Want to Publish a Short Story? Pitch These 6 Publications

Want to Publish a Short Story? Pitch These 6 Publications

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.

1. (b)OINK

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.

2. Sick Lit Magazine

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.

3. #thesideshow

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.

4. concis

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.

6. Jellyfish Review

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.

Filed Under: Craft

Featured resource

Your Freelance Business Blueprint

A plug-and-play framework that automates the marketing, accounting, and administrative systems of your business, so you can focus on the writing.

14 comments

  • Claire says:

    Are there any instances where you’d say it was a mistake to get your stories published in online journals – for example if their readership is very small / niche etc?

    • Becca Borawski Jenkins says:

      Hi Claire – Great question and thanks for reading. I think the answers to these sorts of questions will always come back to your goals. If you’ve never been published and just need to get some momentum, then there’s nothing wrong with a small online journal. Or maybe what your piece is about is very specific and it’s a perfect fit for a certain small journal. There’s nothing wrong with getting published online, though, and it’s not been my experience that it’s looked down on it any way by the writing community.

      • Claire says:

        Thanks for your swift response Becca! That’s good to hear. I’m just getting started on submitting my fiction work to places. I’ve had some small success so far but it doesn’t seem to have achieved much in terms of more readers/ any response! That’s OK, at this stage, I’m enjoying the thrill of having my fiction published and knowing that someone else thinks my stories are good too. It’s hard to know if/when to move up to entering comps and perhaps some paid submissions to more prestigious journals though. And, of course, it all takes a fair amount of time when I could/should be writing!

        • Becca Borawski Jenkins says:

          Congrats on your success so far! And yes, submitting does definitely take time. It pays (sometimes literally) to do your research and make sure you’re submitting to a place that’s a good fit for your particular piece. Personally, I’m not a big fan of paying to enter competitions, but other people have had great success with it and built reputations off winning big comps. The journey will be different for each writer — as long as you are having fun, expressing yourself, and enjoying the process, then you’re doing it right, IMO!

  • We’re honored that you included Sick Lit Magazine on this list! Your timing is uncanny. Just today we introduced new submissions guidelines and put out a call for new fiction, flash fiction, and creative non-fiction submissions. It’s a great time to send your work to us.

    Nicole Ford Thomas
    Senior Editor
    Sick Lit Magazine

    • Becca Borawski Jenkins says:

      Oh, that’s wonderful, Nicole! So glad the timing worked out so well and I love the work you’re doing at Sick Lit!

    • Hi Nicole, glad to hear about your magazine. Would like to submit my essay “My Journey As A Writer.” I did not count the WPM but will later. At the end of this essay I told about what it culminated into (my writing-editing) career prior establishment with local newspaper publications. So let me know if you accept essays. Thanks, Joyce

  • Jan Limark says:

    Thank you Rebecca for compiling this list. I am currently working on my book right now and I’m so excited if what will happen to my story.

    All the Best,
    Jan Limark | Brotherly Creative

  • Dear Becca BJ
    It was an awesome post. I write short stories and in search of some genuine websites which accept short stories. Hope the sites suggested by you are the ones I was looking for. Going to give then a try!

    Thanks a lot.

  • Dear Becca BJ
    It was an awesome post. I write short stories and was in search of some genuine websites which accept short stories. Hope the sites suggested by you are the ones I was looking for. Going to give them a try!

    Thanks a lot.

  • Tony says:

    Hi Becca,
    Thank you very much I’ve been looking at widening my scope somewhat and your posting of the mags was brilliantly timed. Sick Lit have accepted one of my stories for publication.

  • Melissa says:

    Do any of these publications specialize in self-help/self-discovery type of stories? I’ve written an article about a personal life lesson that I want to share somewhere (besides just in a blog post), but don’t know where to submit it. Thanks!

Speak Your Mind

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *