Short Story Telling And Selling

The short story can be a work of art if written properly.  A short story leaves no time for lengthy descriptions and character building.  As you can see below, a short story typically has between 1,000 and 7,500 words.  This only gives you a few pages to tell your entire story.  Many novelists find this a daunting endeavor.   Here are a few basic principles of the short story;

  • Come Out Swinging-  Start the story in the middle of the action and near the end.  Most readers don’t need much set up to imagine a man slowly losing his grip while dangling off a cliff.
  • Focus On One Theme- The short story needs to have one emotion, idea, or lesson to convey to its readers.  A horror story needs to focus on the suspense or fear. Romance concentrates on passion or love.  Choose your own emotion, and make the reader feel it until she aches.
  • Keep It Simple- Every word needs to drive your plot forward in a short story.  The scene, plot, and cast of characters should have a narrow focus.  Stick to the central idea, and get to the climax.  

Sell Your Stories Using A Combination Of Traditional And Indie-Publishing

  • Begin the life of your short story with a professional edit. Share it with critique groups, pay an editor, or at least ask a trusted friend for a proofread.  Regardless of our skill level, sometimes it just takes a fresh pair of eyes to catch a mistake.  
  • Next, enter competitions.  Find short story competitions within

    your genre and enter as many as possible.  Even an honorable mention is a credit for your story.

  • Seek out literary journals.  They range anywhere from monthly, semi-annually, to annual publications.  There are publications for any genre imaginable, and some pay while others do not.  Choose a few that are right for you, and carefully follow their submission guidelines.  Be sure that the journal only gets one time publishing rights.  You don’t want to accidentally loose the rights to your own work.
  • Finally, compile several of your short stories into one novel length work.  Use your publication and competition credits as marketing points for your indie-published compilation.

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