Research stories that are similar to yours in terms of plot or style. Use your library to find stories and make a note of the publisher. Look up the publishers on the Internet to determine which would fit your story. Magazines, websites and ezines often pay for short stories so this is where you want to focus your search. Investigate these outlets thoroughly because some have stricter submission requirements than others. One magazine may focus only on horror and science fiction while another publishes drama and mystery works.
Research the publishers thoroughly. If you are still convinced that they would be a good match for your story, try to find available archives which you can read through and get a better feel for the plot, style and tone they publish. Read their submission guidelines thoroughly. Publishers are typically specific and you must stick to their requirements.
Write a cover letter. Make sure the opening paragraph catches the editor’s attention and makes him want to read more. Include a short description of your story and pertinent information about yourself including any other publishing credits or publications in which your work has appeared. Don’t forget to include all of your contact information including your address, email address and telephone number where you can be reached. Sometimes editors guest post on blogs. Research and note any posts an editor may have provided and include this with your cover letter. The publisher will see you are serious about wanting to work with them.
Send your cover letter and manuscript. Depending on the publisher’s guidelines, the editor will require certain information. Some publishers require just a few pages of the story while others want the entire manuscript. Make sure you follow the guidelines closely because any deviation will result in your story not being read. If you are submitting your manuscript through the postal service, remember to include a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) so that the editor can contact you.
Keep track of all submissions you send. Use a journal or computer database to log what publisher your manuscript was sent to, what dates you submitted it, the publisher’s response time and what date they accepted or rejected your submission.