“No one is ever going to publish anything I write.”
Has that thought ever plagued you?
If so, you’ll find my chat with Tracy Crump encouraging.
Tracy had a couple of published articles under her belt when an opportunity to submit stories to a Chicken Soup for the Soul® anthology came her way.
Despite her misgivings, Tracy submitted five stories. Two were accepted and published.
Fast forward a few years. Tracy has contributed more than 30 stories to Chicken Soup for the Soul and other anthologies, and she teaches regularly on how to write for anthologies.
The great thing about writing for Chicken Soup for the Soul, says Tracy, is that “they accept stories from anyone. You can be a beginning writer; you can be an experienced writer.”
Her mantra is, “If I can do it, you can do it.”
During our chat, Tracy shares insider tips on how to write for Chicken Soup for the Soul – the world’s most popular anthology series, with more than 300 titles published.
Chicken Soup for the Soul receives an average of 3,000 submissions per book and publishes 101 stories in each book.
Like most publishing venues, the competition is fierce, so it’s extremely important to follow the submission guidelines.
Tracy fleshes out each of following points.
“Chicken Soup for the Soul is all about story.”
They’re looking for true, inspirational stories written from the first-person point-of-view.
They do not accept:
- Journal entries
- Stories centered around controversial or political issues
Write a “snapshot” story – a close-up, down-to-earth story focused on one event, moment, or personality trait – not a panoramic life story or memoir.
Paint pictures for the reader: show, don’t tell; use strong verbs and nouns.
The 1,200-word (maximum) story must be complete, with a clear beginning, middle, and end.
Your story should include four elements:
- Action – Dive in to the action.
- Dialog – “Treat dialog like salt; a little bit goes a long way.”
- Conflict – Focus on something the main character must overcome.
- Resolution – “Tie it up with a bow.”
Do not submit previously published material, with the exception of stories published in a small, local venue with limited circulation (make sure you inform the editor about previous publication when submitting your story)
Tracy and I wrap up by discussing what to expect, in terms of payment.
About Tracy Crump
Tracy is a writer, speaker, and editor best known for contributing more than thirty stories to Chicken Soup for the Soul® and other anthologies. Her course, “How to Write for Chicken Soup for the Soul,” is one of Serious Writer’s top sellers, and she teaches workshops and webinars on writing for the series.
Disclaimer: Tracy is not an employee or representative of Chicken Soup for the Soul; she speaks from her experience in writing for the series.
Tracy has published more than one hundred devotions and dispenses hope to a COVID-weary world in her book, Health, Healing, and Wholeness: Devotions of Hope in the Midst of Illness (released June 1, 2021).
Her articles have been featured in magazines such as Focus on the Family, ParentLife, Mature Living, and Woman’s World.
As co-director of Write Life Workshops, Tracy encourages others to “Writer Better! Write Now!” She edits a popular newsletter with story callouts that has inspired many to move forward with their writing, and her love of teaching takes her to conferences where she helps writers hone their craft.
She is also a freelance editor and a proofreader for Farmers’ Almanac and has served as registrar for the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference for seven years. But her most important job is Grandma to four completely unspoiled grandchildren.
Tracy is represented by Cyle Young Literary Elite. Visit her at TracyCrump.com.
Chicken Soup for the Soul Resources
Tracy’s Newsletter (includes story callouts for several anthologies)
More Episodes on Short-Form Writing & Breaking In to Publishing
Three Things That Pull Readers Out of a Story
How to Keep Up With the Show
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