On the matter of publishing short stories and poems


Chosen of Azathoth
May 4, 2007
Recently, after so much writing, I've become interested in possibly publishing my short stories and/or poems. Problem is, I don't have the knowledge on how I would get started and go about doing this. I don't have the money to hire an agent, I'm only 18 years old and without a job at the moment. Any suggestions or tips on selecting and contacting publications that would perhaps accept my work would be greatly appreciated. :eek:
As far as I've heard most agents only charge a percentage of your advances and royalties, which means if your book doesn't sell then they don't make any money from you.

Check the publishing forum there's lots of stuff on there...
If you are trying to sell short stories and poems to magazines, you won't need an agent. In fact, many agents won't handle them -- SFF magazines in particular don't pay enough to make it worth an agent's time.

If you're trying to sell a collection of your stories or poems, then you might need an agent -- but even then, a collection by a previously unpublished writer is exceptionally difficult to sell to a publishing house.

Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind that reputable agents earn their money as a percentage on commission. Anyone who charges you a fee up-front is either a con artist, or so woefully inexperienced they don't know how these things are done. Do not have any dealings with them at all.

Your best bet is to read up on the magazine markets -- you can get the information after a little poking around online or in writer's magazines -- and then start sending your work out yourself.
Have a look here at Duotrope's Digest:

Duotrope's Digest (Markets for Writers)

This is a great resource for finding magazines (print and online) for publishing stories and poetry (paid and unpaid).

You don't need any money to publish anything. If they charge, they probably aren't genuine. Afterall, they should be paying you, not the other way round (though some new and small magazines/journals may be unable to pay, or may only be able to offer a contributor copy [but the publicity can be a good thing]).

I hope this helps :)

You don't hire an agent. You form a working relationship with them, a partnership. When you seek an agent or an agent reviews the work of prospective clients, what they're really doing is seeking to build a team, wherein each member has different skills, but the end goal is the same for all members of the team: To publish and market the manuscript. No one gets paid until the goal is fulfilled.
Well, actually, you do hire an agent -- on commission. Once you get an agent, he or she will act as your advisor and representative. It's important in these working relationships to remember who is the actual employer. Sometimes writers are intimidated by their agents and that's not right.

Also -- and if you think of it this way, "rejection" becomes less humiliating -- when an agent decides not to represent your manuscript, they aren't turning you down for a job, they are simply declining your offer of employment.
I agree that it's important that writers don't think they're working for the agent, but there's also problems with the writer thinking the agent works for them, too. That's where you get into writers saying, "You work for me and you have to do what I say." No. That's not correct either. Both are independent, individual businesses that are collaborating with one another. But that's just me and you're more experienced at this than I am.
That's where you get into writers saying, "You work for me and you have to do what I say."

Of course you have to remember that even though you are the employer the agent is an independent contractor -- and, if a good one, much in demand. If they don't find you a satisfactory client -- if they feel that you lack respect for their advice and their expertise -- they'll terminate the business relationship. As well they should.

Similar threads