"At a time when the publishing world appears saturated with how-to books on writing, author and editor Windy Lynn Harris has crafted a guide that truly stands out--an easy-to-read, no-nonsense compendium of original wisdom on the art and science of short prose. Unlike many other volumes on the market, Writing & Selling Short Stories & Personal Essays offers insights into two related but distinct challenges--writing successful stories and essays, and marketing those works once they are written. The book abounds with first-rate advice and draws upon numerous practical examples. Harris clearly has mastered the distinct crafts of writing and publishing--and she can help you do so too. If you're only going to buy one book to launch your career as a writing professional, this is the book." --Jacob M. Appel, author of The Mask of Sanity
"Better pick up several copies, because you will be handing them out to friends and students. Windy Lynn Harris's Writing & Selling Short Stories & Personal Essays: The Essential Guide to Getting Your Work Published demystifies the process of writing and publishing short form writing with refreshing clarity and ease. There is something here for writers of every skill level and experience. Harris's professional experience as a published author, editor, and consultant shine in this guide. Her patience and knowledge emerge from the pages as though you have a mentor to assist you along the journey." --April Bradley, writer, editor, and Pushcart nominee.
"Windy Lynn Harris has succeeded in writing a thorough, engaging, easy to understand 'how-to' bible for the writing industry. It's chock full of great writing samples, templates, and clear instructions on both craft and marketing. There is something for everyone in this book; both the novice and the published writer will gain much from studying these pages. I, for one, will keep a copy close to my desk, no doubt dog-earring pages and re-reading Harris's sage advice again and again." --Alice Kaltman, author of Staggerwing and Wavehouse (2018)
"Windy's book, Writing & Selling Short Stories & Personal Essays: The Essential Guide to Getting Your Work Published, is a practical and user-friendly guide to add those coveted bylines to your resume. Each section of the book breaks down what you need to know to garner success in your writing career." --Rudri Bhatt Patel, essayist and co-founder/co-editor of The Sunlight Press
"Finally! A straightforward guide to polishing, formatting, and publishing essays and short stories. Windy Lynn Harris demystifies the process and makes it easy to navigate the path to publishing. This book will have a permanent place on my desk." --Susan Pohlman, essayist and author of Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought Our Family Home
"This gem of a book is chock full of helpful tips and advice for writers who want to break into the short fiction and/or essay market. Along with detailed advice on the craft of writing short stories and essays, you will also find databases and resources for publishing your polished work. Writing & Selling Short Stories & Personal Essays is a must-have for every writer's bookshelf." --Jeanne Lyet Gassman, author of the Independent Publisher Book Award-winning Blood of a Stone
"Writers, here it is--the one book you need to start your journey to writing and publishing. Windy Lynn Harris, herself a seasoned writer, is your sure-footed tour guide who teaches you the language of the locals. Part MFA professor, part cheerleader, and always your trusted mentor, Windy draws on her own experience as writer and writing coach to demystify the craft and process of writing and publishing short stories and essays. Beginners can rely on this book to teach them everything they need to know from the basic structure and scope of short stories and essays to where and how to publish them. Seasoned writers will learn more than a few new tricks of the trade. The numerous top ten tips alone are worth the price of admission. Though there are many books on craft out there, and others on publishing, this book is truly your one-stop shopping!" --Jennifer Kircher Karr, co-founder of WordTango and winner of the Nebraska Review's Fiction Prize.
"Rooted in the context of the current short-form literary landscape, Writing & Selling Short Stories & Personal Essays is more than an excellent source of information. Each page is the best kind of companion--one who helps you out while also cheering you on. Functioning as both a craft book and an informative guide, Harris's unique collection helps us first to find the most succinct way to put our experiences and ideas on the page, and then how to get our words out into the world. I'm not quite sure how anyone has been able to write effectively in the short form genre prior to this book's existence." --Chelsey Clammer (author of Circadian and BodyHome)
"Writing & Selling Short Stories & Personal Essays is a brilliant and concise guide to writing compelling work and getting it published. From sharpening the implements in your creative writing toolbox, to crafting a perfect cover letter, and identifying the best markets for your work, Windy Lynn Harris delivers expert advice for every stage of the process. When it comes to writing short work and getting it published Windy tells her readers 'you can do this,' and with her book you will!" --Elizabeth Pettie, co-founder of WordTango
"Platform, platform, platform--it's what all literary agents and traditional publishers want from their aspiring authors. But how do you earn those bylines in magazines and literary journals that get you noticed? Writing & Selling Short Stories & Personal Essays is the guide for any writer who wants to craft excellent short stories and essays and then see them in print. It's hard work, but with Windy Lynn Harris as your guide, you won't even notice the sweat!" --Stuart Horwitz, award-winning author and founder of Book Architecture
"Writing & Selling Short Stories and Personal Essays is like getting two books in one: One part top-notch instructional manual that includes tips from the author's own personal writing journey, and one part practical guide to success in this business. Reading Windy Lynn Harris is like having an industry expert sitting beside you, offering counsel and answers about everything from finding the right critique group to the right outlet for your finished piece of writing. A unique five-point process all but ensures no piece of work will go unpublished. With this book at your side, not only will your writing leap to new heights, but your career as a published author will too." --Jenny Milchman, USA Today best-selling author of Cover of Snow, Ruin Falls, & As Night Falls, and the forthcoming Wicked River
[Can you impress us in 1500 words or less? Enter the Short Short Story Competition today! Deadline January 15, 2018]
Image by Jimi Filipovski on Unsplash
by Windy Lynn Harris
The reprint market isn’t just for nonfiction articles. If you’re looking to sell a short story, personal essay or a poem that’s already been published, there’s a good chance you can sell it again. More great news: Those terrific pieces you published on your blog? They can find a new home in the reprint market, too! Any previously published creative short that you’ve retained the rights to can be published a second (or third!) time.
