As you know, I'm writing a book based on this blog. I've just got to the section about short story-writing. Now, I don't need you to tell me how to write short stories, but about the market for short stories, both in the UK printed market and on-line (world-wide), and how you have managed to achieve some success in this form.
I do have my own answers to most of the questions below, but my knowledge of aspects of this market is a little out-of-date, especially in terms of women's magazines and also internet opportunities. So, I'd like to pick your brains.
- I am only looking for people who write for what we might call the "commercial" or "light reading" market, rather than the more "literary" end. (Sorry about these terms.) I already have several experts to talk about the literary market. So, if you write for coffee-break magazines, and focus on light fiction, I want to hear from you.
- I also do NOT need to know any more about flash fiction - I have masses of stuff on that.
- I need you to be quite serious about short story writing, whether it's your main type of writing or a side-line to something else. You'll see that some questions relate to paid writing and others to free online forums - both are relevant.
- If I quote from you, I will acknowledge you. If I need to cut your words, I will contact you to agree the wording.
- It will not be possible for me to use all of your contributions and some of you will probably duplicate each other. I will try my very best to give credit to everyone who has helped.
- Please DO pass this post on to anyone you know who writes short stories seriously.
- Please only answer the question(s) that really apply to you. It would be much more helpful if you just made one or two points than try to answer everything.
- Please indicate briefly in your comment what level of success you've had / in what type of magazines / how important this income / outlet is to you.
RE having short stories published for publication's sake - ie without payment and probably on-line:-
- If you do this, how often and what benefits do you see to it? Can you identify good results?
- Can you name some good forums for on-line publication - preferably ones that aren't about to disappear into the ether?
- Tips / risks?
- Do you manage to place stories for paid publication reasonably successfully? Is your success rate erratic or have you developed a good system / found your niche?
- What are the markets outside women's magazines?
- Is the market for short stories in magazines healthy? Growing or decreasing?
- How important is it in terms of income, or is it mainly for your writing CV and satisfaction?
- How systematic were / are you in identifying the right magazines? Tips about this?
- Do you have any short stories in published anthologies (printed or on-line)? How did this come about? Were you paid?
- Anything else worth saying about the outlets / markets for short story writing?
- Do you ever give up copyright or have you ever been asked to? Do you feel you know your rights adequately?
- Have you used your proven success in short writing to gain a publishing deal for a full-length work?