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Anne R. Allen's Blog


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Anne writes funny mysteries and how-to-books for writers. She also writes poetry and short stories on occasion. Oh, yes, and she blogs. She's a contributor to Writer's Digest and the Novel and Short Story Writer's Market for 2016. 

Her bestselling Camilla Randall Mystery Series features perennially down-on-her-luck former socialite Camilla Randall—who is a magnet for murder, mayhem and Mr. Wrong, but always solves the mystery in her quirky, but oh-so-polite way.

Anne lives on the Central Coast of California, near San Luis Obispo, the town Oprah called "The Happiest City in America."

Anne blogs at Anne R. Allen's Blog...with Ruth Harris 
and at Anne R. Allen's Books

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Short is the New Long: 10 Reasons Why Short Stories are Hot

Ruth Harris will be posting on June 2 instead of today. She kindly switched with me because I'm going to be out of town next weekend, celebrating my Mom's 92nd birthday. Thanks to all of you who downloaded my mom's pioneer saga, ROXANNA BRITTON, and sent it to #1 in Biographies and in Biographical fiction! This week's free book is my comic mystery NO PLACE LIKE HOME. More info below.

May is National Short Story Month, so I figured it was time for another post encouraging you to write more short fiction and creative essays. I wrote a piece last year about why we should be writing more short stories that was one of our most popular posts ever.

Since then, short stories and novellas have continued to surge in the marketplace. As marketing guru Penny C. Sansevieri said in a May 23 article in the HuffPo, "If you'd been staying up on trends you'd know that for a variety of reasons short is the new long. Thanks to consumers who want quick bites of information and things like Kindle Singles, consumers love short."

Thing is, if  you’re like me, you left short fiction behind when you decided to become a professional writer. I thought little stories were for college class work and creative writing exercises. When I wanted to write fiction professionally, I "graduated" to novels. I figured short stories were only for obscure literary journals that paid in copies.

Major mistake. 

Even back then, in the days of shrinking short fiction markets, I would have been better off if I’d spent more time on the short form. At the end of 10 years, instead of having an unpublishable 1000,000 word novel I’d rewritten 25 times, (yeah—I don't recommend it.) I would have had files full of short fiction and creative essays that could be making money for me now. 

Plus, like any other skill, your ability to create short fiction will atrophy if you don’t use it. I find it a lot harder to write a short story now than I did 15 years ago when I wrote them regularly. It’s hard building up those writing muscles again.

I realize that most writers gravitate to one form or the other. I know my ideas generally spool out in about 80,000 words. Shorter is harder for me.

The reverse is true, too. Some great short story writers have a hard time writing good novels. One of our greatest short story writers, Katherine Anne Porter, only wrote one novel, Ship of Fools, which was more like a tapestry of many short stories woven together without a compelling story arc. Critic Elizabeth Harwick said it was " too static" in spite of "the flawless execution of the single scenes."

There's nothing wrong with preferring one form over the other. But these days, it will pay off to work on fiction in a variety of lengths. Right now, I'm experimenting with my first novella. Novellas, once taboo in traditional publishing, are soaring in popularity in the e-age. 

It’s funny that most people think of the big novel as the most legitimate type of fiction, since it’s a relatively new form of storytelling. It was perfect for the age of Gutenberg, but perhaps novels won’t maintain such cultural importance in the digital age.

Cervantes is generally credited with inventing the novel with the 1605 publication of Don Quixote, but the form didn’t make it into English until a century later—and for a long time it had to masquerade as “history” as Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe did in 1719. Non-factual narratives were considered frivolous and time-wasting even into the Victorian era. In the 20th century, the novel finally surpassed the play as the most revered form of fictional artistic expression in English.

But who knows what will happen in the 21st century?

What we do know is short stories aren’t just for creative writing classes any more. In February, Leslie Kaufman wrote an article for the New York Times pointing out how smaller stories are “a good fit for today’s little screens.”

After years of fading popularity, the short story is back on an iPhone near you. 

Kaufman said  “2013 has yielded an unusually rich crop of short-story collections, including George Saunders’s Tenth of September which arrived in January with a media splash normally reserved for Hollywood movies."

And:  "Stories are also perfect for the digital age...because readers want to connect and want that connection to be intense and to move on. That is, after all, what a short story is all about."

