How to publish short stories

I belong to an online writing site, and every so often someone asks how to publish short stories.  Today I received my tenth acceptance for short stories, so in honor of being an “expert” I’d like to share what I posted to the writing site.

If it’s short stories, poems, or flash you’re interested in publishing:

  1. Go to Duotrope.com and make an account. 
  2. Search for publications – flash, electronic submission, whatever the genre is. 
  3. Look at the listings for those. Major things to check: 
    1. Do they take more than 2-3 months to get back to you? 
    2. Do they get back to at least 95% of the submissions (don’t hold withdrawals against them, just nonresponses)? 
    3.  Do they pay (doesn’t matter to me but matters to some)? 
    4. What’s the acceptance rate (might not be worth it to submit to one that only takes 5%, at least not at first)? 
    5. Do they accept simultaneous submissions (send to multiple publications at the same time)? 
  4. If you like what you see, go to the publication’s website. Does it look professional (and does that even matter to you)? 
  5. Read some of their published stuff, if available. How does your story compare? Is it a good fit subject- and prose-wise? 
  6. Now, finally, click on a link somewhere on the site that says “Submissions” and FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS EXACTLY. 
  7. Go back to Duotrope and report your submission. 
  8. When you get a response, report that too. The more reports Duoptrope gets, the more accurate and helpful it becomes.

Assuming your stories aren’t crap, and you pick publications that are a good match, you could soon be a published author.  Good luck!


  1. Thanks for posting this. I’m sure it will be very helpful for writers wishing to publish their stories online.

  2. This is great Ed. Thanks for helping me find the needle in the haystack.

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