Picking up on yesterday’s comments about where to publish a short story — in a periodical or an anthology – let me take a step back. Writers should recognize they are living in a time of significant change in short-story publishing. Fewer high-circulation magazines publish fiction today than they did a few decades ago. Happily, smaller literary journals are growing in number –some are the result of university writing programs. Others come to us thanks to individuals who love literature and are willing to put their money into publishing and promoting it.
So many journals are being published, in fact, that it can be difficult to sort through them all and decide where to submit work. Here are some suggestions:
If there’s a story collection you enjoyed reading recently, check out the book’s Acknowledgments page. Authors typically credit the journals where their stories first appeared.
Visit your local bookstore or library to see what journals are in stock. Scan those that look promising as a place to publish your work. You probably can’t afford to subscribe to all of them, but consider ordering back issues of those that interest you most. Publishers usually sell back orders at a discounted price. A little money spent supporting a publication where your work might one day appear, isn’t a poor investment.
Directories of literary journals are available online. Try: newpages.com, (Click), Poets&Writers (Click), duotrope.com (a subscription site) (Click) . For print lists try, the annual Writer’s Market, available at bookstores, libraries or via an online subscription at WritersMarket.com. The data varies among directories but at a minimum it will include each journal’s history, editorial preferences and URL.
A number of “best of” anthologies routinely reprint stories first published in journals. Among the most recognizable titles are The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Mysteries, The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, New Stories From the South, Best of the Midwest and The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses. Each anthology’s table of contents will include the journals where the stories first appeared. A journal listed in any of these “best of” publications is probably worth considering.