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Assume I have just written my first short story. I showed it to a few friends and they seem to like it. For the next step I want to find out if my work has any literary/commercial value.

[You may ignore this part, but at the same time I guess I want to find out whether or not I am talented enough to continue writing, in other words, if I have some core skills that I can polish.]

What is the best way to achieve this in 2017?

Should I look for online magazines that accept submissions? Should I look for online competitions? Should I look into publishing my story on Amazon, or something similar, and see if I get any feedback (assuming anyone buys it)? Should I look for paperback publishers that are interested in absolute beginners (if any)?

All of the above?

Also, what are the rules for publishing - if someone publishes my story, does that mean that another publisher cannot do that anymore?

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    The next step is to have non-friends read it. You can do this through critique groups or through other sites, or maybe your friends can give it to others. I'm in the same position you are at the moment, and in the process of finding readers that are not friends. – DPT Nov 28 '17 at 17:06
  • I wouldn't worry about it. I honestly would look up editors near you and ask if they would take a look at your work. – Aspen the Artist and Author Nov 28 '17 at 17:58
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    I agree with DPT. If you're aiming high, go for more unbiased criticism. Edit until you can say more than your readers 'seem' to like it. Then go to the agents. If you're just looking to get published with what you have, perhaps as a springboard to greater things, look into magazine publishers/editors, and see what they have to say. – Thomas Reinstate Monica Myron Nov 28 '17 at 18:02
  • >short story >Publishing it on Amazon for money. Anon, you're dangerously close to the title of Internet's Public Enemy #1. I don't think a short story could worth that much, and you can always resort to Creating your own site and publishing them there, perhaps in a larger site (i.e: DeviantArt) – Mephistopheles Nov 29 '17 at 20:20
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I use a critique site: http://www.critters.org/

It is a co-op in which you contribute critiques of the stories of others in return for their critiques of yours. I have found it quite useful to think through the problems in other's stories and apply those insights to my own writing.

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  • I just joined there today. It looks useful. – DPT Nov 28 '17 at 23:50

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