She also referenced the phenomenal success of the "Kindle Singles" program on Amazon. Indie and trad-pubbed authors alike have had great success self-publishing short stories and essays as ebooks at the online retail sites.

But note: I don't encourage newbie writers to self-publish your very first efforts at story-writing. To succeed in publishing—whether self- or traditional—you need to put in your 10,000 Malcolm Gladwell hours. But you can maximize your efforts by spending more of those hours writing short fiction and creative nonfiction shorts.

When it's time to make your professional debut, you’re going to have some serious inventory. Short pieces are “practice writing” that will hold their value much better than all those-half finished novels languishing in our files. They can allow you to experiment with new genres and play with new ideas while expanding your fan base. Joanna Penn wrote a great post recently at The Creative Penn on the benefits of writing short fiction.

And remember almost all successful authors published short stories before they put out a novel. 

Here are ten things that have changed the way we look at short fiction:

1) “Singles” ebooks and other original shorts

By the first decade of the 21st century, short stories had pretty much vanished from any but a handful of mainstream magazines. But it looks as if readers missed them. “Kindle Singles” ebooks launched in 2011 and sold 2 million in the first year.

The short stories in the “Kindle Singles” program sell for between $. 99 and $1.99 and the authors keep a 70% royalty. Many of the top sellers are by name authors, like Lee Child, Stephen King, and Jodi Picoult, but others are by unknowns, according to Kindle Singles editor David Blum. They take both fiction and nonfiction. (The term "short story" usually means fiction, but it can also mean creative nonfiction shorts.)

But you don't have to be accepted into the highly competitive Singles program to self-publish short works successfully. Your royalty will be less than with the official Singles program (If you're not with the KS program, anything sold under $2.99 gets a 35% royalty) but it's probably going to be better than getting paid with a copy of the Northern South Dakota East Campus Community College Review.

Just let people know it's not a novel, and make it at least 10 pages. Any less and a reader feels cheated. Try a collection of five or six if they're ultra-shorts. Or you can make the short perma-free as a teaser for your longer works.

And now exclusive short fiction in showing up in other places. In fact, the airline Qantas is now becoming a publisher, offering fiction works by Aussie authors that are just the right length for a particular flight. The shorter the flight, the shorter the story. I hope this heralds many creative new story venues to come. All lengths of fiction and memoir are finding a market.

2) Smaller screens and shorter attention spans. 

We're a multi-tasking world.

As bestselling short story writer Amber Dermont told the NYT: “The single-serving quality of a short narrative is the perfect art form for the digital age…Stories are models of concision, can be read in one sitting, and are infinitely downloadable and easily consumed on screens.”

And Cal Morgan of Harper Perennial said: “It is the culmination of a trend we have seen building for five years…The Internet has made people a lot more open to reading story forms that are different from the novel, and you see a generation of writers very engaged in experimentation.”

Recently I've been approached by a number of websites that cater to moms, babysitters and nannies that provide links to short fiction, like this piece by Olivia Lewis at the Nanny Network News.  It's the perfect thing for a nanny taking a kid to the park or a busy mom waiting to pick up a kid at school. 

The successes of titles like George Saunders’ means that collections are no longer the unwanted stepchild—even in the traditional publishing world (although you’ll still find it hard to get an agent interested in a collection unless you’ve had them published first in the big-name literary venues. Agents tend to follow trends, not create them.)

3) The success of serial fiction like Hugh Howey’s Wool

Hugh Howey made history (and a nice chunk of change) by self-publishing his sci-fi novel Wool as a series of shorts—like the Saturday matinee cliff-hanger short films of the early 20th century. He put his first episode—a stand-alone that’s also a teaser—perma-free on Amazon, and the fans ate up the succeeding chapters, offered at 99c each.

Now Amazon has a Kindle Serials program like the Kindle Singles. It's highly selective, but I've heard it pays off very well for authors who are accepted. There's an art to writing serial episodes. They need to have the same kind of story arc as a short story, with a cliff-hanger instead of resolution at the end.

4) E-Book Anthologies

Short story anthologies are one of the best ways to increase your visibility. They're inexpensive to put together as ebooks. They usually don’t pay, and often donate proceeds to a charity. But if you can get a story into an anthology with some well-known authors in your genre, you’ll be paid in publicity that would be hard to buy at any price. All those authors' fans will be exposed to your work.

Being in an anthology also gives an unpublished writer some great cred as a professional. Many successful authors I network with were first published by the Literary Lab anthologies

Another plus for anthologies: Some of the biggies, like the Chicken Soup series, also come out in print and are stocked in bookstores. It’s a great way to get noticed by the old-school reader, too.

5) Online literary journals and showcase sites

One of the important steps on the road to a big publishing contract has always been to place stories in respected literary journals. In fact it’s still  pretty much the only way to a publishing contract if you write literary fiction. (Can you name any big name literary writers who haven’t first appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review or at least McSweeneys?)

But nobody ever got the first story they wrote published by The New Yorker. First they had to place dozens in small literary journals—those tiny labors of love that used to cost a ton to produce and often had under a hundred subscribers. Often you had to pay $25 or more to subscribe to find out what kind of things they wanted and get the info on how to submit to them.

But these days, most literary journals are available online. They have larger readerships and you don’t have to pay a fortune to read them or find out what the editors are looking for. Online literary journals like Compose (info below) can be a great stepping stone to success in publishing literary fiction.

And if you write genre fiction, you don't have to start your career getting endless rejections from the ultra competitive print magazines that still buy short stories, like Women's World, Ellery Queen and Asimov's.

Now there are showcases for short fiction springing up where you can get critique and start getting fans. Readwave is a story sharing-site that looks like a promising venue for the new writer.

6) Indie films

Stories are easier to adapt for the screen than full-length novels. Cheaper too. They tend to have fewer crowd scenes and more small interior settings. Cost matters in the growing indie film world. Just as indies are revolutionizing the publishing industry, they are also the life-blood of the film industry. While the big studios concentrate on huge comic book spectacles and remakes of old TV shows, the more emotionally rich, award-winning films are coming from small-budget indies.

Some of our most enduring films have come from short stories. Classic films like The Birds; Breakfast at Tiffany's; Don't Look Now; Double Indemnity, Flowers for Algernon—and I’d need a whole post to list the stories of Stephen King and Philip K. Dick that have been made into great films. More recent Oscar contenders like Brokeback Mountain and the Squid and the Whale were originally short stories.

7) Online retail sites favor authors with more titles

The more titles you have in an online bookstore, the more visible you are. You can write and publish a lot of shorter titles and have a bigger presence on Amazon than with one long book. Most writers can’t turn out more than two or three books a year, but they can turn out a lot of short stories and novellas.

8) Contests 

Contests are easy to discover and enter in the era of the Interwebz. Hope C. Clark's Funds for Writers and the website Winning Writers are good sources for vetted and free contests.

Entering short story contests is an excellent way to get your career started. A big win for one of your pieces looks great in a query or a bio. Plus you might even win a money prize. A lot of those prizes are bigger than the advances publishers offer on novels these days.

But you do have to be wary. There are a lot of bogus contests out there. Here's a great article by Hope C. Clark at Writer Beware to help you spot the red flags of bogus writing contests.

9) Shorts keep your fans interested between novel releases

Forward-looking agents are now encouraging their authors to self-publish shorts to fill in the gaps between novels. They especially like shorts that are about characters in your novels. They keep your fans interested while they’re waiting for the next book. (Note, if your publisher has a non-compete clause, you won't be allowed to do this. Another reason the non-compete clause is a bad thing for writers.)

Consider writing a couple of shorts about your main characters while you're working on the novel. It may get you through a tricky spot in the big work as well as giving you a saleable product for later down the road.

10) Short stories make money and hold their value 

In terms of labor, a short story can make more money for you than a novel. Not only does it take less time to write and often sells for the same price as a novel in an ebook, but it can be re-purposed many times.

Kaufman reminds us that "all but one of the tales in Mr. Saunders’s Tenth of December had been published earlier, many in The New Yorker, but that does not appear to have hurt sales."

The 21st century may become the era of the short story, so it's worth it to work on your short-form muscles. And hey, you might even end up with your story on your very own stamp, like this Irish Teenager. 

How about you, scriveners? Do you favor one form of fiction over another? Have you been taking advantage of the new popularity of short stories? Do you find it hard to get back into the short form after writing novels? What about the new popularity of novellas? Have you written one yet?


But if you still like reading novels, I happen to have one going FREE this week. NO PLACE LIKE HOME is a mystery with a lot of laughs in spite of the serious theme. Usually $4.99. It's book #4 of the Camilla mysteries, but can be enjoyed as a stand-alone.

"A warp-speed, lighthearted comedy mystery, No Place Like Home offers lasting laughs beneath which a message resounds – Being homeless is scary. Bookstore manager Camilla and home fashion maven Doria have been, distantly and very recently, wealthy. But each suddenly finds herself scrambling nightly for a safe place to sleep, with chaotic and often interesting results."–Abigail Padgett
And if you're a fan of romantic comedy, there's a cornucopia of 99-cent deals for your Summer Beach reading from the Official Chick Lit Group, including my rom-com mystery, THE GATSBY GAME, still 99c until the end of the month. It's at Barnes and Noble, too.


1) The Saturday Evening Post’s Second Annual Great American Fiction Contest—yes, THAT Saturday Evening Post—is holding a short fiction contest. Could you join the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald; William Faulkner; Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.; Ray Bradbury; Louis L’Amour; Sinclair Lewis; Jack London; and Edgar Allan Poe? $10 entry fee Deadline July 1, 2013

2) COMPOSE Literary Journal debuts next month with their debut issue. Submissions are open for their Fall 2013 issue.  This prestigious journal was founded by Suzannah Windsor, of Write it Sideways, and she's put together an amazing editorial staff. I'm so honored to have my poem "No One Will Ever Love Him" included in the debut issue. They are looking for art and photography as well as poems, literary short fiction, novel excerpts and essays. Must not be previously published (that includes anything that has appeared on your blog.)

3) Readwave: A showcase for short stories: ReadWave is a community of readers and writers who love to discover and share new stories from contemporary writers. Readers can access thousands of stories and read them for free on mobile or desktop—and writers can use ReadWave to build up a fanbase and market their stories online. ReadWave has created a new reading widget, that allows bloggers and website owners to embed stories online in a compact form. The ReadWave widget is the first reading widget to allow readers to "follow" the writer. When a reader follows a writer they are added to the writer’s fanbase and can receive updates on all of the writer’s future stories. ReadWave puts writers in touch with the readers that are right for them.

4) SMOKE AND MIRRORS  podcasts. Get your short story recorded FREE for an online podcast! Fantastic publicity if your story is accepted by SMOKE AND MIRRORS. They broadcast about three stories a week. Spooky, dark tales preferred. No previous publication necessary. They judge on the story alone.

5) MIDLIFE COLLAGE is looking for short-short creative nonfiction stories from people at midlife. They offer cash prizes and there's no fee to enter. Submission guidelines here. 

6) New Literary Journal, The Puffin Review is looking for submissions of short fiction, (up to 3000 words) poetry and essays. They welcome new writers.

7) The Huffington Post's Huffpo50 is now publishing short fiction!   The rules: You must be 50 or older to enter. Writers can submit only one story per year, and all pieces must be 5,000 words or less. Send your original submissions, as well as your contact details, to 50fiction@huffingtonpost.com. If you want to know what they're looking for, check out this great story by Judy Croome, a long-time follower of this blog. 

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Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

As short as my novels are, I probably could write a novella.
I've already contributed to two anthologies. Both were non-fiction pieces, but again, I could try my hand at fiction.
I know one indie author who writes only novellas and has sold over 300,000 eBooks. (She's doing a guest post for me on how she did it in a couple weeks.) Authors can make money doing it.

May 26, 2013 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Anne, Great minds! I'm right now in the process of cutting a 100,000+ word TradPubbed novel to less than 80,000 words. Times have changed and so has publishing.

As always, intelligent advice, well presented. We're lucky to have you!

May 26, 2013 at 11:14 AM  
Blogger Vera Soroka said...

I'm glad to see novellas and short stories are back in. I never read a novella before until last year. I most enjoyed it as well as collections of short stories.
My debut will be a romance novella with a companion to follow.
I wish I could write short stories but they are hard for me. I'm more comfortable writing novels. Even novellas are hard for me but we will keep trying. Great post.

May 26, 2013 at 11:34 AM  
Blogger ED Martin said...

Thanks for this post. I love short stories, both from a writing and reading perspective. I don't have a Kindle or Nook yet, but I do have the Kindle app on my phone. Short stories are the perfect length when I'm stuck waiting somewhere, and I don't mind reading a quick story on a small screen as opposed to a whole novel.

