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A Short Story is a Seed: Plant as Many as You Can

Atlin Merrick Call for Submissions Short Stories Tips for Selling Your Writing

By Atlin Merrick

A Short Story is a Seed: Plant as many as you can

I was editing an anthology some years ago and the book needed one more story to round it out, but needed it fast. I reached out to a writer I knew through their online writing and asked if they wanted to write a short story for us quick. They said yes, so I told them the parameters – theme, length, due date.

Then something happened.

A rare thing. A good thing.

The writer sent us exactly what we asked for. The theme, the length, on the date it was due.

The publisher bought the story and do you know what? It was that writer's first fiction sale and the only story we received to follow the guidelines exactly. Eventually the anthology came out, their story included.

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Then something happened.

The publisher asked if the writer wanted to pitch a book idea. They did, so they did.

That writer's book has since been published and I tell you this story for a reason: because starting small is a seed. Writing a short story for an anthology, publishing fic, whatever it is you've got the courage to do, do that. Then do that again.

Because something happens.

Your seed grows. Your opportunities grow.

Maybe you want to be the miracle novelist plucked from obscurity and given a six-figure deal. Yet you can't plan for that, not even the person who's chosen; the fame claw falls were it will.

So banish that from your brain and if fate wants you it'll find you. Meantime you find you. Find your seed and plant it.

Send out a short story or article, and essay or proposal when you see a call for submissions. Then another. And another. And another. Enter a writing contest. And another. And another.

We don't plant single seeds in a garden, we plant dozens, hundreds.

So plant as many seeds as you have the strength to plant.

Because small seeds don't stay that way.

They grow.

You'll grow.

And grow.

Want to try that short story seed planting right now? We've got a call for submissions open. See what we're looking for and then decide if you want to do a little so-called gardening today.

Image: WikimediaCommons


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