If there is any one constant in the world of publishing, it’s that the world of publishing is constantly changing. This has been especially true over the last decade or so, as e-books rise and fall and rise again (and fall again? Where are we with that right now? Could the prognosticators make up their minds?) and traditional publishing dies and resurrects itself and then dies and then…
Yeah. You know what I’m talking about.
It’s hard to keep persevering in the rapidly changing, constantly in turmoil world publishing has become. There’s no sure way to claw your way to the top, and there’s no guarantee that any single work you send out into the world will make the kind of splash you want to see. But there is a way to keep your name out there, produce a large catalog of work, and remain nimbler in the face of market shifts.
This doesn’t mean everything has to be short. But adding some—or a lot—of short pieces to your repertoire has a number of advantages. With shorter pieces you can:
- Experiment with genres and forms you might not want to commit to in the long form
- Produce more individual publishable pieces per year
- Create promotional materials or exclusive stories for your biggest fans
- Participate in anthologies with other authors
- Get paid per word at or before publication instead of waiting for sales to come in
- Participate in established, professional markets that might otherwise be more difficult to break into
And that’s just for starters.
Although at one time, the market for short stories seemed to be falling off, the Internet has provided a place for many new, small, often specialized e-publications to thrive. They range widely in quality and in potential pay, of course, but there are plenty to choose from that can put a nice chunk of change into your wallet—or your PayPal account—and get your story and your name in front of people you might not have reached under other circumstances.
In addition to these markets, you can publish your own short stories, whether on your website, in anthologies with other authors, or self-published singly or in collections. Even “all of the above” can be a viable option, depending upon various contracts and commitments.
In short (see what I did there…), writing short is a win-win. In my workshop, “Writing Short for Fun and Profit,” I’ll discuss forms the short story can take, how to come up with ideas for short stories, novellas, novelettes, and flash fiction, and where you can market them. With the short fiction form added to your arsenal, there’s no limit to where you can go with your writing.
Katriena Knights wrote her first poem when she was three years old and had to dictate it to her mother under the bathroom door (her timing has never been very good). Now she’s a full-time writer and editor with over three gajillion published novels/novellas/short stories/what have you. I grew up in a miniscule town in Illinois, and now lives in a miniscule town in Colorado. Visit her at her website at katrienaknights.com. She can also be found on Twitter at twitter.com/crazywritinfool and on Facebook at facebook.com/KatrienaKnightsAuthor.