Thursday, June 02, 2016

Short Story Markets.

I don't write short stories as often as I once did. This is something that I've covered in my blog in times past, but I think it bears another brief visit.

Among the reasons that I don't work that often in short form is that I prefer to work on novels. Just for my own pleasure I prefer to create the skeleton of a more complicated story and spend a few months fleshing it out. It's just that I'm a happier writer working on novels than I am on short stories.

Another factor is that there are just not very many places where a person can sell a short story. It's no secret that the markets for short stories has gradually diminished since the 19th Century, and through the 20th Century, until today when it is almost impossible to find places where one can sell fiction in the short form. There are a few magazines around that publish short stories, but the competition for a place in them is stiff.

Even since the relatively recent days of my youth the markets have shriveled to the point of no return. Professional magazines that paid decent rates have vanished at an alarming rate. And even the days of semi-professional periodicals has continued to decline until on a few are left. I have been told to contribute to a few newer magazines and at least one revival of an old title, but when I inquire about their pay rates, I have been horrified to learn that they only pay a few bucks, and sometimes not at all. One particularly nasty woman who publishes a horror rag requires that all writers send her their stories "for the love", with no chance of payment of any kind.

Fuck that.

Some of my friends who self-publish have suggested that I go that route--that I self-publish my short stories. But I continue to resist the self-publishing platform. I'll still write short stories, but nowhere near the number that I did when I was in my 20s and 30s. And I suppose that I will try the few remaining professional markets when I do have something that I want to contribute.


Even the magazines from the 80s have faded and vanished.
Pay the Freaking Writer.


Lawrence Roy Aiken said...

I found that once I cracked how to write a novel, it's all I want to do. I'd like to put together a small book of short horror pieces when I'm done with my series, but solely as an intellectual exercise. It's good to round out one's skill sets.

James Robert Smith said...

A lot of the old pros claim that it's harder to write a good short story than it is to write a good novel. In some ways I agree with that assessment.

I'm glad that I wrote so many short stories when I was younger, and sometimes I miss working in that form. Maybe I'll devote more time to it someday.