1. Hylo
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    Hylo New Member

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    Is There A Market For Short Stories Anymore?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Hylo, Jul 8, 2006.

    While crafting a perfect short story isn't quite the easy job many non-writers think it is, is there still a paying market for the traditional short story format in magazines etc. today?

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    The heyday of the short story in the 1960s and 1970s seems to have almost died off completely but I'm wondering if anyone here has had any success in selling some of their short stories, individually or in an anthology?
  2. bicker
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    bicker New Member

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    I've never even tried but i'm sure there's still an audience for it.
  3. Diuretic
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    Diuretic New Member

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    I have seen sci-fi short story magazines which seem to be published monthly. There are also magazines which seem to publish at least one short story an issue, especially if it's aligned with the magazine's central topic. Just a question of looking out for opportunities I suppose.
  4. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Staff Member Contributor

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    There is still a market, yes. However, the market is somewhat restricted. Only small markets targetting small audiences. I think it'd be very hard to make consistent good money off short stories, but it has been and can be done.
  5. cl0ud
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    cl0ud New Member

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    Sadly I dont think there is a real demand for short stories in the world anymore. All America wants is stories on sex, drugs, and gangs. And I will never write about such horrible things.

    Maybe the demand will come back. Fads are just a neverending cycle.
  6. renegade
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    renegade New Member

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    Of course it's possible, the demand is not as high but there are still alot of magazines out there, it's just a matter of weeding them out.
  7. Mercury
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    Mercury New Member

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    There's quite a market on the internet now. Googling 'fiction submissions' usually turns up quite a few. They don't all pay much, if at all, but it's good way of getting credits together that might stand you in good stead later on (so I've heard!).
  8. Verto
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    Verto New Member

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    The majority of the time thats all the media report about. But the only reason they report about it is because the people love it (and will read it). Its a sad thought really.
  9. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Staff Member Contributor

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    I don't think there's really anything wrong with such, as long as there's an actual decent story to it.
  10. trailer trash
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    trailer trash New Member

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    I have seen some very lucrative markets ....

    I think the original question was "... is there still a paying market...." I think the answer is an easy yes. But, the market can be tough, and somtimes it is hard to find your niche.

    I would not look to get rich selling short stories, but keep in mind that those same stories may one day become a financial gold mine. For now, they may serve only to get you noticed.

    I have seen some very lucrative markets in online publications. And some pay very well. So let's not count out the short story just yet.
  11. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Staff Member Contributor

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    Very true. If you can get them published, they can serve as a list of credits, if nothing more.
  12. Bambilover101
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    Bambilover101 New Member

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    I think short stories are still in the market. There are many people who love to read them.
  13. Laimtoe
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    Laimtoe New Member

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    short stories are most used in magazines and such. It's something to get you into the market. If you wind up being big some day as a big time author then you can release a novel that's full of all your written short stories.

    But also -- I consider a short story to be anything shorter than 100 pages, so I think you can take a 50 page book and it'll sell as much as any other, but a three to four page short? Nah -- You'd have to have a big name to sell those outside of a magazine.
  14. Mercury
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    Mercury New Member

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    Most short stories ask for pieces between 500-5000 words depending on the market. For example, women's magazines will generally want 500-1000 words; science or speculative fiction may well accept anything between 1000-5000 words. It all depends on your market.

    Getting published in an actual magazine is a harder prospect. I remember seeing some figures from major magazines on how many fiction submissions they recieve and how many of those they actually publish. Per year, they where publishing a few dozen from thousands of submissions.

    E-zines are the best way to go if you're not looking for a big pay-out but want some publishing credits to get under your belt.
  15. elfdragonlord
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    elfdragonlord New Member

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    There's nothing horrible about sex. Drugs are a bit of a double-edged sword but it depends what drugs and how sensibly they're taken. I'll admit that gangs are horrible, since they involve violence and violent crime.

    But none of that is really relevant here. Why on earth wouldn't you want to write about such things? Surely it depends on what perspective you put on it. Gritty, exciting subjects can make for better writing, I think.

    Fair enough if you write about something 'horrible' and make it clear from your story that it is horrible. But why would anyone want to shy away from a subject just because it's 'horrible'? All stories need conflict, after all, and that's bound to involve some 'horrible' subject or other.

