Are you a self-publishing author? I’m sure you’ve heard of the many benefits when you write short stories. The publishing world changes constantly, so stay alert for new ways in which you can use your short fiction.
Write short stories: be alert for opportunities
I enjoy writing short stories because it’s restful while I’m writing novels. If a novel’s a tangled mess, I take a break to write a quick story. That’s usually enough to let me approach the novel with a fresh idea.
Writing a story while I take a break works much better than simply goofing off, because I keep my momentum. Often, I’ll write a scene in a new story, then immediately find a solution to my problem with the novel.
The moral: keep writing. 🙂
Opportunities to use your short stories are everywhere:
- Send a story to your email list to promote an upcoming novel, or one of your older titles;
- Check the freelance marketplaces for clients who want short fiction;
- Watch for authors compiling bundles in your genre; it’s useful promotion…
Let’s look at three strategies you can use.
1. Write short stories in series: compile, and sell
You can publish your short stories individually, then compile them into a collection (bundle) — this works best when you write your stories as a series.
A collection of short fiction usually won’t sell as well as a standalone novel, or a novel that’s part of a series. In some genres however (think erotica) they sell very well indeed.
One of my students magics a collection seemingly out of thin air. After she’d published three collections in a month, I asked her how she managed it, while still working on her novels.
She made me laugh when she told me she realized that she had lots of prewriting material, like scenes which never made it in a novel, and character journals. She polished this material and hey presto, she had a new collection.
2. Attract a fresh audience: swap stories with an author writing in your genre
Think of these stories as similar to artist trading cards. Artists swap cards, sometimes for fun, and sometimes with a serious purpose: to use in exhibitions, for example.
Although the copyright of a short story remains with you, the author with whom you’re swapping can use your story in any way he chooses. (You can use his story, too.) You can include your swaps in commercial collections, or share them with your readers for free.
Flash fiction works well for swaps.
3. Write and sell your stories’ rights too
Love writing short stories? You may have found a new side hustle. Consider offering Private Label Rights (PLR) to your stories.
When you sell the stories with PLR, you’re selling them with all rights — of course, you’re charging appropriately. Buyers can do whatever they like with their purchase. (Think of this as a form of ghostwriting, where you relinquish all rights once you’re paid.)
Write short stories: what can you do that’s different?
Be alert for new ways in which you can use your short stories. You may discover that your little stories benefit your self-publishing career in ways you never expected.
And of course, have fun writing. 🙂
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