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Market your Short Story: Make it Short.

Making your Short Story Short

One of the best ways to market your short story is by making it short. By short, I mean 3,000 words or less. This roughly translates to 10 pages, double-spaced. For some writers, this might seem difficult. However, there are some inherent benefits. If a writer keeps these in mind, cutting down the story won’t seem so bad.


1. Cutting the fat.

“Cutting the fat” means losing extraneous details. The story gets right to the point, which is a very good thing–especially in short fiction.

2. Detail will improve.

Without all that unnecessary detail, the details you have left will all be vital to the story. Your story will become more vibrant.

3. Improve your writing.

This exercise forces the writer to learn which details are necessary, and which aren’t. In learning this, other technical issues come into perspective. Your writing will improve.

4. Publication will become easier.

A shorter story looks attractive to most publishers. A shorter story means more space for other material. Also, always bare in mind that publishers are busy. Some publishers have hundreds of stories to read. If your story is short, but engaging–they’re more likely to enjoy it.


1. Understanding Length.

A good story can fit in 1,500-3,000 words. That’s not to say that your story is bad because it’s 4,000 or 500 words. (However, if your story is only 500 words, it’s more likely to be classified as Flash Fiction–and you should find a publisher that wants Flash Fiction.)

2. Your manuscript… minus 10%.

When editing your story, try to eliminate at least 10 percent of it. It’s a good practice. You’ll be forced to rid of unnecessary detail, and think objectively. Which details are essential?

3. Know your publisher.

Before submitting, always read the guidelines. Every magazine will have them. Most of the time, the publisher will specify a word count. Also, try reading some of the stories said publisher has already accepted. More often then not, you’ll find a clear example of what that publisher likes to read.

4. Keep your hand moving.

Often your first thoughts are the best ones. Don’t worry about what you’re writing until you’re done. Eliminate those extra details upon revision. Your first draft should never be perfect.


Sometimes you’ll need to revise your story two or three times until it’s up to par. Usually this depends on the writer. However, keep in mind that your story will never be perfect. As writers, we shouldn’t expect that. Have confidence in your story, and your content. Sell your story the best you can. If you have confidence in your writing, the publisher will sense it. If you get rejected, don’t sweat it. It happens all the time. Just find a different publisher and re-submit.

Any thoughts on the subject? Feel free to comment, I’d love to hear them!


Article by: Savanna Y Lujan

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Posted by forgotmypen - December 5, 2011 at 8:34 pm

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