A budding novelist asked:

I’ve written a couple of romantic short stories. My friends say I might be able to get them electronically-published in an anthology. How do you go about querying an E publisher? Is it different for stories than for a novel?

The odds favor novels, whether you’re dealing with print or electronic publishers. Although one of the hallmarks of E publishing is its variety, both in terms of publishing houses and content, it is still more difficult to market short fiction. Therefore, if you have a good story idea, you might take another look at your work to see if you can expand it to novella length, if not a full-length novel.

But no matter the length or genre of fiction, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of doing your homework before you attempt to send a query or submission. This is just common sense, but it’s even more critical for E publishers than traditional print houses.

Electronic publishing is a fluid, dynamic arena. Formats and platforms are continually in flux as technology changes. New publishers spring up; others are phased out. Editorial direction can swerve in a matter of weeks. So the first rule is to visit the publisher’s website and click around a bit. Is this a publisher with other fiction for sale? What genres are featured and for what readership? Some E publishers offer children and young adult reading material while others do not. Some houses offer a range of adult fiction genres while others have become known in the industry for focusing almost exclusively on romance.

Look at the submission guidelines. Is this E publisher even open for submissions at the present time? What word lengths will be considered? Some are more likely to consider the ponderous novel of 150,000 words than a short story of only 2,000. And what are the requirements for submissions, beginning with the question of query letters.

Yes, it’s a question, because some E houses will not look at queries. Sending a query letter to such a publishing house only guarantees your post will be ignored. Many E houses have a contact link provided should you have questions as to whether your material would be appropriate for their needs. Use this to send a query, but remember to keep it brief.

One last point: despite a higher royalty percentage for E publishing over standard print royalty rates, electronic sales are typically lower than for print works. Since anthology royalties are divided amongst contributors, a fairly prolific writer might be wise to finish several stories and try marketing them together as a book.


Shannah Biondine
Historical & Paranormal Romances
Official Romance Guide,

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