How An Unpublished Author Sold 3 Short Stories in 4 Months

Yo, it’s me. I’m the unpublished author from the title. And yes, I sold 3 short stories in 4 months.

All in all, I made about $30 for all 3, which of course isn’t much, but it’s a start.

I began trying to sell my stories, because there are some grants that Canadian authors can apply to in which you need at least 3 paid publications. So, VOILA! I can apply now! (and I am).

I have a lot of author friends, and getting ANYTHING published is not easy. Each online publisher can receive anywhere from 100 submissions a day, so cutting through all that clutter is a heck of a job.

Here’s how I did it:

1.) I wrote what I wanted to, not what others wanted me to

With my goal in mind, I simply sat down and started writing. Whatever came to mind.

I didn’t research the best place to submit a story to first.

There are literally 100’s of publishers out there, so someone was bound to like my style of writing. I ended up writing 17 different short stories, so that gave me good odds to work with. I’ve already had 4 of them published (1 not for money), so I’m at a 24% success rate, which I’d say is pretty good.

2.) I researched what type of stories what type of publishers take

There’s a SUPER DUPER ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC website run by some guy named Ralan, which contains a list of nearly every online publication, what they pay, what they want, etc.  I simply went through the list and searched “FANTASY” since that’s what I wrote.

3.) I kept track of what I had submitted and where

When you’re a writer, REJECTION is the name of the game. There’s no need to get upset over a rejection, it simply means whoever read your work is a twat! And there are a lot of twats out there, so you just have to keep submitting until you find someone who isn’t. That’s what I tell myself to keep motivated, because rejections are really lousy.

I made a simple spreadsheet in Excel to keep track, here’s a snapshot of 2 of my stories:
Untitled

4.) I was persistent

Let me show you this picture again. Mind you, this is just for 2 of my stories. I have a similar (and growing) list for my 15 other short stories.
Untitled

Enough said.

5.) I got feedback

Don’t ever expect any feedback from a rejection. If you even get 1 sentence of feedback, you just found the holy grail… JUMP ON THAT FEEDBACK IMMEDIATELY AND MAKE THOSE CHANGES!

Of course, publisher feedback is rare, so where can you get feedback from?

I found some beta readers online from Reddit and Facebook (there are some great writing groups: Writer’s United and Fiction Writing are two). I send my brother everything I write. I also have a writing critique meet-up of 4 other aspiring writers. I also have a good friend who likes reading my stuff.

Whenever I write something and polish it up as best I can, I send it out into the universe, and then chew off all my fingers in anxiety before I get it back.

Feedback can suck. It’s discouraging when someone’s like, “I didn’t get it” after I poured your heart and soul into trying to convey a super interesting theme. But it’s the only way I’ve learned to improve.

And then it’s back to the drawing board. Writing and re-writing, until I can get it perfect.

6.) I climbed into a persistent cycle!

Write. Get feedback. Submit. Get rejected. Get feedback. Rewrite. Submit. Repeat.

Take a look at this. Red took 10 months to get published, and it’s less than 1,000 words!
UntitledThere’s no easy way to sell your work. All those people who give you simple steps (myself included) are telling you about the hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours that go into writing!

So, if you promise to yourself to stay persistent. I promise you you’ll get there.

Best of luck.

Happy Writing!

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Singledust says:

    I applaud your persistence and tenacity. Congratulations!

    Like

    1. octotea says:

      Thankyoulations, Singledust! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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