What are the benefits of getting a short story traditionally published?


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Thread: What are the benefits of getting a short story traditionally published?

  1. #1

    What are the benefits of getting a short story traditionally published?

    I've put together a collection of fifteen short horror stories and would like to start sending it off to small publishers soon.

    However, I've been thinking it could be worthwhile to get one or more of the stories traditionally published first. I've been told by a small handful of professionals that some if not most of my work is publishable, but I've not gotten any bights from magazines yet. It may be a while before that happens, and I'm eager to get this collection out there. That's why I'm trying to figure out just how beneficial it actually is to get short stories traditionally published, and how long of a wait is justified before I stop sending them out and just focus on the collection.

    I know a few of the benefits are as follows:
    1. Money (it's not very much though so this one is probably the least important, particularly since my financial situation is very stable at the moment).
    2. Exposure. It'd be great to get eyes on my website/Facebook page/whatever before going any further. Does anyone know how much exposure the big genre magazines tend to provide for writers? How much circulation they get, etc.?
    3. SFWA/HWA qualification if I get enough stories published. I don't know much about the benefits of getting involved with these organizations, and I can only join them after three stories published anyway so that's probably not something even worth thinking about at this point.

    What other benefits are there? I know that editors and agents and what have you are always reading these magazines and there's a possibility you could be contacted by one of them if they like your work, but that's an extremely rare occurrence, right?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chezecaek View Post
    I've put together a collection of fifteen short horror stories and would like to start sending it off to small publishers soon.

    However, I've been thinking it could be worthwhile to get one or more of the stories traditionally published first. I've been told by a small handful of professionals that some if not most of my work is publishable, but I've not gotten any bights from magazines yet. It may be a while before that happens, and I'm eager to get this collection out there. That's why I'm trying to figure out just how beneficial it actually is to get short stories traditionally published, and how long of a wait is justified before I stop sending them out and just focus on the collection.

    I know a few of the benefits are as follows:
    1. Money (it's not very much though so this one is probably the least important, particularly since my financial situation is very stable at the moment).
    2. Exposure. It'd be great to get eyes on my website/Facebook page/whatever before going any further. Does anyone know how much exposure the big genre magazines tend to provide for writers? How much circulation they get, etc.?
    3. SFWA/HWA qualification if I get enough stories published. I don't know much about the benefits of getting involved with these organizations, and I can only join them after three stories published anyway so that's probably not something even worth thinking about at this point.

    What other benefits are there? I know that editors and agents and what have you are always reading these magazines and there's a possibility you could be contacted by one of them if they like your work, but that's an extremely rare occurrence, right?
    "...but I've not gotten any bights from magazines yet..." A knotty problem it would seem. I would suggest that "Traditional" publishing has better quality visibility for a writer.
    A man in possession of a wooden spoon must be in want of a pot to stir.

  3. #3
    You can do both, try to get a publisher to publish the whole thing as a horror anthology, and at the same time try to sell off the individual stories.
    You could also go in trying to sell a single story, and mention in the query that you have 14 more destined for a shorts collection.
    You are not bound to one path.

  4. #4
    Pick your best story and try to get it published. That process will probably help you improve the others. And publishers will be more likely to publish your collection if one has been published in a magazine somewhere.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Chezecaek View Post
    I've put together a collection of fifteen short horror stories and would like to start sending it off to small publishers soon.

    However, I've been thinking it could be worthwhile to get one or more of the stories traditionally published first. I've been told by a small handful of professionals that some if not most of my work is publishable, but I've not gotten any bights from magazines yet. It may be a while before that happens, and I'm eager to get this collection out there. That's why I'm trying to figure out just how beneficial it actually is to get short stories traditionally published, and how long of a wait is justified before I stop sending them out and just focus on the collection.

