Tag Archives: finding places that are accepting submissions

The Business Side of the Business: Finding places to submit your work #amwriting

Today, we’re going to explore the various forms of short fiction publishers are looking for and how the market drives what they will buy. Each publication only buys work they think will appeal to their readers, and each serves a different segment of the reading public.

Its a BusinessWe are looking for markets that will pay you for your work. They are difficult to get into, but once you are in, you will be offered more opportunities.

If you are writing science fiction, you most likely dream of having your work published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact. They are seeking work that is strictly science-based, because that is what their readers expect.

You might also want to submit to Uncanny, as they publish both sci-fi and fantasy. Their readers are more eclectic.

Apex Magazine publishes work that pushes the limits, and that is what their readers expect.

Cover_of_October_1952_issue_of_The_Magazine_of_Fantasy_&_Science_FictionFantasy & Science Fiction is one of the most respected publications in the business. They have published some of the industry’s most famous and award-winning short fiction. But they are highly selective as to what they will accept, so read their magazine and see what sort of work they buy.

Galaxy’s Edge publishes science fiction but is currently closed to new submissions. Keep checking to see when they will reopen.

One of the best resources for authors trying to sell their work is Reedsy. They have assembled a list of 58 reputable publishers seeking a variety of works in all genres and lengths:

58 Top Short Story Book Publishers in 2023 | Reedsy

Reedsy is a fabulous resource for writers, as well as for editors who are seeking clients. This is a good place to start if you are looking for an editor. As always, when you are looking to hire a professional, be sure to check their references.

Writing Tips Oasis also has an excellent list of publishers who pay well.

Many contests and publications use the Submittable platform to accept and review the large volume of manuscripts they receive from writers. When a publisher uses this platform, it’s great for us as authors. We can use their app to track what we have submitted and where it currently is in the process.

But what kind of work are these publishers seeking?

First, they want stories with strong plots and good character arcs. They want believable settings and well-developed themes.

Second, they want work that shows us a world we might find familiar but from a new and different angle.

300px-Astound5006Third, they want work that looks professional, as if the author read their submission guidelines for formatting the manuscript and followed them. Publishers have specific, standardized formatting they want you to use, and these guidelines are posted on their websites.

When a call for submissions goes out, their editors will have no time to deal with poorly formatted manuscripts. If you don’t follow their guidelines, they will assume you aren’t a professional and won’t read your work.

What are the formatting guidelines? Each publication has its own, but most follow this standard:

What goes on the first page? Your first page should include the following:

  • The story’s title.
  • The word count. Some will want an approximation, and others will expect accuracy.
  • In the upper left, your contact details should be formatted in the same font and size as the manuscript font. (See the image below.)


For the most part, the requirements are basically the same from company to company, with minor differences. To ensure your work conforms to the intended recipient’s requirements, go to the publication’s website and read the standards they have laid out.

We know that selling our work to anthologies and magazines is the best way for an indie to build a reputation as an author. Remember, we’re competing with many other authors, some of them famous, and all of them as creative and talented as you are. Take the time to make your work look as professional as possible, and you will have an edge.

When we finish writing a story, an article, or a novel, we feel a rush of pride. The urge to immediately send it to a magazine or contest is strong, but the wise author must overcome it. Don’t even show it to your writing group at this stage because you are too involved in it, and there may be some awkward flaws that were introduced into the narrative during the rush of creation.

Set your manuscript aside for a week or so, then return to it. This will give you a more critical eye. You should look for

  1. Dropped or missing words.
  2. Words that spell check won’t find because they are spelled correctly but are wrong: They went their for breakfast.
  3. Extra spaces in odd places and after sentences. Editors want one (1) space after each sentence.
  4. Use the Read Aloud function or a narrator app to have the story read back to you.

While we all agree that only submitting work of the highest quality is critical, one thing is clear: the greatest hurdle Indie authors face is getting our work in front of readers’ eyes.

leaves of grass memeDon’t be discouraged by rejection. Rejection happens far more frequently than acceptance, even to famous authors. Don’t let fear of rejection keep you from writing pieces you’re emotionally invested in.

I always say this, but it is true: how you handle criticism and rejection tells editors what kind of person you are. Rejection gives you the chance to cross the invisible line between amateur and professional. Always take the high ground.

  • If an editor has sent you a detailed rejection, respond with a simple “thank you for your time.”
  • If it’s a form letter rejection, don’t reply.

When you receive that email of acceptance, do that happy dance, and don’t be shy about it.

