If you’re looking for short story submissions, chances are you’re hoping to get your story, published, right? That’s great, and we cover options and explanations on places to submit your stories.
Whether you’re a writer or create in other mediums, you’re telling a story. The power of story will dramatically improve exposure to your creations. Visual artists who include stories with their art sell more paintings and grow larger audiences.
This is good news for writers because it also means there are expanding needs for your writer skills. It just may not initially be exactly as you imagine it will be. So be open to exploration and ideation.
For example, business coach to mega successful companies, Cameron Herold, employs the visioning process religiously. He spends many hours over many days in deep visioning work creating three year plans that he draws out in “family tree” style mind maps. He then pays a writer to write it into a four page story. You can read more about that in his aptly named book, Vivid Vision.
Opportunities are expansive for creators who are eager to learn and earn from their artistic endeavors.
Whether you’re a writer or create in other mediums, you’re telling a story.
~LeAura Alderson, cofounder – iCreateDaily.com®
Can Writers Make a Living Writing?
Before we launch into short story submissions options, lets be candid.
The truth is that it is very hard for writers to earn money from their own books. However, the determined few, that work on building their audience while writing and publishing regular content stand the best chance over time.
In fact, it may be the only way today.
Gatekeepers Are Out, Fans, Followers and Communities Are In
If you’re passionate about being a published author, you can succeed if you go pro and make your writing your profession and your business. Even if it’s a side gig while you’re working elsewhere, if writing is your passion, then the time you spend writing should be enjoyable and not really feel like work.
Beyond that, we also share perspective and ideas that might set you on a slightly different trajectory while expanding your opportunities to build and grow your following.
Audio Article – Short Story Submissions:
[For influence and brand building]:
“Today, there is nothing more valuable than an audience.”
~Joel Robinson, entrepreneur, cofounder-InfluenceLogic
Should You Publish Free Short Stories?
We’re in an age where people are hungry for “On Demand” entertainment, content, and pretty much everything. As content creators, authors, and storytellers, we generally have more ideas than we can fully develop.
For the ideator who has tons of stories whirling around in your head, publishing short stories to your blog, podcast (as audio), or as a vlog (video), could be a great way to publish more ideas regularly. The more you publish, the more your following will grow. The more your following grows, of those who like your work, the greater will be your buying audience when you publish your writings in book form.
Gary Vaynerchuk—one of the worlds leading experts on business building and social media—lives and breathes the free content publishing model. He also recommends it to almost everyone, and more than that, he dishes out masses amount of valuable free content himself. Daily.
WARNING: Gary swears a lot in most of his audio-video content, so be prepared to ignore it or skip it if swearing is offensive to you. This clip is under 4 minutes with ideas specifically speaking to writers.
Publishing Your Short Stories on Your Sites
Benefits of Publishing to Your Own Website
Having your own website serves as both a resumé or portfolio, and place to build your own readership and following.
You can write and publish your stories on your own terms and let them begin to get exposure by sharing it to your social platforms. Eventually, you will be able to monetize your website through ads and affiliate income if you’d like to, in addition to your own publications and products.
Benefits of Publishing to Social Accounts
Publishing to your social media accounts helps to grow your following. You can establish an email list and grow a following of likes and subscribers to your social platforms.
Even if you wish to submit your short stories to be accepted on other platforms, it’s highly recommend to also publish to your own website and social accounts. Publishing audio stories—you reading your short stories—on YouTube and your own podcast will help grow your own audience.
By focusing on writing and publishing your own work, your audience will grow. Then you will be free to self publish to your audience, or, be more attractive to a publisher, should you wish to go that route.
Your website and social platforms are your ticket to getting published. You are free to publish your own writing as you wish and whenever you wish.
~Devani Alderson, cofounder-iCreateDaily.com
Get Paid While Growing Your Following
Instead of—or in addition to—short story submissions to other sites and platforms, consider freelance writing for other sites. You can create a freelancer profile to be hired to write articles, ghostwriting and coauthoring books, articles and white papers.
How awesome to get paid to write while your growing your brand.
