One of the drawbacks of writing stories for magazines is that once they've been published (as wonderful as that is) the possibility of them being seen anywhere else is very small. Commercial magazines are only interested in previously unpublished stories. Some small press magazines accept reprints but they offer little or no payment. I was lucky enough to sell a few of my early stories to foreign magazines after they'd appeared in the UK, but these days most magazines want more than just First British Rights - even if they don't intend to use those other rights - so that option is becoming rarer.
Having a story appear only once is, of course, better than not being published at all, but it's particularly frustrating when you find that your story has been edited in such a way that, at first, you don't even recognise it!
In 2000, I was thrilled when my short story Dreamers was a runner-up in a Woman's Realm writing competition. Part of the prize was publication in the magazine and I couldn't wait to open my contributor's copy! The competition results were announced over three pages and, understandably, the first prize winning story took up most of that space. I could see Dreamers had been drastically cut to fit its 1,000 words into half a page. Never mind, it was still my story. Or was it? I think I probably groaned out loud when I started to read it. Some of what I had thought were the important details of the story were missing, and one paragraph simply didn't make any sense at all! I imagined other readers groaning too. How had this story been chosen as a competition runner-up? It was rubbish!
Fast forward 13 years ...
I discovered Alfie Dog Fiction, an independent publisher specialising in short stories, and - oh joy! - they're willing to consider stories that have been published before. I submitted the full version of Dreamers and I'm very pleased to report that they have now made the whole story available to read on a kindle, computer, iphone etc. for just 39 pence!