Kindle publication is a wonderful opportunity for writers. Writing fiction’s made easy, because with the launch of Kindle Unlimited (KU), you can turn your short stories into cash.
By the way, Amazon is actively courting short fiction:
Amazon’s encouraging shorter works into KU. Writing a 60,000 word novel is challenging. By setting the contest entries at upwards of just 5,000 words, Amazon is both encouraging shorter works, and new authors.
I wrote this post, Cash in on Kindle Short Stories: Get Started and Sell, long before KU. I recently updated the post.
Let’s look at the most important short story writing tips, but first, a word about short story length. A short story can be just a few hundred words, but from what writers say, and from my own experiences, here are the best lengths.
Best short story lengths for Kindle:
5,000 to 15,000 words
I write short stories for clients, and for myself, under a number of pen names. I use pen names to experiment. If you use a different pen name for each genre, you can easily track what succeeds, and what doesn’t. As I’ve often said, Kindle is wonderful for researching markets. If you get readers for a short story in a genre, you may consider writing full length novels in that genre.
Vital tips — they’re easy
Read my previous post, if you’re a beginning short story writer.
1. Stick to one genre at first
Start with one genre, using a pen name if you like. Your mileage may vary, but I find it’s easier to track results, especially using Book Report, if you stick with one name per genre. (Haven’t heard of Book Report? — use it. It’s amazing.)
2. Turn on your imagination: have FUN with it
I wish I had a magic wand, and could change writers’ brains, so that they realize that writing needs to be FUN.
As the always-brilliant David Ogilvy pointed out:
“The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.”
He was talking about advertising, and there’s a reason so many copywriters write bestselling books — copywriters aren’t scared of ideas, and of HAVING FUN.
If you’re not having fun, readers won’t either. Fun is essential for creativity. I urge my students to have fun with their writing, but it’s an uphill battle.
To repeat… HAVE FUN! 🙂
3. Publish regularly to take advantage of Amazon’s “new releases”
Even if you’re writing novels, you need to leaven your publishing program with short stories. Amazon’s “new releases” is a powerful promotional tool.
4. Be sure to enter your stories into Select, so they’re available in Kindle Unlimited
I used to be wary of Kindle Unlimited. No longer. KU has a huge benefit. Yes, readers are reading your books for free, but your KU books make all your books easier to find. You don’t have to enroll all your books in KU, but you should enroll all your short stories.
Update on August 16, 2016: re Kindle Unlimited
Nothing stays the same, least of all in publishing. While Kindle Unlimited is still very much worthwhile, especially if you’re struggling to get readers, I’m now advising authors not to put all their eggs in the KDP Select basket. Offer your books on the other retailers as well.
Here’s what I’ve found, and many authors have had similar experiences: when you put all your ebooks into KU, eventually it tends to cannibalize sales. Your income starts to drop.
Going forward, here’s my suggestion: use KU strategically, and avoid putting everything you have into KU. Publish on the other retailers as well.
WARNING: your mileage will vary. Each author is an individual. No strategy works for every author. Experiment. By all means go all-in with KDP Select, but if your monthly earnings go down, look at keeping some of your ebooks out of Select so that you can go wide.
Latest update: April 8, 2018
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