Here’s everything you need to know:
WHAT QUALIFIES AS “PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED”?
Any time you’ve used or sold the First Rights to a piece of writing, it is considered “published” and can be sold as a reprint. Here are the most common examples:
- Any piece that has been published in a magazine or newspaper (in print or online).
- Blog posts.
- Website material.
- Social network posts (any piece of personal writing you’ve shared on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc).
SECOND SERIAL RIGHTS
The first time you sell a short story or another piece of writing (or post it yourself online), you are granting First Rights. After that, you’re only be able to sell Second Rights for that piece of work (also called Reprint Rights).
When your story or essay is published in a magazine, the publishing rights typically return to you 180 days later (from the date of publishing, not the date of your contract). Read your contract carefully to make sure you know when your rights are back in your hands. When you post something on your blog or website, you retain your rights and are able to sell them at any time. For more information about the rights you sell, you can visit the Copyright office: https://www.copyright.gov.
WHAT IF I REWRITE A PIECE FROM MY BLOG. IS IT NEW AGAIN?
You’ll likely fluff up a blog post before submitting it to a magazine, but unless you’ve completely rewritten the idea with all new words, it will still be considered “published.” Good news: There are plenty of magazines looking for great writing that’s been published before! Sell it as a reprint!
[Transforming a Short Story Into a Novel]
Magazines don’t want your great story or poem to be in two magazines at the same time. It’s best to leave a nice grace period between the day you get your rights back and the day you submit your work to a new magazine—typically one year. It’s different when you’re targeting a whole new reading audience, though. For example: If you’ve sold an essay to a regional magazine, you can submit it to a different region’s magazines as soon as your rights have been returned.
It’s also considered good manners to remove a piece from your blog or website before submitting it to magazines.
Double-check that potential magazines accept reprints before sending your work. The reprint market for short creative pieces is big, but it’s only a fraction of the overall magazines. Always tell potential editors that you are submitting a reprint in your cover letter. Include the place and date of original publication.
MAGAZINES ACQUIRING REPRINTS
Many magazines accept poems, essays, and short stories that have been published before. Here’s a list of ten to get you started:
- After The Pause (poetry, short stories)
- Carrier Pigeon (short stories, short plays, and poetry)
- Eunoia Review (poetry, short fiction, essays)
- Frigg (short stories, poetry, essays)
- Gingko (short stories, poetry, essays)
- Lock Raven Review (poetry and short fiction)
- Luna Station (speculative short fiction by women)
- PULP (short fiction)
- Stepping Stones (poetry, short fiction, essays)
- The Bark (essays, poetry, and fiction about dogs)
WHERE TO FIND MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR REPRINTS
Visit these writing resources to find other magazines accepting reprints:
Take a day this month and review your reprint possibilities. Don’t forget those blog posts and anything you’ve shared on social media. Create a list of potential magazines for your work and get your writing back out the door!
Windy Lynn Harris is the author of Writing & Selling Short Stories & Personal Essays: The Essential Guide to Getting Your Work Published ( from Writer’s Digest Books). She’s a prolific writer, a trusted mentor, and a frequent speaker at literary events. Her long list of short stories and personal essays have been published in literary, trade, and women’s magazines across the U.S. and Canada in places like The Literary Review,The Sunlight Press, and Literary Mama, among many other journals. She is also a freelance developmental editor-for-hire specializing in short prose. Learn more about selling short creative pieces at www.windylynnharris.com.
Are you ready to push yourself beyond your comfort zone and take your writing to new heights? This novel writing workshop is designed for novelists who are looking for book editing and specific feedback on their work. When you take this online workshop, you won’t have weekly reading assignments or lectures. Instead, you’ll get to focus solely on completing your novel. Learn more and register.
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