While we’d all love to have an article or story appear in The New Yorker, the hard truth is that dream comes true for very few people.
And as with any endeavor, one of the most important elements to writing success is creating and maintaining momentum — whether you’re a beginner or a pro.
Sending short stories to impossible-to-get-into journals might lead to awesome daydreams, but it’s not going to earn you many “yes” responses. It’s is more likely to get you down than to keep you inspired.
And while you may dream of being a published fiction writer, and we know that writing short stories is great for building your writing skills, you may not be able to set aside much story-writing time from your paying freelance work.
So, if we put two-and-two together, what looks like a great strategy is writing flash fiction (pieces under 1000 words) and boosting our self-esteem (and self-promotion) by going after publications that might actually like us.
Here are six short story journals that publish amazing work — but also have acceptance rates that will put a smile on your face and your words out into the world.
Some of the publications listed below don’t pay and some pay only token amounts. But remember for us writers, “payment” doesn’t always look like money. Sometimes payment looks like a bullet on your resume, getting your name in front of a new audience, or (one that I think is incredibly important) putting a big checkmark in the win column that sends you running back to your keyboard.
A fledgling journal headed up by a team of editors who are amazing writers themselves, (b)OINK specialize in flash fiction, poetry, and narrative nonfiction of 1,500 words or less.
According to Duotrope, (b)OINK’s current acceptance rate is about 26 percent and better yet, it typically gives you a yea or a nay within three days.
This journal accepts about 50 percent of all submissions.
Editor Kelly Coody is pretty much as feisty as they come (check out her Twitter if you don’t believe me), but she also lives and breathes enthusiasm when it comes to writing and supporting blossoming writers.
Stories can be of any length and Sick Lit publishes a wide variety of styles and subject matters.
This online publication is a project of Five:2:One magazine.
It looks for “the strange, unique, experimental and unexpected.”
It specializes in flash fiction and poetry and accepts about 24 percent of submissions. Unlike many other publications, you can submit up to five pieces at once, which greatly increases your odds of publication.
The other fun part about writing for Five:2:One is that it’ll give you the opportunity to submit a recording of you reading your own story if it’s accepted for publication.
With approximately three percent of submissions being accepted, concis is much harder to get into than the other journals I’ve listed here. But it will always hold a special place in my heart as it was the first journal to publish a story of mine.
Founder and editor Chris Lott is tireless in his support of writers and this publication is run not only professionally, but with care and compassion.
If you want to aim a little higher, I recommend giving concis a try.
5. CHEAP POP
CHEAP POP has an average response time of under 30 days, and is looking for flash fiction, narrative nonfiction, and poetry of 500 words or less.
This journal has a great reputation and like many of the other publications listed here, it’s acceptance rate of 24 percent gives you nice odds.
Duotrope ranks this journal as among the 25 Fastest Fiction Markets and 25 Most Personal Fiction Markets. That means you’ll hear back quickly, and they’ll be nice about it.
And you know what? That matters when you’re send your soul out in the form of words.
Jellyfish Review averages a 19 percent acceptance rate and a response time of two or three days.
Here’s a little secret about journals that are “easier” to get into: they often have large followings and are more likely to be active on social media. That means even though you might not earn the so-called prestige of getting published in a big-name journal, you’ll get more actual readers. And really, as writers, isn’t that what we’re after? So, if you want to share your work, these journals are all a win.
No matter which journal you decide to submit to, make sure you read a few stories on its website first. I’ve had many editors tell me the most common reason they say “no” is because a piece simply isn’t a good fit for the personality and audience of their publication.
Do your research, find your best match, and hit that “submit” button. There’s no other feeling like receiving a “yes” in your inbox after sending your heart-felt story out into the world.