How to Get Your Stories Noticed

Two Methods:Using Social Media and NetworkingUsing Publishing

You have spent hours, days, and maybe months of time perfecting your short stories and you are now ready to share them with the world. But you aren’t sure how to ensure your writing gets the attention it deserves amid the seemingly endless sea of short stories online and in print. Though most successful writers will advise that good work often distinguishes itself from the pile, one of the most difficult aspects of being a writer is getting your work on the radar of editors who will read your stories and help to bring attention to them.

Method 1
Using Social Media and Networking

  1. Image titled Get Your Stories Noticed Step 1
    Create a website to showcase your stories. If you don’t already have an author website, consider creating a free website to promote your writing. Rather than hire a web designer, use a site like WordPress to build a basic, professional website. You can then update your website with any publication notes, and start a blog on the site to attract more readers.[1]
    • Ensure your website appears clean and is not cluttered with images and text. The text should be in a font that is easy to read and free of any spelling or grammatical errors. Avoid placing a light font on a dark background or a font color that is too close to the background color. Choose a color scheme of one main color and one complimenting color for the text. The text should be the focal point of the website.
    • Avoid using programs like Flash, animated backgrounds, or music. Users will be turned off if your site takes a long time to load or doesn’t load on a mobile device.
    • Build an easy to use navigation bar with titles that are clear and to the point. You should have a bio page, a page for publications, a page for your blog (if you want to have one), and a page for general news.
  2. Image titled Get Your Stories Noticed Step 2
    Update your writing blog regularly. If you decide to link a blog to your author website, you will need to commit to updating it weekly with short or long posts. The more you post on your blog, the most traffic you can attract to your site.[2]
    • You may decide to write a blog post about the writing process behind a recent story you completed, or you may review books you are currently readings. If you have had a story published in a journal or magazine, you should write a post about this to promote it to visitors to your site.
  3. Image titled Get Your Stories Noticed Step 3
    Join a writing group. This is a good way to show your stories to other writers who are just starting their writing career, or who are mid career and can provide feedback as well as publishing contacts. Look for writing groups at your local community college or university writing program, or ask other friends or peers interested in writing fiction to start a writing workshop group.
    • Establish a weekly or bi-monthly meeting time for the writing group. Often, writing groups will ask one to two people to submit their stories for review and they are then workshopped by the group. This will allow you to show your stories to others and improve them for publication.
  4. Image titled Get Your Stories Noticed Step 4
    Share your work at local readings. Another useful way to get more exposure as a writer is to attend local fiction and poetry readings at venues in your city or town. Look for advertisements for readings at your local coffee shop or the community center board. Most university writing programs put on readings of students’ work once a month at a local venue in an effort to promote new writers.
    • Try to share your work at these readings so you can showcase your writing and stick around after the readings to introduce yourself to other writers. This could then lead to invitations to other readings, existing writing groups, or invitations to publish your work.

Method 2
Using Publishing

  1. Image titled Get Your Stories Noticed Step 5
    Submit your stories to literary magazines. If you’re looking to get your stories noticed by editors and readers, consider submitting work to literary magazines. There are hundreds of literary publications with calls for work on a rolling basis. A list of literary journals and magazines can be found here.
    • Each literary magazine has a unique perspective and a unique readership, so its important to read the literary publication before you submit work to the publication. This will help you get a sense of the voice, style, and genre(s) of writing the magazine publishes. You can then determine if your stories might be a good fit with the mandate of the magazine.[3]
    • Always follow the submission guidelines of the publication’s submission page, as most publications will not read submissions that do not follow their guidelines. You will also need to send a short cover letter with your submission that includes your bio and any previous publications.
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    Enter short story competitions. Many literary publications will hold writing competitions for the best short story in a certain genre or around a certain theme. These competitions can lead to monetary rewards, as well as publication in the magazine. Most competitions are judged by esteemed writers who will read and choose from a shortlist of finalists. So this means your current living literary hero could potentially read and choose your writing from the pile.
    • Keep in mind there is often a fee for submitting work to writing competitions to cover a reading fee and to help support the publication. Before you submit to a competition, read back issues of the magazine and the work of previous year’s winners to get a feel for what type of writing the magazine tends to publish.
  3. Image titled Get Your Stories Noticed Step 7
    Consider self publishing your stories in a collection. Self publishing, or DIY direct, means the author does all the work on their own and hires any outside help like a book designer or an editor. Self publishers will also need to provide retailers (book sellers) with finished, ready to go files or books.[4] If you are feeling frustrated by traditional publishing avenues and want to get your stories noticed on your own terms, self publishing may be an option.
    • Keep in mind the retailer will take a cut of the sales, but the author is not exclusive to a publisher. This means the author can deal with each retailer on an individual basis.
    • Self publishing allows the author to maximize their earnings from the sale of the books. This also allows the author to get the highest percentage of sales. The author also retains complete freedom over the work so they can adjust or edit it on the fly, and can control the pricing of the book.
    • But, self publishing can become a full time job if the author is aiming for high profit and high quality. You will need to also market and promote your book on your own to find an audience for your work.

Article Info

Categories: Better Writing