How to Submit Short Stories

The most important thing when when understanding how to publish short stories is to follow the publisher's writing guidelines carefully. Here are some general rules.
Author:
Publish date:

The most important thing when submitting short fiction stories is to follow the guidelines carefully. Generally speaking, when you submit to a literary journal or anthology, include:

1. A simple, brief cover letter including the story title, any prior publications (in fiction) and a brief, relevant author bio. If you’re simultaneously submitting the same work to multiple publications, the proper etiquette is to mention that fact. Thank the editor for his consideration. (Keep in mind that a cover letter is not the same as a query letter that you might send for, say, a novel; don’t summarize the story, state its universal themes or attempt to be memorable in your cover letter. Let the work speak for itself.)

2. Your manuscript, double-spaced, with a header containing your name, story title and page number. The first page should include your contact information (address, phone, e-mail). Some writers include a word count, though for short fiction stories this isn’t absolutely necessary. If the guidelines direct you to submit a hard copy, paper clip (rather than staple) the manuscript. If submitting via e-mail or through an online submission manager, follow all formatting instructions. Some want you to attach a document in a specific format; some request your manuscript be pasted in the body of an e-mail.

3. A self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) if submitting a hard copy, so that the editor can notify you when the work has been accepted or rejected.

Learn more about crafting short fiction stories by considering:
Crafting Novels & Short Stories

Crafting Novels & Short Stories

Become a WD VIP and Save 10%:
Get a 1-year pass to WritersMarket.com, a 1-year subscription to Writer’s Digest magazine and 10% off all WritersDigestShop.com orders! Click here to join.


Also check out these items from the Writer’s Digest’s collection:
Writer’s Digest Weekly Planner
Writer’s Digest No More Rejections
Writer’s Digest Elements Of Writing Fiction: Scene & Structure

Writer’s Digest Elements Of Writing Fiction: Description
Writer’s Digest Elements Of Writing Fiction: Characters & Viewpoint

Writer’s Digest How to Land a Literary Agent (On-Demand Webinar)
Writer’s Digest Magazine One-Year Subscription
Writer’s Digest 10 Years of Writer’s Digest on CD: 2000-2009

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2020 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 28

For the 2020 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets write a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Today's prompt is to write a remix poem.

Omeara_11:27

Going Viral: Writing From the Hopeful Heart

Author Kitty O'Meara shares her experience of going viral online and how that lead to some exciting publishing opportunities.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2020 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 27

For the 2020 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets write a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Today's prompt is to write a what's next poem.

plot_twist_story_prompts_an_invitation_robert_lee_brewer

Plot Twist Story Prompts: An Invitation

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, give a character an invitation.

Vintage WD_Conder Soule 11:26

Vintage WD: Poetry without Rhyme—Or Even Thees and Thous

In this article from 1977, children’s writer and poet Jean Conder Soule explores the question, “How will I know when I’ve written a poem?”

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2020 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 26

For the 2020 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets write a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Today's prompt is to write a thankful poem.

Richard_11:24

Building Better Worlds: Five Tips to Guide Your Planning Process

Writer and WD editor Moriah Richard shares her top advice to help you fight world-building overwhelm and organize your story.

March_11:25

Why I Write Mysteries

Mystery writer Nev March shares how she found herself writing historical mysteries and what she hopes readers will get from her storytelling.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2020 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 25

For the 2020 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets write a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Today's prompt is to write an exaggerated poem.