Short Fiction: Why Is It Important for Novelists to Publish?

Hi friends. It’s been a few days since my last post. Thanks for your patience. Life can get pretty hectic sometimes, but I always strive to publish valuable tips for aspiring writers on a regular basis.

I want to start this post with a few announcements:

1. A flash fiction piece of mine was recently accepted for publication by Pretty Owl Poetry. I’m quite grateful to publish with them, for they are, in my opinion, one of the finest new literary magazines around. The artfulness of their work really speaks to me. I’m honored to have my piece, “Riding in Cars with Girls,” in their fourth issue, which is slated for publication in January 2015. I hope that my readers will check that piece out when it is published, and enjoy the magazine on its own merits today.

2. In regards to The Literary Game’s Publishing Contest, due to a lack of submissions (only three), I must extend the deadline. This contest is intended to find the best untapped talent around. The contest deadline will remain open until thirty submissions are received. It was an error on my part to assume that this blog was popular enough to generate a massive amount of submissions. However, you can help make that happen by sharing the link to my blog on your social media feeds. All help in that regard is appreciated!

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Many writers question the necessity of publishing short fiction in literary magazines. From a financial standpoint, anthologies of short fiction are far less likely to be purchased by a press or lead to representation by an agent. If they are sold, the advances would most likely be quite a bit less. Additionally, short fiction can be quite a bit more difficult to write than a novel. While in a novel, readers can forgive some sloppiness in execution (editors can handle most of that, but in all but the best novels, there are some points that drag, which can be expected in an 80000 or so word piece); short fiction pieces need to be flawless to get published and recognized.

My cousin Jerry Mallach has a great question whenever my creative mind comes up with a new idea: Where’s the ROI (return on investment)? He’s a business-minded, practical man, and a great inspiration. Look, writers love writing, but none of us want to starve or be miserable because of our love. Some of us may have day jobs to get by, or find other ways to get money, but if you show me a writer who’s so committed to their work that they have no concern for having at least a bare minimum of money for survival, I’ll tell you that you’re showing me a fool of the first rank. No one wants to be a homeless writer. No one wants to be a writer on the dole.

So, why is it so critical for novelists to publish short fiction in competitive literary magazines? Simple: it gets your name out. If you publish short pieces (or poetry) in enough strong literary magazines, when you pitch an idea to an agent or publisher for your novel, you will already have a track record of success. Just like an MFA, having an assortment of publishing credits will allow you to be taken seriously by publishers and agents. Your idea could be great, but showing your commitment this way can not only enhance your platform (which is critical for writers looking to avoid being doomed to the obscurity of the vanity press route), but also remove much of the risk for an agent or publisher.

I hope this post was helpful. If you would like personal assistance for any of your publishing needs, please click here.

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