Resources for Writers
Earning an Income from Short Stories: Really Useful Links by Paul Anthony Shortt
I find short stories a real challenge. My natural inclination is to come up with long-running story lines that take my characters across a series of adventures. I love watching characters grow and learn, seeing their story build to a dramatic, fulfilling conclusion. In spite of this, or maybe because of it, I like to push myself and delve into shorter fiction from time to time. It can be a great way to hone your skills, forcing you to cut away the unnecessary and focus on the core story. It can also be a way to start earning money from your writing, if you know where to look.
If you’re the kind of writer who prefers to write short fiction, then it can be an excellent way into a career. Short stories are experiencing a resurgence in popularity at the moment with debut authors publishing ward winning collections. Indeed many now internationally recognised Irish authors began their career with short fiction, and winning competitions has always been a fast track to getting your work noticed. Be aware however, of the increasing number of competitions that charge a fee for entry – while this often covers administrations costs if you are paying you need to be sure that the prize is worth your investment, if you are entering a lot of competitions costs will quickly add up.
It’s also important to protect yourself when selling short fiction as when selling a novel. So check your contracts, and if anything feels off, ask for clarification. Never be afraid to turn down an offer if it’s not to your liking. Ensuring that you retain the rights to your work isn’t a matter of pride or ego, it’s good business sense. You may want to release an anthology down the line, for example, and you have to make sure your contract allows for that freedom.
With that caveat out of the way, here are some places that will pay for short stories, and advice on how to get the most from it:
- Magazines and Websites That Want Your Work – The Write Life once again provides great resources, with this list of places to send your stories. They also get straight to the point with links to submission guidelines and details on payment.
- Duotrope – This venerable service has been in the business for some time, having recently celebrated its 10th They offer a 7-day trial, after which membershio costs $5 a month. Their system allows you to search a range of markets that will pay for your work.
- Ralan.com – For those of you with a flair for speculative fiction, Ralan.com focuses on science fiction, horror, fantasy, etc. It features an extensive list of markets to review.
- Literary Magazines to Submit To – Let’s Write A Short Story presents a list of 46 print publications that it ranks as the best magazines for submissions.
Catch you next time, and as always, good luck!
(c) Paul Anthony Shortt