May 26, 2013 at 12:07 PM  
Blogger Anne Gallagher said...

I've done shorts and I like them, but like you say, if you don't write them often, you fall out of practice. It's hard to get back into the game with only 30K words when you're used to 80.

But I like shorts and they do make money. My all time best-seller is only 25,000 words, and even when I changed the price it still outsold my novels.

Great post.

May 26, 2013 at 12:11 PM  
OpenID paulfahey said...

Anne, this week's post is so on the money. Not to sound like bragging, well, it most likely does, but I felt as though you were writing about me. This is exactly how I began writing short fiction and memoir 20 years ago for print and online journals; I began writing flash of no more than 750-1K words and graduated to longer stories of 4-5K words. Now I'm writing novellas of about 20K words and all have been pubbed as e books by my publisher, JMS Books, and many are selling well. There is a terrific market right now for short work. If I can do it, most anyone can. Glad to hear you've started a novella and that your Mom's book is doing so well. P.

May 26, 2013 at 12:25 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Alex--300,000 novella sales! Another bit of evidence that short is hot! I'll definitely check out her post. Thanks for the heads-up.

Ruth--And I'm trying to cut a 100,000 word novel into three novellas. As you say, great minds...

Vera--Congrats on your upcoming debut. Two novellas sounds like a great way to start a career right now.

ED--You're exactly the audience these marketing people are talking about. People who read on their phones are a growing audience.

Paul--You started your career the old fashioned way that's turned into the hot new 21st century way. Your career is taking off and it's largely due to your years of writing (and editing) stories. As the former editor of Mindprints, I'm sure you know more than anybody about what works in the short form.

May 26, 2013 at 12:39 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Anne--That's fascinating that your novella is your most popular book! Another vote for the shorter form. Thanks for that info. More incentive to work on my novella!

May 26, 2013 at 12:47 PM  
Blogger Tom Hopp said...

Thanks Anne, and I concur. I'm finishing a mystery novel that took years to write, but along the way I put a few short stories out with the same protagonist, Dr. Peyton McKean. They have been selling okay and have already generated a small royalty stream via Kindle and Nook, even though the full length work is still bogged down in the editing process. I'm a short-story believer!

May 26, 2013 at 1:03 PM  
Blogger Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

Yes I agree short stories are becoming popular - life is so busy these days I find it easier to read & finish shorter fiction. I love the Quantas idea of publishing shorts by Aussie authors just long enough for a flight. Great idea!

And May was definitely a good month for me as far as short stories went - two of mine were published within a week of each other! :) THE WEIGHT OF A FEATHER published by The Huffington Post and UMBRELLA IN THE SNOW appeared in ITCH magazine, published by the University of the Witwatersrand School of Literature, Language and Media

May 26, 2013 at 1:21 PM  
Blogger Sandra Gardner said...

Hi Anne,
As basically a mystery series writer, I never expected to write a novella-- but that's what my coming-of-age fiction, "Halley and Me," turned out to be. It just won the 2012 Grassic Short Novel Prize and will be published soon by Evening Street Press.
Sandy Gardner

May 26, 2013 at 2:25 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Judy--LOVE your story in the HuffPo. I don't know why I didn't know the HuffPo50 is now publishing short fiction. I'll put it in the "opportunity alerts" Thanks for the heads-up and the great story. I got a little lump in my throat for those poor chickens.

Sandra--Another report of major success in this thread! I love hearing this stuff. Congrats!

May 26, 2013 at 2:37 PM  
Blogger G. B. Miller said...

When I had first start writing, just about all of my stories were novella length (about 20-24k). Even though I eventually got a few sub-6K shorts published, my preference has always been the novella.

And even though my commercial debut topped out at 69K, I don't think I have another wordy novel like that in me.

My speed has always been and always be the novella. I have discovered two good positives as it applies to querying novellas.

1} Better shot at acceptence, as there's less of a crowded field for novellas than there is for a novel.

2} Easier synopsis to write. When I wrote the synopsis for my novel, it took me well over a month and about 5 drafts to get the word count under 1500. The two synopsis for the novella that I'm querying (one for the letter and one stand alone), took me thrity minutes to write the stand alone, and about five for the letter.

May 26, 2013 at 4:35 PM  
Blogger Phyllis Humphrey said...

