I first published this post almost TWO years ago. Today, more writers are paying attention to self publishing. And because fiction outsells nonfiction on Amazon by six to one, and because of the Kindle Unlimited effect, they’re vitally interested in Kindle short stories. You can write short stories FAST, and they sell very well.
Want to write short stories and publish them on the Kindle? I’ve had many questions: writers want to know how to get started cashing in on the popularity of Kindle short stories.
If you’re used to writing articles, it’s a real challenge to turn on your imagination and write short stories.
Here’s a little scenario. Our writer, Jenny, writes for the Web. Now she wants to write short fiction. She loves paranormal stories – vampires, ghosts, werewolves, time travel, and so on. Not my favorite reading, but millions of readers love them. (Consider the bestselling Twilight series of books.)
So, the first step in writing is to choose a popular genre you LOVE to read. If you love romances, horror, thrillers, fantasy – you’re all set. The hard part of getting started is done.
Jenny decides she’s writing romantic time travel short stories. However, she’s not sure how much to write. How long should her short stories be?
Try this list:
Novel: over 50,000 words
Novella: 15,000 words and up to 40,000 words
Short story: under 10,000 words and up to 15,000 words
Jenny decides that her short stories will be somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 words.
Stick to One Genre.
Your aim in writing short stories is to appeal to a certain kind of reader – a reader who loves what you write, and will buy all of your short stories. Therefore, for your series of short stories, write at least 20 before you switch genres. Get established, with a readership, and then you can change genres if you like.
A reader asked: “What if I write five erotic short stories, and hate it? Can I write something else?”
Always write what you LOVE. Over the years, I’ve written just for money, and I promise you, readers can tell. So if you write a few short stories in Genre A, and feel as if your brain will explode, switch genres. If you don’t believe in what you’re writing, your readers won’t either.
Turn on Your Imagination…
We discussed plotting in our article on making money with short stories.
Jenny decides that she’ll spend a couple of hours brainstorming various situations, starting with the words, “what if?”
- A woman wrecks her car, and wakes up in a medieval street. She’s attacked by a dog, and is saved by a knight on a white horse. (Hey – we’re brainstorming, anything is allowed. Just write SOMETHING. You can work with your ideas later.)
- A woman visits an old house in the middle of nowhere. She’s been left the house in her grandmother’s will. The house is empty. Suddenly the air shimmers around her, and the house is furnished, in Victorian style…
- On a happy day out at an English stately home, a woman’s husband tells her he wants a divorce. She runs away into the gardens. She’s too miserable to pay attention. Suddenly it gets very dark, and she falls asleep. When she wakes up, she realizes that she’s in Elizabethan England, the era when the house was built.
And so on, and so forth. Come up with as many situations as you can in the time you’ve allotted, no matter how silly the situations seem. Ideas spark other ideas, so an idea which seems hopelessly trite, can turn into a gem of an idea.
ANYTHING that gets you writing is worthwhile. Get some words onto the computer screen. Then work with them.
Over the course of two hours, Jenny ends up with 20 ideas. She combines a couple of ideas, and she’s inspired. She spends an hour a day over the next week, and she’s written a short story.
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Post updated on April 30, 2015.