This past weekend I attended Soonercon, a local science fiction/fantasy convention, and while browsing around the con dressed to the hilt as John McClane from Die Hard I happened upon a fellow novelist who was happily selling his hard work right next to my good friend artist Jerry Bennett. I spent a little time talking to him, and came away with a direction for getting noticed by agents and publishers: short story submissions.
Tommy B. Smith has written for years. It is only recently that he tried to get published, and after considering the ins and outs of self-publishing decided to try his hand at sending off a few of his short stories to some indie publishers and see what happened. They ended up publishing several of his short stories in printed anthologies, and soon he was approaching them to publish his long dreamed about novel. Granted, the indie press doesn't have the circulation that the big boys have, but it certainly helped him to build that all important platform. His new horror novel Poisonous is getting some good reviews.
As a writer, especially a writer of fiction, the best way to stretch your writing muscle is to write short stories. Many of my best ideas for novels came from short stories. Stephen King was a short story writer before becoming a novelist, and he had published several short stories before publishing Carrie. Tommy B. Smith has compiled a list of indie publishers on his website that are accepting short stories for their anthologies or online e-zines (some of them not until 2014). I have also compiled a list below of publishers and indie-publishers who are accepting short stories or flash fiction and will pay money for them. So dust off those short stories, polish them up, and send them out to these publications (and follow their guidelines for the love of Pete!)
- Perfect Pitch - This website has provided an extensive list of publishers who are accepting submissions and will pay for short stories.
- Poets & Writers - This website has a database of small press and indie press publishers who are accepting short story submissions.
- Interzone - This is an online magazine (fantasy/sci-fi) who are accepting submissions for short stories.