Two years ago I realized short stories were coming back and vowed to send my old ones out. But first I had to finish my long novel. Done. And now you've gone and told everybody and the competition will be fierce. Dang!

May 26, 2013 at 7:09 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Tom Hopp--Why didn't I see you up there before? I think Blogger is playing games with me. Sorry. Very smart of you--and that supports just what I'm saying. Short stories about your series/big novel characters are gold. So smart to start building a fan base now while you wrangle the big WIP.

G.B.--A plus I never thought of: you have an easier time with the dreaded synopsis! You're lucky you're right in the middle of a trend. Novellas are in. You may never have to write a full length book again. Did you see Alex Cavanaugh's comment? His friend has sold 300,000 ebooks of her novellas.

Phyllis--Congrats on finishing the big novel! Have fun finding places for the stories. Do check out the HuffPo link below.

May 26, 2013 at 7:48 PM  
Blogger fOIS In The City said...

Anne: I love that the short is having a sort of "come back" ... although in many ways I don't think we ever lost them. I find them fun and a great way to stretch the imagination. And once again, thanks for the links :)

May 26, 2013 at 8:31 PM  
OpenID haydenthorne.com said...

My first dip in the publishing pool involved short stories of 1,000 - 5,000 words. And I loved it.

Then I took on novels and ended up publishing nothing but for a few years. When I decided to revise a number of odd short stories languishing in my old writing folder and publish them (the anthology was picked by the ALA's GLBT Round Table for their 2013 Rainbow List), I thought I could dive back in and explore short fiction some more.

Boy, was I wrong. I couldn't go back and just write something even 15,000 words at most. Everything I attempted ended up being novella-length (25k and up), and I just couldn't get back into that special zone I once enjoyed that allowed me to write something under 10,000 words with confidence.

I'm still going to try as I'm feeling an increasing amount of novel burnout (I can't even read a complete novel as of late - only short story anthologies), but for the time being, novellas seem to be the sweet spot for me. I suppose I need to ease myself back to short stories with a more realistic perspective and less brashness.

May 26, 2013 at 8:53 PM  
Blogger Julie Luek said...

A writer friend and I just had a conversation about the popularity and desirability of shorts. More and more people are opting for this kind of read on vacations, business trips precisely because they are quicker to read but still offer a good story. Great idea!

May 27, 2013 at 7:45 AM  
Blogger Charley Robson said...

Lordie be, I do need to get back into short stories again - it's been a VERY long time since I've written one, namely because I'm the sort of person who goes "Nuuuu, I need more time for development and stakes blablabla!". Still. I could do with the practice, as well as the cash.

Thanks so much, Anne - another fantastically informative post!

May 27, 2013 at 9:51 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Hayden--Your experience seems to mirror mine. I have so much trouble getting back into the shorter form. But I love reading them. Most of my reading in the past 3 months has been short stories. Maybe I'll finally be able to re-learn.

Julie--I think it's good news for authors, as long as we keep our writing muscles in shape for both forms.

Charley--Practice AND cash. It's a good combination. But harder than it sounds.

May 27, 2013 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger Emily Rachelle said...

I found this on Pinterest. This post is really encouraging for me! I'm planning to self-pub a novella - my debut - to Kindle and Smashwords, and I generally tend to prefer writing shorter works. I always thought I was just struggling more than my writer friends who all focus on really long (80-100K) novels.

May 27, 2013 at 11:29 AM  
Blogger Emily Rachelle said...

Oh, and P.S. - I think you skipped number nine!

May 27, 2013 at 11:29 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Emily--OMG, I did skip #9. 2000 hits and nobody else said anything. I wonder what I did with it? Short is the new long, but it's not a good idea to shorten by cutting out a whole section. LOL.

Novellas certainly seem to be the popular format! You should have great success with it.

May 27, 2013 at 12:13 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Emily--Thank you soooo much for letting me know about the missing #9!! I've restored it now. Found it in the Word file I composed it. I compose in Word, then paste into Notepad to remove formatting because the Feedburner email program is incompatible with Word. Somehow I lost #9 in the Notepad file.

May 27, 2013 at 12:32 PM  
Blogger Roland D. Yeomans said...

One of my more popular eBooks is THE LAST SHAMAN which is a pairing of two linked short stories.

You're right: the market for short stories have changed with KINDLE SINGLES, anthologies, and self-published novellas -- and shorter attention spans!

