Yesterday, I talked in-depth about anthology submissions in Where Can You Submit A YA Short Story? Part 1. Today, I’m finishing the post with ideas for print and online magazines, and thoughts on contests, epublishing and short story submissions in general.
There are some magazines, like Carus’s Cicada and VCFA’s Hunger Mountain, that are known for their original YA fiction. Most of the major glossy teen magazines, however, buy 1st serials (book excerpts sold before the books are published) and not original fiction.
With few magazines devoted to or accepting original YA fiction, it’s time to think creatively! Can your YA piece “crossover” into the adult realm? Can your piece fit into another genre, like fantasy, romance or mystery?
For example, if I wrote a YA fantasy short story that I was absolutely confident would appeal to adults as well and met the submission guidelines of the following publications, I’d consider submitting to:
In this example, I’d also submit to an online magazine, Tor.com, and I’d be interested in the idea of YARN – a webzine of YA fiction and poetry. If Heliotrope were open to submissions (as of today they are closed), I’d submit to them as well.
I would NOT submit to anyplace that specifically said “no YA” or submit to literary fiction magazines. Chances are, if your piece is appropriate for Fantasy Magazine, it is not appropriate for The Paris Review.
Contests and Competitions
Winning a fiction contest/prize could be a great way to showcase your writing and place your shorter YA fiction. However, similar to how you would approach entering anthology contests, I would consider the rules of each contest and the cost of entry before entering. Again, a good checklist to ask yourself might be:
1.) Is this contest/competition legitimate? Take a look at the contest’s previous winners. Do they regularly award the prize as stated? (A red flag would be a “10th annual contest” with no prior winners announced.) Would you be in good company if you won? (In other words, do they have a track record of awarding high-caliber fiction, or does it feel like everybody “wins”?)
2.) Is the fee worth the prestige? Would you be impressed if somebody told you they had won a certain prize/Do others in the writer community respect the organization that’s offering the prize? Can you afford the fee (if any?) Do you have to purchase anything to enter/win, or are you spending $50 in entry fees for a $100 prize? (These would both be red flags.)
3.) How does this fit into my author goals? If you are ultimately trying to sell a YA novel, spending too much time entering contests could be taking away from the time you could be using to revise your book.
Uploading Your Short Fiction for E-distribution
In truth, selling short fiction for the Kindle, Nook or other ereader works best when the author already has a dedicated audience. Publishers can certainly take advantage of this option by offering “lost chapters” or other special bonuses for their books. But most previously unpublished authors will discover that potential readers will have a hard time finding their story, and that simply uploading it to Amazon or B&N won’t be enough.
A final thought…
Short story credits are definitely something that an agent or editor likes to see on your C.V. or query letter, since they say to editors/agents that somebody thinks that your work is worth both reading and paying for. But having or not having short story credits is unlikely to be the difference between selling or not selling your novel or picture book.
Lastly, as technology advances and people continue to want their media in various lengths, here’s hoping for an upswing in short story publishers for teens. (Because $#%^, YA short stories are stories, too!)