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I mean under 100k, probably less than 50k because it's a short story. Actually, I'm not sure how many words a short story has so I have two questions. How short is a short story and is it worth the effort to write a short story if your goal is to be published? If all is good can anyone recommend a publisher for short stories (scifi type)?

edit: based on comment. I thought as a book but never really thought about the other places. Maybe the question should be where can a short story hope to get published.

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Published where - in a magazine? In book form? As a collection? –  justkt Dec 6 '10 at 18:52
    
@johnny - in response to your edit - yes. The correct question is the one you just asked. Short stories get published all the time. –  justkt Dec 6 '10 at 20:34
    
@justkt where, how, what do you do? Take scifi for example, where? –  johnny Dec 6 '10 at 20:45
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@John - why not flesh this out into an answer when you get a spare moment? –  justkt Dec 6 '10 at 21:01
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Aside: consider using short stories to get your name out there and gain a few fans for when you release a book (a novel or even a new short story collection). Getting your story in front of the most people is more important than the most prestigious or best-paying periodical. –  MGOwen Dec 8 '10 at 0:40
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2 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

The standard initial market for a short story is a literary magazine. Famous examples include The New Yorker for literary fiction and poetry. For science fiction and fantasy genres, notable options include Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov's, and others. As a general rule more prestigious magazines are able to be more choosy on what they end up publishing. Beyond some of these few links, there are tons of places to find magazines of all sorts to submit to:

  • Writer's Market is a yearly publication with a subscription website you can check out
  • Ralan's is specifically geared towards science fiction, fantasy, and humor
  • Duotrope has some great search features for their database of publications.

From these magazines it might be possible that your short story could go on to end up in something like Pushcart. There's also the annual Best American Short Stories. You can look into short story contests (even narrowing the search to science fiction short stories only).

There are lots of options. Just don't get discouraged by potential rejection letters along the way and keep polishing, editing, revising, and submitting.

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thank you for taking the time to answer me. –  johnny Dec 6 '10 at 21:11
    
You might want to edit to correct the spelling of Duotrop**e**. –  JSBձոգչ Dec 7 '10 at 17:59
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You can also submit to Escape Pod, which will make you a lot more famous (much bigger "customer" base than any magazines) but they do usually run stuff that's already appeared elsewhere (reputable online or print magazine) so those may be your best bet. –  MGOwen Dec 8 '10 at 0:35
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If "100k" and "50k" are word-counts (and in this context, that's certainly what I'd expect), that's "novella" (for ~50k words) up to "novel-length" (at 100k words).

According to FictionFactor's word-count page, a "short story" is typically between 1000 and 7500 words, "novel" spans the 50k to 110k word span and novellas clock in at the 20k to 50k word mark.

As to finding a market for your story, see justkt's excellent answer.

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thanks. I needed that information. –  johnny Dec 7 '10 at 19:37
    
Tha word-count page is priceless, good to bookmark, thanks! –  Jürgen A. Erhard Dec 10 '10 at 0:35
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