Hey. I think I've figured out the secret to getting short stories published! After 2 years of intense study, non-stop drafting and outlining every minute detail of plot, I had a true "eureka!" moment. Ready for the earth-shattering solution?
You have to actually write stuff. And submit it to people who will pay you for the work.
And yes, I know its much harder than it appears. But if you (like me for the past seven months) spend every hour of "free" time revising, tweaking, and polishing your work nobody ever sees it except you.
I know. File this one under the "No Shit, Sherlock" folder. Doesn't mean its not true.
In the past week I've had 2 short stories accepted by editor/publishers. And I'm excited as hell about it.
One of them is a Lovecraft-inspired horror short which was rejected (after 2 rounds of culling the herd of submissions) last year. The rejection email was very supportive and positive. It was my very first submission of any kind and, while I was disappointed, it got a lot further along in the process than I ever had hoped. I let it simmer for a number of months and when I saw an opportunity to dust it off and make some minor improvements I submitted it to a different publisher who totally dug it. Once it becomes "official" (I've signed a contract) I will post more details on the anthology.
The other is another horror work, a short story, which I submitted to a "targeted market anthology" (which is something I might post about another day) back in March of this year. After 3 months of not hearing a peep, I figured that the editor didn't care for the work and I put the story in my "curing vat" to let it age a little more. In case you're wondering, no, I did not send a follow up inquiry. I think I meant to, but simply forgot about it. Then I got a nice email asking if I'd still be interested in submitting the work in their anthology. Absolutely, yes. As above, once I get official permission I'll "woot" myself in a later post.
In the span of 5 months I've gone from an unpublished author to published author with three works under my belt. I'm very satisfied by that and like a crystal meth addict, it just makes me want to write more and more.