Posted by: Jeanie F | May 1, 2010

One Story – “One Great Short Story in the Mail Every Three Weeks”

One day several months ago I went to my mailbox expecting to find only the usual array of  junk – catalogs, flyers, requests from charities…I can’t even look forward to getting bills in the mail, since so many now arrive and are paid electronically. My mailbox has developed a sad, dejected look since one of the magazine-holding things (prongs? cradles? holders?) rusted and fell off.

So deeply hidden between the Pottery Barn catalog and the Ralphs Grocery flyer that I nearly missed it was a small white envelope, the return address reading “One Story”  and a”Nonprofit Org” US postage imprint in the upper right. The address showed me to be customer #29426. I didn’t remember becoming a customer, and the “nonprofit” imprint threw me off. I very nearly tossed it with the other mail, thinking it was a new charity trying to get me to donate by sending a product I felt compelled to pay for.

How fortunate that I allowed myself to be sucked in by the “One Story” return address, because it turns out that – as a surprise – my sweet sister bought me a subscription ($21/year) to this little literary gem. And One Story delivers exactly what it promises – one great short story in the mail every three weeks. For those so inclined, it is also now available on the Amazon Kindle.

issueOne Story comes is a small, reader-friendly volume, 5″ x 7″, paperbound. This makes it easy to drop in a purse or backpack, and the perfect companion when you are waiting at the dentist, or for a bus, or for a meeting to begin (note: also small enough to hide inside the file folder full of documents you should be reading at work). In fact, the publishers say:

“Our mission is to save the short story by publishing in a friendly format that allows readers to experience each story as a stand-alone work of art and a simple form of entertainment. One Story is designed to fit into your purse or pocket, and into your life.”

But the format isn’t the only thing to love about One Story. The stories themselves are terrific and are great publishing opportunities for emerging writers. The policy is that each writer will appear only once, which ensures a variety of reading experiences.

One Story is supported by a good website and blog which features, among other things, interesting author interviews. You can sign up here for two free trial issues. This is a nonprofit, dedicated to keeping the short story alive, and a donation buys you an affordable subscription to a year’s worth of some pretty wonderful reading for less than the price of many trade paperbacks. And – if you’re an emerging writer – they accept submissions.

I think all this makes it a great investment, but don’t take my word for it. The New York Times says

“At a time when literary writing seems like a dying art, when little magazines are folding left and right, when publishers bemoan the sinking bottom line, here lies a spot of hope. It is called One Story magazine.” 


  1. This kind of reminds me of when short stories in the Times magazine would be a really big deal, what a great idea.

  2. I love it! And it always amazes me what new and clever ideas people come up with!

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