    I know a few of the benefits are as follows:
    1. Money (it's not very much though so this one is probably the least important, particularly since my financial situation is very stable at the moment).
    2. Exposure. It'd be great to get eyes on my website/Facebook page/whatever before going any further. Does anyone know how much exposure the big genre magazines tend to provide for writers? How much circulation they get, etc.?
    3. SFWA/HWA qualification if I get enough stories published. I don't know much about the benefits of getting involved with these organizations, and I can only join them after three stories published anyway so that's probably not something even worth thinking about at this point.

    What other benefits are there? I know that editors and agents and what have you are always reading these magazines and there's a possibility you could be contacted by one of them if they like your work, but that's an extremely rare occurrence, right?
    Most periodicals and/or anthologies like a period of exclusivity. That could delay your publication...if you're in a hurry, that's a con. If you're not, cool then. The big spec fic mags (Analog, Asimov's, F&SF) have subs in the tens of thousands and perhaps a six-figure reader-base. No 'horror' or 'weird' mags come close. Crystal Lake's anthos have the largest audience, I'd guess, as they outsell everything else.
    SFWA/HWA have mentor programs, insider anthologies, and industry cred. On the downside, they're pretty political organizations and individuals don't have much voice. I am or have been a member of both.
    The horror/weird community is very close-knit, and good work is recognized FAST, if you participate in the community. The big stars will talk to you. King is reclusive and selective, but people like Graham Masterton, Ray Garton, and Ramsey Campbell, and more recent luminaries like Jeff Vandermeer and Laird Barron, have social media presence. There's a big underground of story-trading and private crit, with a lot of levels. You can be as big as your talent and energy and attitude will allow.
    Hidden Content
    "From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it." - Groucho Marx

  6. #6
    My understanding is that single-author short story collections are a VERY hard sell to publishers. (This may be different for different sub-genres... I don't know much about the horror market). But assuming this is true, I'd think any edge you could find would be useful in terms of getting a publisher interested in your collection. So well-reviewed stories from prestigious publications would probably be a useful tool.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Bayview View Post
    My understanding is that single-author short story collections are a VERY hard sell to publishers. (This may be different for different sub-genres... I don't know much about the horror market). But assuming this is true, I'd think any edge you could find would be useful in terms of getting a publisher interested in your collection. So well-reviewed stories from prestigious publications would probably be a useful tool.
    The horror market is a lot more small-press, and collections are common. That said, every one I know of has had previously-published material.
    Hidden Content
    "From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it." - Groucho Marx

  8. #8
    I'd say the benefit is that you don't have any overhead. You write a story, get paid, and somebody else does the work of printing it and peddling it.
    I wrote some things, once...

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  9. #9
    Unfortunately, there's not a lot of upside to publishing short stories. Money? Fugghedabout it. Exposure? Little to fat chance, unless you land in a big magazine.

    I have a handful of publishing credits in various small markets. I've even been paid for a couple stories, though the money is enough for a week's worth of gas at most.

    As far as I can tell, the benefit is getting into a big magazine, or a prestigious literary magazine. Everything else you submit to because you can, and because why not? What good is the story doing sitting in your hard drive?

    I can't speak on short story collections, but for new authors especially, I'd bet they're a hard sale.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by NotMe View Post
    Unfortunately, there's not a lot of upside to publishing short stories. Money? Fugghedabout it. Exposure? Little to fat chance, unless you land in a big magazine.

    I have a handful of publishing credits in various small markets. I've even been paid for a couple stories, though the money is enough for a week's worth of gas at most.

    As far as I can tell, the benefit is getting into a big magazine, or a prestigious literary magazine. Everything else you submit to because you can, and because why not? What good is the story doing sitting in your hard drive?

    I can't speak on short story collections, but for new authors especially, I'd bet they're a hard sale.
    It depends on what segment of the market you're in and your publication history. As previously noted, in spec-fic and especially in horror/weird, short stories are currency. Audience-builders at the very least. I sell a handful every year. There's lots of competition, and the top 50 people or so publish consistently.
    My last pro-rate sub sold for 1400.00. I'd like more of that, please.
    Hidden Content
    "From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it." - Groucho Marx

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