How to Submit Short Works for Publication

The submission process for publication of short works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or plays is often simpler and quicker than for full-length memoirs or novels.

However, unless you win a contest prize, the financial rewards are often zero to minimal. Publication can still be beneficial even with little or no compensation because it provides feedback when publishers find your work valuable and it expands your writing resume.

Here are a few resources for publication of short works. The most helpful source of publishing opportunities I have found is a private Facebook group with over 65K members: Calls for Submissions (Poetry, Fiction, Art). You must request approval to join. Participants post new submission opportunities almost daily, and one participant pulls together a monthly summary of opportunities opening up that month.

There are numerous websites with recommendations.

One particular article, “Top 6 Online Resources for Short Story Markets,” stands out from the ongoing opportunities included at Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity.

Duotrope is a subscription service ($50/year – but the link will provide a free one-month trial code good until March 7, 2021) that features a search engine for publishing opportunities and also keeps track of your submissions. Some publishers use Submittable, which typically collects fees for each submission.

In 2015, Liz Cantrell posted a feature story on the BWW website on How To Get Published in Literary Magazines: Reflections on Michelle Watters’ Workshop.

With the wealth of publishing opportunities, authors may selectively choose where they submit their work. University publishers provide their students experience in the publishing process and many do not charge a fee for submission (but may only accept submissions at limited times during the academic year). Some authors advise avoiding publishers which charge higher fees and make a profit on the submissions. But small fees may be required to reimburse editors or to fund a contest prize. You may wish to target more prestigious journals for your submissions. Although there are various lists of the most respected short work publishers, here are the Top 50 Literary Magazines recommended by Every Writer.

Writing is a wonderful creative learning experience even without publication. But for many authors, writing is also about communication. Consider submitting the short pieces you develop for BWW for publication. The process is much less stressful with potentially quicker opportunities to be discovered.