How to get your short stories published!

Posted: December 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

How to get a Short Story Published —Chris Fielden.

Being a new writer and facing rejection can sometimes leave inspiration cremated like a forgotten sausage on a barbecue. But then the observation of any event can inspire a story, creating an escape from negativity. If you’re like me, when inspiration launches itself into a skydive, you’ll find yourself staring at a computer screen at 3am, trying to work out how a demon and a legless soldier might interact convincingly, wrestling to unravel your mental parachute in time to enjoy the view and deliver a graceful landing.

Writers hands at laptop computer, Chris Fielden

OK, I tend to be drawn towards the fantastic; characters and subject matters which remove you from reality. But whatever genre you find yourself writing, I suspect you can relate.

Books are notoriously difficult to sell if you’re an unknown writer. Agents are hard to come by and gaining the attention of reputable publishers is even more of a challenge. So, how can one become a successful writer?

In one of my more despondent moments, after another failed attempt at writing a 300 word synopsis that was turning out to be harder to finish than an 80,000 word novel, I found myself wondering what I could offer the world of creative writing that might be a little different. I’m not famous. I haven’t achieved anything particularly newsworthy. How might I stand out amongst the swarm? Then, a devious plan crawled forth from the darker recesses of my mind like a sneaky brain ninja.

I realised, like newspaper articles, short stories are a lot easier to complete. Once finished, unlike novels, there are many opportunities for publishing short stories and you don’t have to write a synopsis. Bonus. There are many respected short story competitions out there, which can gain a winning writer kudos and credibility. Roald Dahl, Terry Pratchett, Stephen King, Philip K Dick and many other successful authors started out writing short stories, so why can’t I?

So, I started writing a lot of short stories. Due to being blessed with skin as thick as Godzilla, I’ve overcome rejection, developed a style that seems to work, and I’m fortunate enough to have been published. It took a while, but I achieved my first competition win early in 2011. But how could I utilise this achievement to further my writing career?

Currently, the internet seems to be a good way of gaining exposure and readers. The tricky bit is standing out and offering something unique. There are so many good writing resources already out there, and gazillions of excellent self-published authors to compete with, that being noticed is very difficult. I work in internet marketing and, over the last few years, have learnt a lot about making websites work well. Offering useful, interesting content seems (to me) to be the best way of engaging with communities, gaining credibility and giving yourself the opportunity of being noticed.

And that’s what I decided to attempt to do. Rather than having a website that simply showcases my work, I thought I’d use my published stories as case studies to provide other writers with useful information, advice and tips on how to get their own work published. All the short stories on the site (see the short stories section) have been published or been shortlisted or won prizes in short story competitions. By sharing my experiences, I hope I can help more writers achieve publishing success.

I’ll also provide information on the pros and cons of the various writing competitions I’ve entered. OK, this is one man’s opinion, but it is based on experience. I hope you find it useful. And, where I’ve been given permission to use their words, you’ll find comments from editors and short story competition judges, explaining why the stories were chosen and published.

So, what’s in for me? There’s a link on all the pages on this site which will take you to Lulu.com where, if you’d like to, you can buy a copy of my first book, Wicked Game. Other than that, it gives me somewhere to publish my work in the hope it might be read, and (fingers, toes and dangly bits crossed) enjoyed.

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Comments
  1. jannatwrites says:

    I can relate to your struggle with the synopsis. I haven’t mastered that (or the dreaded query letter… I still break into a sweat when I say those two words.) I’m just now starting to submit some stories to contests/writing publications. I do find that right now, short stories are a fit for my limited attention span. (Even so, it took me six months to finish a 5K word story, haha!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. well this post seems to be what I needed when I was unemployed while living in Canada 10 years ago before blogging took off. I sent hundreds of submissions and had one little success; a little one page blurb in a local cultural magazine that paid $200.

    Thanks for following us; I am always looking for ways to improve my writing style and aim to be better than much of the crap I see on other pages that somehow garners 5,500 followers and 500 likes on each post. Sad generation

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sonniq says:

    You’ve been to my blog – http://mynameisjamie.net – Jamie Cummings prison story. A while back I began to write book I originally wanted to write. The first chapter I put on my blog http://mynameisjamie.net/2015/01/27/insideout/ and also a random chapter – Nightmares – http://mynameisjamie.net/2015/02/26/insideout-chapter-nightmares/ , both written from the standpoint of being in solitary confinement. This has been a huge undertaking. What caught my eye was when you said when you get going on an idea you find yourself writing at 3 AM. It’s usually 4 AM for me. Why, Ive been asked, can’t I just cut it off and finish it the next day? Mostly because I have no idea what time it is and you can’t just cut it off. I’ve been looking at the self published route when I’m done. I’m a really determined person when I decide to do something. I read everything I can get my hands on about what other people do. I will be sure to be back more often!

    Liked by 1 person

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