Benefits of Publishing on Other Websites
Publishing on other websites serves to leverage the audience of larger publications toward helping grow your readership and your website and social traffic because you gain views to your content from larger websites with larger followings. Most of these will allow you to link your own site in your bio, which is preferred.
Your freelance writer profile can include a link to your website, which will increase your site’s ranking and traffic. That you can actually get paid for doing what you love—writing—while growing your own online “real estate” is fantastic!
Your website is like your own “storefront”, on the World Wide Web. The more content you publish, the closer you get to a better position to be found organically on Google.
So even if you’re submitting your own article and story content for free, you’re gaining value. Never underestimate the advantages of subsequently growing your own site traffic for the cost of doing more of what you want to do: create and share it!
Where to Submit Short Stories
We’ve sectioned these submission sites to align with different goals you might have as a writer. There are so many platforms for writers, that it can be overwhelming to know where to start. That means many people get stuck before starting.
Writers can submit fiction, nonfiction, and poetry to Narrative Magazine. They are a nonprofit magazine that also offers prizes for writing. They have a social following of around 37,000. You can read their full guidelines and submission rules on their website.
A non-profit online and print publication, that accepts stories from both prominent and up and coming authors. ASF accepts submissions all year round as long as it’s not stories that have been previously published. They also have separate guidelines for their story competitions. All the information is listed on their website.
Craft Literary accepts submissions for flash fiction, short stories, essays, and a few other articles. They pay writers a flat rate per publishing, and if it’s longer articles (2k words or more) they have other prices. While CRAFT will pay between $100-$200 for your original stories, they allow you to submit previously published stories but will not pay you for those.
This is a quarterly print publication that pays both fiction and non-fiction writers for stories, articles, and poetry. Generally, each of their issues will have a theme. The First Line pays between $5-$50 depending on what you’re submitting (fiction, non-fic, or poetry).
If accepted, One Story publishes short stories in their print publications and pays the writers. You can read their submission guidelines, deadlines on their website. One Story is looking for original and unpublished stories from writers and pays $500 in addition to 25 copies of the publication if your story is accepted.
Unlike the above publications, Wattpad allows anyone to create a profile and publish their stories. You can write your whole story before posting it to Wattpad, or you can post and write a chapter at a time. The story size, genre, and story artwork is under your control. There is no gatekeeper editor who needs to approve your work first. There are also monetization opportunities via Wattpads ads, but you need to establish a large following for a substantial income.
Okay so Patreon is a unique platform and unlike any of the above. Patreon is a bit of a cross between a social platform and a website. Some creators do really well with Patreon. However, most, do not.
You can end up spending a lot of time creating content for your Patreon page, or, you can spend time growing your own. The ideal scenario would be to do both. If you’re going full time creator, seeking to earn a living from your creations, then Patreon may be a good idea.
These are just a few of the top sites that allow you to submit your work. We’ll add to the list as we come across good ones. If you know of any you’d recommend adding, please let us know.
Short Story Submission – The Bottom Line
No matter the platforms you choose, your success is largely dependent on how much time, energy and effort you pour into it.
Most creatives submit their work to other platforms for traffic and exposure. The reality today is that the larger your following the greater the likelihood of your submissions of any kind, to be accepted.
The larger your following, the more likely your work will be chosen by publishers… if you decide to choose them.
~LeAura Alderson, cofounder-iCreateDaily.com
What to do When You Can’t do it All
If you’re working on your creative pursuits part-time while working and/or parenting full time, start with the social platform that you frequent the most and consciously work to build that.
Is Instagram your thing? Then post Instagram stories of intriguing passages from your short stories. If you love to give character and voice to your stories by reading out loud, your best options are YouTube and/or your own Podcast (or that of others).
Start with whichever platform makes the most sense for you and keep publishing there each day.
The best way to build a bonfire with green wood is to keep adding fire to the same spot. Eventually it will blaze. Same for your aspirations.
