new one. The choice is yours. What we advise strongly against is giving up, and letting yourself be rejected without trying to get better. Work on your craft instead, and every time you submit a story, make sure you know you’ve done your best to make it publishable.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/photo.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Georgina Roy wants to live in a world filled with magic. As an art student, she’s moonlighting as a writer and is content to fill notebooks and sketchbooks with magical creatures and amazing new worlds. When she is not at school, or scribbling away in a notebook, you can usually find her curled up, reading a good urban fantasy novel, or writing on her laptop, trying to create her own.