Monday, February 15, 2021

The Short Story Market

by Paula Gail Benson

When I first became serious about writing short stories, I discovered a blog called My Little Corner, where author Sandra Seamans provided updates on short story markets. Sadly, we lost Sandra in 2019. A month after her passing, I compiled this message listing remembrances and her stories.

Sandra was a past president of the Short Mystery Fiction Society (SMFS), a group that continues to flourish today under President Robert Lopresti. If you are at all interested in writing or reading mystery short stories, I recommend that you join the group. Membership is free and provides the benefits of connecting with a large number of mystery writers, receiving information about story calls and craft seminars, and being eligible to submit and nominate stories for the prestigious Derringer Awards. Our Vice President, Kevin Tipple, does a phenomenal job of publicizing markets and members’ work on the SMFC blog and markets page as well as his own blog, Kevin’s Corner. [Please note, as Kevin reminds me in a comment below, that during Derringer season, membership in the SMFS is closed. You can join after May 1.]

Recently, the SMFS membership had a vigorous online discussion about Duotrope, a subscription service that provides information about short story markets, and The Submission Grinder, a submission tracker and market database for writers of prose and poetry. Duotrope often has a free trial period for those who wish to check it out. The Submission Grinder compiles reports from submitters to indicate the amount of time it takes to receive an acceptance or rejection.

In the SMFS online discussion, Michael Bracken, an excellent author and editor of short stories, provided a list of Facebook groups that he has joined and consulted to learn about story markets. He pointed out that these links offer information about various genres and both paying and non-paying markets. He cautioned authors to investigate markets before submitting. Here is his list:

Call For Submissions : QUILTBAG

FOR AUTHORS! Calls for Submissions

OPEN CALL: Crime, Thriller, Mystery Markets




Open Submission Calls for Horror/Paranormal/Mystery/SciFi Writers

Open Submission Calls for Romance Writers

Open Submission Calls for Short Story Writers

Michael Bracken has two calls for submissions, one open until the end of February and the other open during the month of March.

Mickey Finn: 21st Century Noir, Volume 3, seeks approximately 5,000 words stories set in a “world where the mean streets seem gentrified by comparison and happy endings are the exception rather than the rule.” Deadline: February 28, 2021.

More information may be found at this link.

Black Cat Mystery Magazine Presents Cozies is open from March 1 through March 31, 2021, for stories about 1,000 to 8,000 words “in which sex and violence occur off stage, the detective is an amateur sleuth, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community.”

For more information, check this link.

Are you a short story writer or thinking about becoming one? Why not check out these links to learn more about the possibilities? 


  1. Reminder, this is Derringer season so the SMFS list is closed to new members till after May 1st.

  2. Thanks, Kevin. I’ll make a note in the message and put up a new reminder at that time.

  3. Thanks, Paula! Lots of good info in one place.

  4. Thanks, Kaye. I hope you are staying warm and well.

    1. So far, so good. I can't say that about many of my friends and family in Texas! You stay warm, too!

  5. Thank you so much, Paula, for this great boost in getting work out there.

  6. Thanks, Paula! This is a terrific list. My condolences on the loss of Sandra Seamans. What a treasure.