Let’s look at the benefits of writing short stories.
Short stories are fast to write
I enjoy writing short stories, and have a couple of ghostwriting clients who’ll take all the stories I care to write. Students ask about length. The short answer, as long as it takes to tell the story.
Here’s a slightly longer answer, and a weaselly answer at that… 🙂 Theoretically, you can write flash fiction, a very short short story, under a thousand words, and sell it. However, authors occasionally find that Amazon takes exception to ebooks under 2,000 words.
In practice, I tend to write short stories at around 7,000 to 10,000 words. That gives me space for around three scenes. Occasionally I write stories at 3,000 words, if an idea happens to jump into my head.
Write at whatever length you choose. If your idea machine offers you ideas which you write at 1,000 words each, combine several stories into an ebook, and upload them to Amazon.
Short stories are fun to write
I enjoy fiction, because I can let myself go. I can write about the couple I saw in the coffee shop who were having an intense argument. I can imagine how it felt to live in the Australian bush a century ago.
Here’s the thing about short stories. They’re handy to test ideas. Spending a year writing a novel, and then discovering that no one wants your tale of zombies which terrorize a colony on Mars, is shattering. You can write a short story about your Martian zombies in a a couple of days. Does it make sales? Yippee — write another one. And another.
Finally, you can write your zombie/ Mars novel. (Just remember what we said about mailing lists when you’re writing your stories.)
Short stories are profitable (if you know what you’re doing)
78,000 new ebooks went up onto Amazon in the past 30 days. That’s a lot of ebooks. You won’t get rich by writing a short story and publishing it. Even writing 30 short stories, and publishing them, probably won’t make you enough consistent income to quit your day job. However, it will make you some money, and if you do it right, it will show you where you can make even more money.
Your short stories will help ALL your writing
You know that I’m all about process. And learning. Writing short stories is the fastest way to develop a fiction career. If you start out writing novels, it can take months before you realize that your latest opus derailed… somewhere. And you’ve no idea where. With a short story, you’ll know very quickly if a story isn’t working.
That experience helps you to write novels; you’ve learned a few tricks.
Fiction helps all your writing. I started my professional writing career writing romance novels. When I developed a copywriting practice, those years bending my brain over character motivations helped immensely.
Fiction also helped me to get used to writing, writing, and writing some more. Mainly because I wrote those early novels on a typewriter, and since I’m a lousy typist, it meant retyping, and in the process, rewriting.
“Can I REALLY sell short stories?”
Very short answer: yes, if you want to.
All authors do; no one sets out to write a boring novel.
Your readers want to enter your novel's world. They want to experience your book -- they want to live your book with your main characters.More info →
Want to write short stories? If you answered yes, that's excellent… Here's why. Today, you can make money writing short fiction.More info →
Resources to build your writing career
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