Short Stuff

My husband/co-author and I have sold a short story to an anthology.  This is not actually that common a thing for us, because we’re primarily novelists, and most of the story ideas that swim into our nets are novel-sized ideas.

You can’t make a lot of money writing short stories, at least not these days.  There aren’t enough markets, and the rate of pay has not increased that much over the decades.  There was a time, or so I’ve been told, when a writer of short stories could at least keep him-or-herself from starvation by writing alone; but that was also a time when magazine short fiction filled the entertainment niche occupied these days by television and the internet.

Why, then, do we write short fiction at all?

One reason, of course, is that sometimes a short-story-sized idea swims into our fishing net, and it would be wasteful to throw it back.

Another reason is that for novelists, short stories function as advertising — they keep the writer’s name out in front of the public, and they provide readers with a sample that might lure them into buying longer works.  The primary reason that people buy a book, even in the electronic age, is because they’ve already read and liked something by the same author.

Finally, while you can’t make a living writing short stories, you can — sometimes — make a reputation.  And it’s a rare writer who’ll turn up his or her nose at the idea of acquiring a modicum of extra fame.

One thought on “Short Stuff

  1. If you aren’t going to do the shameless self-promotion thing, I will.

    The story is “According to the Rule” (working title “Monks in Spaaaaace!”), which will appear in the anthology Impossible Futures edited by Thomas Easton and Judith K. Dial, to be published by Pink Narcissus later this year. I’m told that the cover art will be displayed at Boskone this coming weekend.

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