~LeAura Alderson, cofounder-iCreateDaily.com®
When—and Why—to Be Everywhere
If you’re determined to pursue your creative endeavor and aren’t easily overwhelmed, you should consider creating content consistently on multiple platforms. Each platform will feed and support the other. This is vastly more doable if you’re already able to be full time in growing your own brand.
Not everyone is on every platform. By spreading your content across multiple platforms, you will grow to learn more about your most receptive audience, who they are, what they like most and where they like to hang out.
Benefits of Submitting Short Stories
The biggest benefit of submitting your short stories to other sites is how it expands your reach and helps grow your public credibility as a writer.
There is still a prestige factor of having a publication approve of your work and publish it to their following. While we’re all for the concept of choosing yourself, submitting your work to prominent sites helps you build your own readership.
Also, there are platforms that pay for your content. As a writer or author, it takes years of work to turn your words into a sustainable career. However, you can escalate that process by freelance writing for others. This provides recognition, public exposure as a published writer, and helps grow your following as indicated earlier.
The Downside of Submitting Short Stories
Building your own reader fan base takes time, and this is just one avenue to help you. But it takes time and the process isn’t completely in your hands. Publications are looking for work that adds value to their readers so it’s incumbent on you to research where you submit your short stories.
Questions to Consider for Short Story Submissions
Consider these questions when researching options:
- Read the requirements of each publication
- What are the publication’s main content themes?
- Do their fans on social media seem to engage most in any specific topics?
- If you can, buy one of their print publications as well to get an idea of their style.
Of course, you might follow every guideline and write the best story, and still get turned down. Rejection happens, and many editors don’t have time to even give you a reason for rejection. There are magazines that even tell you up front that if they reject you, don’t bother resubmitting the same piece.
It can take awhile to get traction on any site, including these larger sites. Getting approved and published doesn’t mean immediate success. They have built a trust factor and following over time, and you will have to do the same, no matter what platform you use.
You’ll definitely want to showcase articles and short stories on your own site as well. It’s far easier to build a portfolio and following via your own website and social following. It takes time, but it’s worth it because it’s yours. (We mentioned this earlier, but in case your skipped that part 😉)
Commit for the long haul, because that’s what it takes to succeed.
The Truth About Author Earnings
So yes, earning money as an author is challenging but not impossible. We all know of highly successful writers.
So focus on what’s possible and do that.
Like the Ray Bradury quote, just imagine writing 52 short stories in one year!!! It’s absolutely possible, including publishing some — if not all of them. Those that don’t get published for purchase on Amazon could be posted for a free read on your website or social page.
You probably can’t do 52 pushups right now either. Most can’t. But… if you do one a day every day for a week, and then add one each week for 52 weeks, by the end of the year you will be able to do 52 pushups at one time. (Sooner if you can already do more than one).
Once you go through the process of publishing your book in Kindle the first time, it’s more easily replicable the next time. Can you imagine publishing one short story per week? That’s just 5,000 words max, approximately, which is about double the length of this article at 2,645 words or just over five pages.
“A short story can be anywhere from 1,000–15,000 words, but most publications only publish short stories between 3000–5,000 words. Anything less than 1000 words is categorized either as a flash fiction or a micro-fiction.“
More Great Advice from Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary Vaynerchuk’s Advice to a Fiction Writer
This video is cued to the segment where Gary shares ideas with a young fiction writer on ways to grow her audience.
The segment right after that one with the young son of an immigrant looking to figure out his career path. It’s a different message but also wonderfully inspiring, so you may wish to continue on viewing that as well.
Hey! I’m Devani, a multi-passionate creator who enjoys honing the craft of writing (mostly;)), photography, cooking, podcasting, learning about business, and growing brands. I co-host the iCreateDaily Podcast with LeAura Alderson (my mom), and co-own the iCreateDaily brand. I hope through the content and products we produce, you will be inspired to start, sustain, and succeed in your goals.
My non-business and artistic hobbies include: enjoying a good movie, discovering obscure but epic music, obsessing over The Beatles, and developing fictional stories in my head. My Maltese dog, Caspian, provides an insane amount of creative inspiration by just being his adorable self. #HeWokeUpLikeThat. 😉
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