Five Tips for Landing Your First Short Story Publication

Have you always dreamed of publishing short stories? It's time to begin turning that dream into a reality, writer. Today on the blog, I'm sharing five short story submission I learned from reading Mandy Wallace's Landing Your First Publication.


One thing I love about being an online creator is connecting with fellow writers producing incredible work.

One such writer is Mandy Wallace, a blogger and writing mentor whose resources at Write or Die never fail to leave me feeling encouraged and inspired. Earlier this week, Mandy published Landing Your First Publication, a short story writing prompt and publication strategy guide for writers who refuse to rely on luck.

When Mandy offered to send me an advanced reader copy of the book to review, I jumped at the opportunity — and I’m so glad I did. Landing Your First Publication is a beautiful and insightful resource for any writer looking to stop wishing and start making their publication dreams come true.

Today, I’d love to share five key submission tips I gleaned from this incredible resource:

(Note: This post contains affiliate links, including the link above.)

Tip #1: Screw Luck.

I often say that you are as good a writer as you work to be, so I knew Landing Your First Publication was going to be the right resource for me when I saw the first chapter was called “Screw Luck”. Your writing dreams don’t happen by mistake.

If you want to land your first short story publication, you must take full responsibility for your success and get to work. Mandy recommends striving to write one short story a week and submitting your work just as often, which brings me to the second tip I have to share…


Tip #2: Put The Odds In Your Favor.

Writers are often encouraged to produce quality over quantity. At face value, this isn’t bad advice. If your stories aren’t well-written, they aren’t likely to take you very far. But as Mandy explains in Landing Your First Publication, there’s value to be found in producing quantity as well.

The more short stories you write, the better you’ll become at writing them and the better your chances of stumbling upon an idea that editors adore. By that same principle, the more often you submit your work, the more likely you are to land your first (or next) publication. Producing quality stories is important, no doubt. But it’s quantity that puts the odds in your favor, so go forth and put in the work.

Tip #3: Feed Your Inspiration.

To write a weekly short story, you’ll need a wealth of inspiration. Rather than brainstorming new story ideas from scratch, take advantage of one seriously epic tool at your fingertips: writing prompts.

Landing Your First Publication includes over a years’ worth of writing prompts designed for all genres and writing styles. Prompts range from lines of dialogue to surprising circumstances, character quirks, title ideas, and beyond — all neatly compiled in eight beautiful journal-style layouts.

Tip #4: Find your Submission Focus.

Before diving into submissions, it’s important to identity your publication goals. Do you want to publish quickly, build an extensive backlist, seek prestige from top-tier publications, or pursue opportunities that come with a pay day?

After identifying your submission focus, do your research. In Landing Your First Publication, Mandy lists some of the top ways to find publication opportunities that best fit your publication goals.

Tip #5: Celebrate rejection.

Editors and slush pile readers have unique tastes and preferences, meaning you shouldn’t take rejection personally. Just because one short story didn’t work for one editor doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer. That same short story is likely to find a happy home at another publication.

When rejections roll in, recognize them for what they are: proof of effort. You can’t receive disappointing news if you aren’t putting your work out into the world, if you aren’t chasing your publication dream. Every rejection brings you closer to your first or next acceptance. Because with patience and perseverance, you will land your first publication. It’s only a matter of time. 


One thing I love about Landing Your First Publication is that Mandy shares more than just the prompts and strategies that will help you make your writing dream a reality. She also includes the tools you need to make that work happen.

Two of my favorite resources in this book are the cover letter template and the submission tracker. The former breaks down everything you need to include when writing your submission letter to an editor, while the submission tracker helps you stay organized as you submit and re-submit multiple pieces to multiple publications.

If you’re interested in publishing short stories but find yourself overwhelmed by the submission process, Landing Your First Publication is one epic prompt and strategy guide you don’t want to miss. Mandy demystifies the entire process so you can start chasing your publication goals with confidence and clarity.

More About: Landing Your First Publication

— by Mandy Wallace, available now

This practical, stripped-down approach to writing and publishing short stories includes only what you need to hurdle past writer’s block, beat advice overwhelm, and just get started.

Find the right psychological approach that gets “luck” working for your publication goals instead of against them. The writing prompts come in eight journal-style page layouts. In-book and downloadable tools include a submissions tracker, cover letter worksheet and template, muse pages, and where to submit stories.

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