Would CRIME & PUNISHMENT sell well today?

May 27, 2013 at 1:14 PM  
Blogger Rosi said...

I just was able to download a FREE copy of No Place Like Home. I'm looking forward to finding some time to read it. Thanks!

May 27, 2013 at 6:10 PM  
Blogger Linda Adams said...

Perfect timing! To get stories out there, I've been writing one story (creation, edit, proofread, and sub) to get them out there. In the past, I usually stopped writing the novel and worked on a short story until it was done -- this time I'm working on them concurrently. The one story a week is marvelously freeing because I can't revise and I can't research. It forces it me as a writer to make it better on the first draft so I can get it do. Not researching also forces me to think about different directions that don't require research. I've been learning something new on each story.

May 28, 2013 at 4:21 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Roland--What a great idea--two linked shorts. I wish you lots of success with it. As far as those big Russian novels--they were written for big, long, Russian winters. Most people don't have that kind of reading time any more.

Rosi--I'm so glad you got a copy! I hope you find it fun.

Linda--One story a week is amazing. I'm lucky if I do two a year. Congrats. Interesting point on research. I'm stuck in research mode right now and it's so hard to get launched into the story.

May 28, 2013 at 10:51 AM  
Blogger JeriWB said...

I love short stories and wrote boatloads of them in my college writing workshops. A few of them were even pretty good and have been included in an eBook I'm promoting while writing my first book. For me, it's been rough to even get to 60,000 works with my novel. What I most love about well-written short stories is how much they can accomplish in so few pages. It's easy to spot filler from a mile away in a short story. Not too many years ago Stephen Kind's introductory essay to the Best American Short Stories talked about how short stories are largely overlooked in favor of novels. I wonder if he would feel the same now?

May 29, 2013 at 10:08 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Jeri--Stephen King has been promoting short stories for a long time. I remember an essay he wrote in the NYT about a decade ago saying much the same thing. I hope he's doing a happy dance now.

You're so right that you can't hide bad writing in a short story. Blather stands out. Writing shorts helps us write better novels, I think.

May 29, 2013 at 10:41 AM  
OpenID arbraun7 said...

I love short-story collections--including short-story books written by one author--but I feel cheated when I buy a Kindle piece, thinking it's a book, then finding it's only a short story.

Nowadays, novels are periodically sold for .99, and I think it's a good pricing strategy, for I've bought a lot of novels this way and found out about authors I wouldn't have discovered previously.

And reading self-pubbers' blogs, I know this pays off in striking sales. But to get just a short story seems a rip-off to me. Just my opinion.

June 8, 2013 at 8:33 PM  
Blogger adan said...

shorts are fun! :-)

my challenge, as usual, is simply time; and at nearly 63, there's more than one reason why ;-)

but in terms of switching gears,from long to short or vice versa, not so much

i do think that my long fiction, esp when i get past the 20,000 - 60,000 word mark, is less "arc'y" , the challenge then becomes tying the chapters more closely, carefully, to an over-riding idea or concern - but easier said than done sometimes

either way, the various length forms, for me, are fine, i like them all, and the result is, the length of a work is almost strictly determined by the length it takes to tell/show the story

best wishes all, it's a fun time to be creative :-)

July 1, 2013 at 11:00 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

arbraun--It's kind of tragic when people aren't willing to pay 99c for a story. But that is the way the market it going, isn't it? We used to be willing to spend 18 bucks for a literary magazine that maybe only had a couple of stories we liked. We may be pricing ourselves out of a living. If you're not willing to spend 1/5 of what you'd spend for a cup of coffee for something that took a writer hundreds of hours to compose, then don't.

adan--Time is the problem no matter what your age. We live in an era of "no time for that." But sometimes your muse just makes you sit down and write. And isn't it great that now we can write whatever length our muse wants it to be.

July 1, 2013 at 12:48 PM  
Blogger adan said...

it's great anne, and you're right, time is a problem, or a challenge :-) , at any age

i've returned to your article because i'd also sent it to kindle, re-read it, and wanted to go over more of the info for places for short stories

thanks so much for the article, best wishes :-)

July 9, 2013 at 2:37 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

adan--I'm honored my blog has a place on your Kindle. I hope you have great luck placing your stories!

July 9, 2013 at 3:46 PM  

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