Writing short stories is a fantastic choice for writers of all kinds. It challenges writers to use all the tools they have at their disposal to complete a story with limited space. Many great films have started with a short story or novella, like the 2001: A Space Odyssey, Rashomon, and Brokeback Mountain.
And in today’s world of ever-shortening attention spans, writing a short story can be a great way to get your work into the public space while you chip away at your more extensive scripts or novels. But where should you look to put your short stories out into the world?
Print and Online
The most well-known places are traditional print publications like The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and The Three Penny Review. If your voice is more genre, you should check out Fantasy & Science Fiction. To make it simple, though, the first places you should consider submitting to are sites where you yourself are reading short stories.
If you’re on TB Launch Pad, you’re likely a fan of screenwriting, and Script Pipeline has recently expanded into an online publication, Pipeline Artists, where writers of a variety of fields can see their work published. This includes short stories and poetry.
If you’re new to the short story space, check out freelance writing websites that round up postings by different publications weekly and distribute them in a newsletter. Places like Freedom with Writing and The Write Life.
If all else fails, you can find opportunities of all types on Twitter using various hashtags, such as #WritingOpportunity. This is similar to the hashtags the WGA was using to source up-and-coming writers when arbitration was going on between the WGA and the major agencies in 2019.
Self Publishing Platforms
Do you bristle at the idea of pitching or submitting your work into the internet void, only to have it rejected or edited to the point where it’s unrecognizable? There is a way to make money from your short stories without having to pitch or submit them, with platforms like Medium and Vocal. Both sites allow writers to self-publish their work (with a few guidelines) and be paid based on how many views the work receives.
Now, this route can be tricky. Remember, editors at publications exist to hopefully make your work better, so self-publishing could cause you to post work before it’s ready. But if you truly believe your short story is ready, then you should absolutely post.
Both sites allow you to post for a myriad of topics, with Medium more focused on non-fiction and Vocal more focused on fiction. Medium has publications within the site that you can submit your work to, as well, which exposes your work to a larger audience where it will earn more money in the long run. Vocal, on the other hand, has regular challenges.
So you earn for views, as well as placing at the top of the challenges with your short story. Neither of these sites will pay you outright as much as a traditional print or online publication, but they will allow you to maintain greater control of your work.
Personal Websites and Email Lists
Another option that more and more writers are exploring is publishing their work on a personal site. This allows them to release some work publicly, draw in readers, and have their growing audience sign up for a paid newsletter (often through Substack) so that the author can send their audience an exclusive option. Branding is a significant component for every artist, and having your own site and email subscription provides a writer to have a cohesive brand for their voice and work, and control of their email list as they build a dialogue with their fans.
If you’re still unsure of where to post your writing, you can also try all three! Pitch or submit your stories to traditional avenues, and if it’s rejected and you still believe in the short, then publish it on Medium. If you already have somewhat of a following through another form of social media, like Twitter, then direct your followers to a newsletter for a low monthly fee. The more places where your work can be seen, the better. So make the move and get your short story out there!
Have a great short story? Enter the Launch Pad Prose Writing Competition. Final Deadline ends Oct. 29th!