"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Monday, June 22, 2020

5 Reasons to Write Short, Plus 20 More

The ability to write a short story, and write it well, is invaluable to any author. Writers can benefit from regularly immersing themselves in short fiction. I'm sure you've heard the adage "the best way to build a career as a writer is to write a lot."

So, here are 5 of my reasons you should be writing short fiction,k plus thoughts from other authors:

1. Variety - many authors will tell you to only write in one genre, but I disagree. If you're not sure what style you prefer, or if you want to try a variety, short stories are a great place to attempt new works without committing to novel length. If you're like me, you end up with more ideas for stories than you ever have time to address. Shorter works allows you to explore more story lines. The more you produce, the more likely you are to show up in someone's Amazon or Goodreads feed - such as through the "Customers who bought or read this, also recommend..." feature. So, having more ways they can find you—that is, more books and more short stories—means that readers are more likely to remember you and eventually they’re more likely to buy. For more information on the length of various genres, see Word Count Woes.

2. Hone Skills - Whether your attempting that new genre, a different time period, or writing from a different POV (for example gender or ethnic based) short stories can be the answer. Since they are less of a commitment than a full novel, you can experiment, practice, and attempt to tackle new skills. Because they are so short, all of you weaknesses are magnified. While this is extremely annoying, it helps you pinpoint exactly what you have problems with when it comes to writing style or idea development. It also forces you to find a way to fix these problems, which not only results in a good short story, but will also help you later on in future projects. Writing is a process of continual learning and growth, and even the failed experiments can help you become a better writer and build better relationships with your readers.

3. Platform Expansion - writing more frequently (more short stories) allows you the opportunity to submit to more markets, or self-publish a larger number, thus building your platform by reaching larger numbers of audiences. The more you write, the easier it is for people to find you. I've expanded on this idea within the other four points.

4. Multiple Price Points - Readers are a mixed bag when it comes to what they are willing to spend money to purchase. If you offer a variety of lengths and price points, you are more likely to reach a wider audience. For instance, some audiences refuse to buy works from a single unfamiliar author so they are more likely to pay the price of an anthology (anywhere from $0.99 to $29.99) to try multiple authors. Some readers refuse to pay more than a dollar while other refuse to buy something that cheap believing there is a reason the price is so low (i.e. it's garbage). So, if you can publish both traditionally and self, but at multiple price points then you are more likely to find yourself in a variety of reader’s budgets therefore eliminating any excuses not to buy. Once you’ve written a bunch of short stories, you can collect them into an anthology of your own. For more information on the price of various length pieces, see Counting the Cost of Words.

5. PromotionGiving away copies of your work is an excellent strategy to win new readers. But what if you don’t have a series of novels where you can make the first book free? Or you don’t want to give away a thousand copies of your novel just to get 35 paying buyers? Short stories are the best way to promote yourself, or a new release. You can post short stories on your blog to draw new readers, offer story downloads to newsletter readers, and offer Kindle freebies to build your readership.

Interested what other short story authors think? Check out these four articles:

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