View Full Version : Short Story Agents?

12-12-2008, 09:37 AM
Hi, everyone. I don't know if this question belongs here, but I'll ask it anyways...

Do agents represent short story writers as well as novelists? Or, if not, is there any other representation you would recommend besides submitting to magazines/contests/etc. on your own? At this point, I don't have the attention span for writing a novel, but still want to have some help getting my work into the writing world.


12-12-2008, 09:58 AM
Unfortunately, from my understanding, that just doesn't happen. Think about it. The short story markets are so sparse, and so few pay. And even when they do pay, they typically pay so little (unless you're a famous novelist, usually), that it just isn't worth an agent's time and energy to submit. Even if a literary magazine pays, say, $1000 (so rare!) for your story, the agent would only make $150.

The exception: when you're already a published novelist. Then your agent can help you get short stories included in anthologies and similar projects closed to unpublished authors. For now, just do the research and submit yourself.... and start brainstorming ways to expand one of your stories into a novel.

12-12-2008, 10:09 AM
wandergirl - Thank you!

And that is unfortunate that the short story markets are few and far between, but because that is the case, it makes sense that agents wouldn't be willing to represent writers who only write short stories.

Anyways, thanks for the clarification and advice!


12-12-2008, 11:43 AM
The good news is, there are a lot of ezines out there--some even pay.

Have you heard of Duotrope's Digest? It's a great way to search for markets by genre:


Good luck and have fun!

12-12-2008, 10:28 PM
I agree with mysterygrl. Publishing a couple short stories in lit journals never hurts, as long as the journals discriminate and only selection a portion of submissions. They don't have to be Atlantic Monthly. Even if you make little or no money, it'll represent an honest-to-goodness publishing cred (as long as we're talking an actual journal, online or off, not just a blog).

One of my first short story publications was in an nonpaying online journal. But that year, the editors selected my story for nomination for the Million Writers Award (http://www.storysouth.com/millionwriters.html). And then they included it in that year's print anthology. So it was a great experience overall.

12-13-2008, 02:11 AM
Thank you for your suggestions, mysterygirl!

And wandergirl, that's really exciting! Congratulations!

12-13-2008, 04:46 AM
Actually that is not entirely correct- My agent represents several authors who write short stories and who have published short story collections- And they aren't famous either-
You have to write them and submit them AND get published in legit literary magazines-and then create enough for a collection -
BUT if you haven't created a body of work then by looking for an agent you are putting the cart before the horse...I just LOVE cliches...

12-13-2008, 05:15 AM
Listen to Orion.

And maybe find out who Jhumpa Lahiri's agent is.

12-13-2008, 09:52 AM
Thanks, Orion. However, of the authors who write short stories and your agent represents, how many of them were first represented with a novel? I feel like, though it is possible to get an agent for short stories, it's a much rarer occurrence than getting one for a novel...

lkp - Thanks for the tip...


12-13-2008, 04:50 PM
Like Orion said, if you publish enough short stories to make a collection, you can get an agent to then sell that collection as a book. You won't get an agent by writing one short story. You might be able to get one with a collection of stories -- a lot of writers publish a collection of short stories before a novel, particularly if you write literary fiction. However, you have a much better chance if you first publish the stories (or some of them) independently in literary journals.

12-13-2008, 05:08 PM

Great link! Thank you.

12-13-2008, 09:36 PM
illterwrite - Thanks for clarifying - I guess I misread Orion's post. That makes much more sense.