A lot of writers, the large majority in fact, have a very hard time getting their writing noticed. Publisher slush piles stand taller than an extra large McDonald’s coke on every editor’s desk and the months of hard work poured into those manuscripts rarely gets looked at. Finding an agent is almost a necessity for any chance of getting published these days, and that’s almost as hard as catching the attention of a publisher. And even having an agent is no guarantee of commercial publication.
So writers need to hone their craft and get their work out there for critique and to try to get themselves noticed. There are numerous writers’ societies and groups, both online and in the real world, where writers can learn more about both the art of writing and the guerrilla tactics of getting published. These groups are very valuable and all aspiring writers should get themselves involved in at least one or two.
However, at the end of the day it’s a matter of getting your writing out there. You may have a pile of great novels just ready to burn up the shelves, and the bestseller lists, but it’s hard to get them read when no one knows about you. A good way to convince would-be publishers and agents that you’re worth their time is to get some smaller things published first. For this reason a lot of writers are into short stories. I’m a big fan of the genre myself and having a few short stories published in reputable places will do a lot to cement your reputation as a capable writer. With that in mind, I’ve added a new box of links to the sidebar on the left hand side of this site called Fantastic Fiction. It contains links to a whole bunch of places that will publish your short stories if they’re good enough. Naturally, given my own writing, most of the sites are for Speculative Fiction, but not all of them. Have a look and check out their submission guidelines. It’s very hard to get something accepted by these sorts of places, but very worthwhile indeed for your writing CV.
A few examples of short fiction magazines
Look out for any other opportunities to get your writing out there too. Articles on subjects you have some expertise in may not be fiction, but they can show your ability to string together a coherent sentence. There are also dozens of writing competitions around that are worth investigating. I once had a short story published in a bookshop monthly newsletter that was produced online and in print with a readership of around three thousand people. Small, but certainly worth the effort. You can read that story if you go to the Dark Shorts link at the top left. I really must get around to updating the stuff on there and add the CV that I’ve kept mentioning.
And for those Word readers that aren’t writers, those Fantastic Fiction links are good for you too. There a wealth of great short fiction out there to be read and if you support these sites and magazines, then you are also directly supporting emerging writers around the world. Don’t let Dan Brown and J K Rowling corner the market. You might be surprised at just how good some of the short fiction out there is.