Sunday, 25 March 2018

Where can UK people send literary stories?

In 2017, almost 50% more short story collections were sold than in 2016. But collections by Tom Hanks and Jojo Moyes accounted for nearly a quarter of sales, so things haven't changed much. Before you try to get a book published you need to publish some stories elsewhere. But where? If you live in the UK it's worth trying to break into the local markets first - more chances for networking and readings.

It's not trivial choosing where to send stories. Magazines have preferences regarding genres and length. Some have submission windows. Some (e.g. Granta) require payment. Some don't accept electronic submissions or simultaneous submissions. This post is more to do with deciding which places are worth sending to - you don't want to end up regretting where your story ends up.

Read the acknowledgements in books

When you read a recently-published book, especially by one of your peers or an author whose work you like, read the acknowledgements. Here are some examples -

  • "You're Not Supposed to Cry" by Gary Duncan (Vagabond Voices, 2017) - "Flash" (Chester), "The Pygmy Giant", "Spelk", etc.
  • "Three moments of an explosion" by China Mieville (Picador, 2015) - "Granta", "Conjunctions", "The White Review", etc.
  • "Best British Short Stories 2017" by Nicholas Royle (ed) (Salt, 2017) - "Bare Fiction Magazine", "Structo", "Prole", BBC Radio 4
  • "Some of us glow more than others" by Tania Hershman (Unthank books, 2017) - "Ambit", "Bare Fiction", "Nature", "New Scientist", "Stinging Fly", BBC Radio 3, etc.

Read magazines

There are many magazines. If you like one, send them a story. The online ones can be of high quality even if they don't have the longevity of, say, London Magazine, which dates back to 1732. One place to compare magazines is The review review site.

Read the bios in magazines to see what kind of people the magazine publishes. Are any names familiar? Have they published books and won prizes? What other magazines have they appeared in? Have they had Pushcart nominations (for the US anthology)?

Eire, the USA, Canada, etc have many good magazines. And there are outposts like the Barcelona Review.

Read lists of recommendations

There are several lists that attempt to be exhaustive - e.g.

What you really need is something more selective. E.g.

Shortstops offers information and updates in various forms - Twitter, by mail, etc.


At least with competitions you'll know when your story can be sent elsewhere: magazines can hold onto your work for a year or so. Many competitions exist. Some don't have sufficient reputation to be worth winning (though they might be worthy in other ways, raising money for charity). I wouldn't enter any competition where the first prize is less than 100 times the entry fee, or there's only one prize, or it's a one-off. I prefer competitions where the short-listed stories appear in an anthology. See

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