Written by A Guest Author May 2nd, 2024

How I Turned My First Short Story Acceptance Into Four More Publications

By Dannye Chase

Three years ago, on a bright April day, I finally got up the courage to hit “send” on my first story submission, for Improbable Press’s Dark Cheer: Cryptids Emerging anthology. (Well, okay, technically I made my spouse hit “send” for me.)

When the reply came, it took a moment for the word “accepted” to sink in. Little did I know this acceptance would lead to four more story sales with Improbable and its mother press, Clan Destine. The trick? Presses like to work with people who are nice. Yep, that’s it. In publishing, writers and editors are co-workers. Here’s how to be the partner they want.

Be Professional.

Writing is emotional, but it’s important to remember that this is a job and you are at work. Be friendly and polite in your emails, and that includes replying in a timely manner. If there is a conflict, handle it like a pro. Plus, be a partner in publicity: hype the press and publication in your social media, put an excerpt on your website, and tell your real-life friends. Presses love to work with people who are as enthusiastic about the publication as they are.

Don’t Be a Lot of Work.

Like anybody, editors would love to complete a project with as little work as possible. They want people who will hit deadlines and submit a polished story without much editing needed. And while in the editing phase, remember your editor loves your piece or she wouldn’t have accepted it. Allow her to help you make it shine. If you have a sincere objection to a proposed edit, negotiate politely.

Write a Good Story.

Besides Improbable and Clan Destine, I’ve received requests for more work from magazines and podcasts. But invitations are not guaranteed acceptances. You might be friends with your editor, but she still needs a story that follows the submission guidelines. Maintaining a working relationship takes effort. And don’t forget, an editor should work equally hard to be a good coworker to you.

There’s More to Writing than Writing.

Working with Improbable helped me meet some wonderful publishers, editors, cover artists, and writers, many of whom have also published multiple times with the press. I’ve learned over the last three years that to be a successful writer, you need talent. But you also need friends. And guess what? If you’re wonderful to work with, editors may just recommend you to their friends.

Bio: Dannye Chase is a queer writer from the US Pacific Northwest. She claims to write in many genres, but her son suspects it all boils down to either romance or horror…or somehow both. Dannye shares writing advice and weird writing prompts at DannyeChase.com


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