    Just my thoughts...
  16. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are markets for short stories in almost every genre, but print and online. Good paying markets (5 cents per word or more) are very hard to break into, and a writer would have to do it consistently to survive on his writing. But wouldn't that be just about as difficult with novel writing? How many mid-list authors work second jobs to make ends meet?

    There are also quite a number of paying markets (1/2 cent per word or flat rates of $10 per story) that will not get one rich, but might buy lunch or a good harcover novel, while paving the way through experience, credits, and building readership for bigger things.

    Terry
  17. Robert
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    Robert Banned

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    Yes, they might, or they might not. A friend of mine decided to step up a level (semi-pro market) and included in his cover note a list of the non-paying e-zine hits he'd built up. The reply he had pretty much made it clear that he'd have been better off not listing them at all. I'm not saying don't get them, it can be good experience and it can be fun, but don't expect them to count much.

    Cheers,
    Rob
  18. elfdragonlord
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    elfdragonlord New Member

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    But surely anything that gets people reading and appreciating your work will get you noticed enough to open doors in other directions, or at least give you the confidence necessary to take it a step further (or if the feedback is negative, allow you to perfect your art and make it better)

    A writer needs to start somewhere and short stories are usually the first step, with e-zines being a valuable way of putting stories out there to see what people think of them. Any publicity is good publicity. At least it stops you being a nobody. That can be valuable in building up confidence and gaining enough of an audience to take it a step further. Like I say - a first step.
  19. Robert
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    Robert Banned

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    I do think it can be a positive experience, it can build confidence as you say, and it's useful, I think, to get used to dealing with the reality of rejection early on. All the same, when you come to move up a notch they may still not count for much. They may not open any doors at all. I also have to say we should be careful with expressions like, "Any publicity is good publicity". What we sub today, as beginners, might embarrass us tomorrow when we're trying to move up a notch.

    Cheers,
    Rob
  20. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Writing for different levels is kind of like the different leagues/levels in professional baseball (in the USA). You have the farm teams, of increasing ability (and pay to the players) all the way up to the pros.

    Roughly the leagues are:
    Rookie leagues
    Single A
    Double A
    Tripple A
    Majors

    If one uses the analogy then:

    Rookie Leagues = writer sites where writers post their completed work for readers and feedback
    Single A = ezines/magazines which do not pay the writer but give a bio and link, maybe a contributor copy
    Double A = magazines and ezines which pay a flat rate of $5.00 or maybe $10.00 for a story, or pay up to a penny or two per word.
    Tripple A = Pays up to five cents per word, maybe a little better, and a contributor copy or two.
    Majors: Starts at 5 cents per word and goes up from there, or a flat fee that is equal to five cents per word. Some markets are 25 cents or more per word.

    With each level the editor expectations and the level of competition with other writers for the publishing slots/space in the magazines/ezines increase. Often at the lower level, the ezines are free, where as the higher it goes the more likely the paid access or pay for copies of the print editions are necessary to read the content.

    Writers often cut their teeth at the lower level, learn the ropes, improve their writing and knowledge of the profession. Make contacts, build readership, just as a ballplayer working his way up from the minor leagues to the majors.

    Do all writers have the talent to make it to the pro levels? No. And and neither do all of the aspiring pro athletes.

    Will all writers talent make it? No, for a host of reasons.

    Will those who put in the time and effort to learn the craft of writing (like a ball player learning to refine his skills and knowledge of the game) improve their chances and likely move up? Yes.

    Someone explained it to me like this a few years ago (Otter), and it made sense to me. As of this moment, I am a "Double A" writer. Will I ever climb further? I hope so, but there are no guarentees. I don't play on quitting my day job any time soon, probably not ever (the fact that I really like it makes that even more likely).

    But back to the point, there are markets out there to support all of the levels, and respected ezines, even if they don't pay, want and will only post quality work.

    I've only met/spoken with a handful of editors at Tripple A and Majors (so what I am saying obviously has a lot of room for error). Some of them do read Double A work. One had a few Single As that he checked out once a month or so. And Novel editors do read short fiction, usually tripple A or higher (I've only run across one who regularly read what I would classify as Double A), so while the credits may not carry great influence, they certainly cannot hurt, and one never knows.

    Just a little more to add to the mix.

    Terry
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