Some things to understand about submitting short stories

John P. Murphy

There’s been a rash of mischief, or discussion of mischief, around short fiction submissions lately, and I find myself repeatedly saying the same things in different venues. For the sake of convenience, addressed to you, new writer, here is all my blather in one place.

The first thing to understand is the role a short fiction writer plays in the marketplace for short fiction, which is different from what many new writers think. Writers tend to be oriented around “I want my story out there in front of readers” and naturally think that because markets are a means to that end, that must be their purpose. From that line of thinking, markets provide a service to writers at best, or act as gatekeepers at worst. This is a fundamental misunderstanding.

A short fiction market – which could be a paper or digital magazine, an anthology, a podcast, even someone’s blog…

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