Steps to Sell a Short Story


1. Write a short story. (And edit it.)

2. Format the story.

3. Write a cover letter. Include title, genre, word count, a one sentence summary, credentials and contact info. Use the editor’s name if known. (See sample.)

4. Research available markets (anthologies, contests, magazines or ezines) pertinent to your genre and style.

5. Read and analyze what sells in these markets.

6. Follow guidelines for SIMs, MULTs, etc.

7. Look on Duotrope, Ralan’s or Coffee Time Romance, a Writer’s Digest Book, writing site, or Lady Chatterley’s Chat Parlor.

8. Submit! Start with those that pay the most. Or the most prestigious. Or the ones with the quickest response rate.

9. Create or use a database to keep track of submissions and sales. Duotrope has one available. You can easily use a Word document or spreadsheet.

10. Once you sell a story, let the world know. Tell friends, family, post it on FB, Twitter, Google+ or whatever social media venues you use.

11. Know which rights you have sold and when those rights revert back to you. Don’t give away lifetime rights unless you are truly okay with that—and they are paying you lots of money. (First world rights, First North American rights, Exclusive rights, Non-exclusive rights, etc.)

12. After the rights revert back to you, resell it to a different market for reprint rights.

13. Resell your work on Smashwords, put the story in an anthology, up it on your website for free for more exposure, etc…

14. Do steps 1-4 in reverse if you are targeting a select market.