My Short Story Got Published!

Why all the publishing advice in the world is a total toss-up.

Shelby Sullivan


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I’m so, so happy to announce that I recently got my short story, “I Am The Keeper” published in The Gateway Review: A Journal of Magical Realism!

While it isn’t available to read yet, my hard copy came, and though this is my second published short fiction, I never get used to the feeling of holding my own writing in my hands.

But the road to publishing this short story is a weird one, and not what I normally see in those “how to publish” articles I read all the time.

How I Got Published

This is the fast version of the publishing story — which was also pretty fast!

I wrote “I Am The Keeper” based on a Reedsy prompt which required an inclusion of the phrase: my lips are sealed.

In about two hours I had a 1,500-word rough draft. I polished it up over the course of a couple days before posting it to the prompt contest on Reedsy’s site. I didn’t win the contest, nor the $250 prize money offered at the time.

Instead, I got a single reader review saying that it was a good story, which made me feel pretty proud. So, I let it sit in my Google Docs folder for a few months before I thought: “Hm, is it good enough to publish?”

Once again, I reevaluated the piece, changed some words around, rewrote a scene, and sent it off using Submittable to try and find a literary press or journal that would accept it.

I didn’t do much in the way of meticulously combing through submission guidelines. It was around 1,500 words and would fit in many journals’ definitions of “flash fiction” or “short story” and aimed for those.

I didn’t even go into the submission process with a genre target in mind. That’s because I wasn’t really sure what genre my story fell into until I saw some calls looking for magical realism.

I thought “Huh, that could be my genre.”

I applied to maybe 5 calls for magical realism before I got caught up with other things — like switching from being a freelancer to a salary content writer and moving across the country. (A story for another day).



Shelby Sullivan

6 years as a professional writer, editor, blogger, and designer. Learn to make book covers and contact me at !