For writers

Information and advice for writers

Advice for writers submitting short stories to magazines

Magazines still prefer to receive submissions by post rather than email. Email submissions clog up in-boxes and need to be printed off for editors, who would still rather read hard copies.

Type your story on one side of the paper only. You should also include an SAE although not all magazines will return unused stories.

It is strongly recommended that you put your name and contact number on every page of a short story (just in case some go astray!).

Read the magazine you are submitting to before sending off your story. Get a feel for the readership and the style of stories accepted.

Send seasonal stories well in advance. Most magazines will work 6 months in advance and stories for seasonal issues are selected well in advance of publication.

Payment varies from magazine to magazine. Guidelines will be given on websites or by the editorial department of the magazines.

Other outlets to consider:

Web magazines

Radio

BBC Radio 4 is the biggest single producer of short stories as readings and radio drama in the UK. The afternoon slot at 2.15 has an audience of up to 400,000 people, the majority of whom are aged 50+.

Newspapers

Over the last three years many newspapers have axed their regular short story slots. Most of the nationals will now commission short stories for seasonal celebrations – summer reading, Christmas books, Easter, Mother's Day etc. but again this is mostly from established writers.

Regional papers are often open to suggestions from local authors for seasonal or occasional stories. The Features Editor of your local paper should be able to give guidance.

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The short story form is better suited to the demands of modern life than the novel.
Simon Prosser Publishing Director Hamish Hamilton

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