Do you want to write short stories? I LOVE short fiction, because not only are short stories the simplest form of book marketing, they sell.
Browse your favorite online book retailer. You’ll see that traditional publishers have caught on. These big publishers are flailing their big-name authors with a whip to write short stories.
Why write short stories?
- They sell. Readers love them. Everyone’s pressed for time these days, and short stories deliver a reader’s favorite form of entertainment fast.
- In fact, authors can charge as much for short stories as they can for novels.
- Short stories are the lazy author’s strategy for book marketing: every story you write is a gateway to your fiction. Write a short story, publish it, and you’ve just created something that will keep on marketing for you as long as you keep the ebook online.
- Short stories are quick to write. You can write a short story on a lazy Sunday afternoon and publish it on Monday.
So everything’s rosy, right?
Well… except for the misinformation.
Beware the misinformation about short stories
Wonderful as short stories are, there’s huge misinformation about them around.
Magazines which publish short stories don’t pay (sorta kinda true, but who cares?)
You’ll hear “magazines which publish short stories don’t pay” from neophyte authors who want to be “published” by literary magazines.
These authors want validation. They don’t want to get into self-publishing. Wish them godspeed and ignore them.
You’ll also hear that book collections of short stories don’t sell. Untrue. Bundles of short stories sell brilliantly on Amazon.
(Sigh. I find this sort of rubbish depressing, so excuse me while I faceplant onto my desk.)
Short stories get rejected (same crowd as above, ignore)
You’re not writing literary fiction — which never pays anyone other than a few literary critics who love to tell others what they should like — you’re writing commercial fiction for a wide, and paying, audience.
The only people who can “reject” your short stories are readers who will do it by not buying them. This may happen, but if you’re writing great short stories for a specific purpose (more on this in our short story class) it’s unlikely.
You should give your short stories away, or only sell them for 99 cents
No, you should NOT.
If you’re sensible, you’ll price your short stories according to genre, and what you want to achieve. Aim to price most of your short stories at $2.99. Never, ever, price at free, or at 99 cents for any reason — you’re telling readers that your story is junk.
Authors are making a fine living writing short stories and pricing them at $3.99, so emulate them if you’d like to be paid for your writing, instead of giving your ebooks away.
That said, you’ll do what you do — but if you take nothing else from this article, please realize that pricing your ebooks at “free” or “99 cents” is actively doing you harm.
Onward… I hope that this article inspires you to make short stories part of your publishing plans in 2018. 🙂
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