Welcome to One Geek To Another’s first (but hopefully not last) guest blog! This week, we have invited Gloria Weber, prolific short story author and novelist, to share her insight and experience on the Do’s and Don’ts of Getting Your Short Story Published. We’re honored to have Gloria here with us, and to be able to share her knowledge with you!
And as always, thanks for reading One Geek to Another!
Hello, my name is Gloria Weber. I’m the author of many short stories and the novel Gaslight Demons, published by Morbidgames Publishing. Jess has been so kind to allow me to guest post today about the do’s and don’ts of getting your short story sold.
The first do of short story selling is the most obvious one. The piece needs to be carefully edited for spelling, grammar, and storytelling, making it as perfect as possible. That being said, there’s a chance a mistake might still slip through, and that’s okay. Editors are aware of the fact you are human and will forgive an error or two.
The second do is finding the right publication to send it to. You want to make sure that your story’s word count and genre meet the needs of the publication. If you wrote a 7,000 words long, traditional fantasy tale, you do not submit it to a mystery genre magazine with a 5,000 words limit. Ideally, before submitting to a publication, you should have read at least one issue to see examples of the editor’s standards and taste.
When sending out the short story, there are three do’s. The first do is make sure you follow the submitting instructions. If they want it attached as a .rtf (rich text format document), do not send a .doc (Microsoft Word document). If they want is sent via snail mail, don’t hunt down an email to send it to. Editors usually ignore submissions that do not follow their guidelines.
The second do is write a cover letter, even if it is for an email. In this cover letter do not write “Dear Editor,” unless no matter how hard you try you can’t find out the person’s name. But there is usually no excuse, aside from laziness, for using such a greeting, as writing market listings generally provide them. I’ve heard editors complain about receiving such letters, and it makes them less than optimistic about your writing from the get go. The rest of the letter will be a one to two sentence description of the story, include a word count, the title, and any previous writing credits or credentials that apply to the story. Sometimes the cover letter may include something from the submissions requirements, like a short author biography. But unless told to add such things, just stick to selling your story.
The third do is the simplest to explain. You send a short story out to one publication at a time. The majority of editors do not accept simultaneous submissions. And it would look bad for you if you have to say, “Sorry, but another place already bought it.”
Eventually, you’ll get a reply. Worse case scenario is a rejection. If the letter angers you, do not hit reply and chew the editor out. Do not post it on your blog with details and state that the editor is a moron. Instead, find a friend or loved willing to listen to your tirade face-to-face or over the phone. Editors talk to one and other, especially within genres. Doing such a thing will not only be unprofessional, it would be a detriment to selling your future writings. Conversely, if the editor took time to include a personal note or helpful advice with the rejection, it would be good form to send back a thank you.
If the reply was an acceptance, a thank you note and prompt signing of the contract is in order. When it comes to editing, also be prompt and professional at all times. Remember, the editor is only trying to make your story perfect for the publication, while helping you put your best literary foot forward.
And those are the basic do’s and don’ts of selling a short story. I hope it was of some help. If you would like to learn more about me, Gloria Weber, and my writing visit: http://gloriaweber.wordpress.com
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