There is no better feeling than knowing someone you respect liked your work enough to publish it.

Good luck and keep submitting no matter how many rejections you receive, whether you are trying to be published in a magazine or hoping to publish a novel.

Johnathan_Livingston_SeagullRemember, 18 publishers thought a story about a seagull was ridiculous before Richard Bach’s novella, Jonathan Livingston Seagull was finally picked up by MacMillan – and even they didn’t give it any real support.

Yet that novella is one that many people, myself included, consider a watershed moment in their reading lives. Keep writing, and may 2023 be a good year for us all.


Filed under writing

#amwriting: submissions: discovering who wants them and how to manage your backlist

I’m a member of several author groups who regularly meet in online chat-rooms to talk about the craft. Every member of these groups are published authors, some traditionally, and some Indie. Many are hybrid, with work both traditionally and Indie published.

Much of what we discuss involves the problems we face in developing marketing strategies. While we all agree that only publishing work that is of the highest quality is of paramount importance, one thing is clear: the greatest hurdle Indie authors face is getting our work in front of readers’ eyes.

Therefore, we write short stories and submit them to various anthologies, magazines, and contests. Those of us who write in less popular genres have fewer sales of our novels through Amazon and other eBook sales outlets, which makes it even more important for us to submit short stories to the many contests and publications that are out there, and who are open for submission. However, finding these contests and publications can be challenging, as often by the time I hear about them, the closing date is approaching which means I may not have time to get a rough piece into the right shape for submission.

But even that is becoming less of a problem for me, because I have found an App for that.

The Submittable App.

Many contests and publications use the Submittable platform to accept and review the large volume of manuscripts they received from writers. When a publisher uses this platform, it’s great for us as authors because we can use the app to keep track of what we have submitted, and where it currently is in the process. This is a screenshot of the PC app, but the phone app is just as easy to read.

On your personal page, Submittable lists four stages in the process:

  1. Received
  2. In process
  3. Declined
  4. Accepted

It is the responsibility of the contest manager or publication to notify Submittable as to the status of their entries and submissions, and while most do, some contests managers aren’t as diligent about that. I assume that if it has been more than year, they didn’t want that piece.

But, even better than being able to track your submissions, all the contests that are currently open via Submittable are listed on the Submittable Website in one place on the “Discover” tab, so the question of where to submit your work is easily answered. Every open call for submissions is listed, and any entry fees are clearly shown.

At the top are the contests and calls that are closing that day. But if you scroll down to the bottom, you will find calls closing thirty days from now and beyond.

Just click on a contest or publication that looks interesting and a screen will pop up. Each pop-up tells you what is required for that contest or publication:

When I first began this journey, I didn’t understand how specifically you should tailor your submissions when it comes to literary magazines, contests, and anthologies.

Go to the publisher’s website and find out what their submission guidelines are and FOLLOW THEM. (Yes, they apply to EVERYONE, no matter how famous.) If you skip this step, you can wait up to a year to hear that your ms has been rejected, and they most likely won’t tell you why.

I’ve posted this link before, but it bears repeating: an excellent article that addresses that well is  “What Editors Want; A Must-Read for Writers Submitting to Literary Magazines.”

Because I have so many short pieces floating around in the ether and most are not through Submittable, I keep a list on a spreadsheet, organized like this:

I can’t stress this too strongly: only submit your best work. If you have a well-written piece that reads smoothly when read aloud and is rejected for whatever reason, examine it once more with a critical eye and then find a different magazine, contest, or anthology to submit it to. Chances are it simply didn’t resonate with the editor at that place, and who knows–it may be exactly what the next place is looking for.

I like submitting my work to places that use Submittable, because when you can see where your work is in that process, you can better decide what to do with each manuscript. After all they have room for only so many pieces. This means that sometimes your good work is rejected in favor of another author’s good work. Sulking over a rejection doesn’t advance your career, so promptly put that manuscript back into circulation.

When you have a great story that you believe in, you must find the venue that might be interested in your sort of work. This means you must buy magazines, read them, and write to those standards.

If you are stumped for places to send your work and don’t see anything that interests you on the list at Submittable, there are several sites that offer classified ads calling for submissions:

NewPages Calls for Submission

Every Writer’s Resource

Let’s Write a Short Story

The important thing is to write and write and write.  When you are stumped for ideas on a longer piece, writing a short story often fills the gap and keeps you writing. Write that short story, then set it aside for future use. Build a backlog of flash-fiction. You never know when you’ll need a piece for an anthology or magazine.


Filed under Publishing, writing