Writing short stories is a great opportunity for authors. But whether you are trying to market your novels, keeping your readers engaged, or improving your writing skills, you need goals in place to get the best return on your time investment.
Why Write Short Stories?
The main reason, I would suspect, for writing short stories is authors ‘LOVE’ to write them. Shorty’s are their style. They get an idea digging in their mind and they grab a pencil and let her fly. Of course, there are many other reasons to jump into the quick read world.
Many authors write short stories to learn the craft and the business. With a small time commitment, authors can learn the editing, publishing and marketing part of the business. This is as important as writing a good short story or novel.
Some authors write short stories to fill the gap between novels. Instead of their readers sitting idle for several months while they are writing and bringing a novel to market, they give them a small taste of their writing by publishing short stories. They use ideas from their scrapbook of notes, expand back stories or polish cut chapters from their novels. The idea is to cut the dead period between novels by writing continuously.
Some novelist use short stories to recharge their batteries, try different genres, introduce secondary characters or introduce new characters to their series.
Writing, writing, and more writing are the goals here.
Help Market Your Novels
In today’s publishing world, name recognition is a major key to success. Authors are increasingly using short stories to gain exposure and a new audience. They keep their writing in front of their readers so when it is time to launch that next novel the audience is all warmed up to buy that new release.
One of the theories of marketing books in the on-line age is to ‘Fill the Pipe’ with their writings. That is, to have as many novels, short stories and novellas in the on-line market place as they can. A great thing about the internet and on-line marketing is your writing will virtually be on sale forever. Cathy Stucker’s blog had a great article on this concept. It is a must read. (See link below.)
Another popular method of marketing short stories is bundling [Anthologies] the short stories with other authors. Collections add a synergy to the short story package with other author’s readers getting a chance to read your works.
Distributing short stories via ebook is the most common practice. But I am seeing authors becoming more inventive by offering their shorty’s from their website, their blog or through social media. A site giveaway not only gets their writing into reader’s hands but it gives their site exposure and gives them the opportunity to capture a reader’s list.
Readers and Audience
Why are readers consuming more short stories? Many readers are going mobile with their iPads and tablets in hand. With that said, readers are increasingly looking for quick reads. Here is what one of my readers said in a review of my short story collection [6-Pack]: Operation Alpha Dog.
“These stories [Operation Alpha Dog] however don't waste any time and jump straight into the action. Some excellent plot ideas that work well in the short space given to them, quite different in locations and style but all very compelling and rewarding reading. So good, I devoured it in one sitting.”
Many younger readers are entering the short story marketplace. If authors can capture their loyalty, they could have a follower for life.
Keeping the audience engaged in their work is a common theme for many author’s short story goals. Finding new readers in this changing industry is the key to a writer’s success.
Could Be Some Challenges
Many authors today are trying to wear two hats; one as a novelist and another as a short story writer. To some this creates a unique challenge.
As I have heard in many of my interviews with authors (over 500) moving from long writes to short ones can be a challenge for them. They get thinking novels and character development and settings and then they turn to short stories and it’s a whole new game. Some authors adapt quickly. Some feel short stories limit their creativity.
You need goals in place to get the best return on your time investment. You must provide substance in your short stories not just a teaser with no body and no conclusion. Remember many times short stories sales are not the motive here.
Why write Short Stories?
Here is a quick list.
1. You love to write them.
2. You want to market your novels.
3. You want to introduce new characters.
4. You want to engage your readers continuously.
Remember the audience is changing and with that change is opportunity. As an author you need to give short stories a look. It may be what your readers are looking for.
Please share the reasons why you write short stories. Just comment on this post.
Other Reference Links
Cathy Stucker’s blog: Using the ‘Long Tail’ In Writing and Marketing Your Books
The eBook Author Corner: Ebook Authors: The Kids Are Coming
The eBook Author Corner: “Authors, Don’t Sell Your Short Stories SHORT.” - Short Story Marketing Strategy Study - Over 70 Outstanding Authors discuss their short story strategy
The eBook Author Corner: What Makes the Top Selling eBook Authors Tick?
Operation Alpha Dog: A Jonathon Stone Mystery Six-Pack of Short Stories (B0189QRU0O)
Author: James Moushon
Follow Me on Twitter: @jimhbs
Or EMAIL at: firstname.lastname@example.org
View my website: James Moushon – Mystery Writer
Or visit my blog: The eBook Author Corner
Take a look at my Author’s blog: HBS Author’s Spotlight
And the HBS Mystery Readers’s Circle