As opportunity for authors has grown over the last several years, so has the fiction market. Indie publishing and the arrival of more and more small-press publishers has made it harder for an individual author to get their name in front of readers. There are various ways to increase your visibility—advertising, social media, and blog tours, for example—but one of the most effective ways to get your name in front of your potential readers is simply to be more prolific.
In the past, many authors focused on writing a book every year. These days, more and more people are publishing two, three, four, and even more books yearly. One way to accomplish this kind of productivity is to write shorter books.
Shorter fiction is becoming more and more popular, as authors write short stories, novelettes, and novellas alongside their full-length works. James Patterson recently started a line of books called BookShots, in which every work is 50,000 words and under. This is still a full-length novel—it’s the same length as shorter series romance—but it demonstrates the shifts in the market. People are reading on the go—on their phones or e-readers—and often prefer books they can read quickly while they’re waiting in line at the grocery store or in other non-traditional reading environments. The flexibility of the electronic book means readers are reading in more places, under more types of circumstances, and that means many are more receptive to shorter works.
In addition, the short story market has grown, also thanks to the internet. There are online magazines for any topic you could imagine, and many of them pay a reasonable amount for your literary efforts.
Writing shorter allows you to write more individual works, which gets your name out in front of your prospective readers more often. Whether you’re writing short stories to tie in with longer works, shorter novellas that fit together in a series, or breaking a longer work down into shorter pieces, you’ll have that many more individual publications under your belt.
When you’re planning your publication schedule for the next year or so, consider working in more short pieces. Think about how they could fit into your existing series, or how they could be used to bring readers into your newsletter. Use a tie-in short to introduce the world of one of your longer books to a new audience. Or try out new genres or new narrative approaches without the risk of branching out with a longer work.
In my class, “Writing Short for Fun and Profit,” we’ll talk about all of these things, as well as how to structure a short story and how to generate ideas for shorter works. If you’ve always wanted to try writing shorter but aren’t sure how to get started, or if you just want to strengthen your short fiction game, I hope you’ll join me to take a closer look at this increasingly popular form.
Workshop Blurb: Short stories used to be the mainstay of many a writer. With the decline of print magazines, the short form fell out of favor for a few years. However, in these days of online publishing, self-publishing, and online magazines, the short story has once again become a major market where you can flex your writing muscles, try on new story forms, and, yes, make some money.
In this workshop, I’ll talk about the demands of the short story form, ways to approach writing a short story, different story lengths and the challenges they represent, and finish off with a discussion of the various markets available for publishing short stories.For more information, check it out here.
[box type=”bio”]Katriena Knights is a prolific author of contemporary and paranormal romance. As KC Myers, she also writes science fiction, fantasy and urban fantasy. Her upcoming novel from Samhain Publishing, Summoning Sebastian, is a followup to Necromancing Nim, and is set in a world where vampires are out and proud and can’t remember to pay their bills. Her most recent book, Blood on the Ice, is about an NHL player who is turned into a vampire on the eve of the Stanley Cup Finals. Other books include the Dark Callings and Weary Memories series from Changeling Press, writing as Elizabeth Jewell.