How To Increase Your Chances of Getting Short Stories Published?
I found that my progress as an aspiring writer accelerated a lot when I learnt my first golden rule of writing.
Writing is a creative process but selling them is purely business
If you are serious in taking your creative writing further by getting published, you'll need to adopt a professional attitude.
Find and research your market
You must consider your market. Is there a market that will want your story?
If your only objective is to write great stories you won't need to do this, but if you want to have them published then make sure you have an audience to market them to. You can determine this by having a search on Google, and Facebook is also a great way to find places to submit to.
If your stories are considered horror, dark fiction or fantasy then do check out Short Dark Fiction Markets as the research has already been done for you. It provides details of numerous magazine that accept submissions and is regularly updated.
Write to Order
Many magazines hold themed submissions so check them out and have a go at writing to a theme. At first it may feel like cheating, but ask yourself how many times have you found what you thought was the perfect magazine or short story competition to enter only to find at the last moment your story is definitely not what they're looking for.
Writing on order, may feel strange at first but it's a great way to flex your literary muscles and will greatly improve your chances of getting published. Writing to a theme could turn your hobby into a profession. They're telling exactly what they want, telling you explicitly what sells in your specific genre.
So how do you go about it?
When faced with a specific theme spend a few moments thinking of ideas and then discard them. This is what everyone will be thinking of and you'll need your work to stand out. Think of something more obscure to write about. this will help you to stand out from your competition and present something original.
Submit you work
Another way to improve your chances is to submit your work. Sounds obvious but many people hold back as they wrongly believe their work isn't good enough. Don't be your own judge, jury and executioner. Let others judge your work and I guarantee you'll be surprised. Some of my favourite creations have yet to be published whilst some that I thought were dreadful were snapped up.
Doesn't make sense I know but I've learnt to make sure my work is always out there in publishing limbo.
But be careful to bombard magazines and editors with your work. You don't want to stand out for the wrong reasons. They'll simply ignore you if you get on their nerves and won't even open your submission. If you submit to a chosen magazine and are unsuccessful wait for at least a few months before retrying with something else.
Pay attention to submission guidelines
Magazines are extremely pernickety about their submission guidelines, and of course each magazine you'll be applying to will have their own strict rules.
Some of them may seem pointless, but obey them!
Many editors will immediately reject your work if you fail to adhere to their submission guidelines, even if its great. What I usually do when submitting work is to make a checklist of a magazines submission guidelines which I then tick off.