Short stories are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and other dreams. They are journeys you can make to the far side of the universe and still be back in time for dinner” – this remark of the celebrated writer Neil Gaiman proves the undying appeal of the short stories. Even in this digital age, the charm of story-telling hasn’t faded away. Short stories showcase the variety and verve of a quintessentially American art form made popular by none other than Edgar Allan Poe.
Before the 19th century, the short story was not generally regarded as a distinct literary form. But the writers like Guy de Maupassant, Poe, Chekov and O. Henry brought in a resurgence and turned short fiction into a respected literary genre. The short version of fiction continued to be a beloved form of art as the 19th century bled into the 20th century.
The Renewal of Love for Short Fiction
Being a writer by profession, I could say that we have an innate connection with short fiction. We all have grown up listening stories from our grandmas and I could recount many of them even now. It is the indication of our deep-seated love for short stories. When the renowned Canadian short-story writer Alice Munro won the 2013 Nobel Prize in literature, an outpouring of enthusiasm has been noted for reading and writing short stories. Her success as a short story writer proved instrumental for the new-age authors to invest time dedicatedly for writing a short version of fiction. Big publishing houses are accepting a greater number of short stories and scooping up some of the most significant prizes.
The Growing Adulation of Short Stories
• Less is More- In our fast-paced life, we hardly watch even a five minutes YouTube video. No wonder finishing a thousand-page novel will appear an insurmountable task for most of us. The main attractive feature of short stories is they can be finished in a single sitting. “Many people struggle to find the time to engage with a full-length novel. A short story offers the perfect antidote – it’s the equivalent of listening to a single track of music instead of the whole album” said novelist Elizabeth Day.
• Wider Theme- From crime to romance, supernatural to science, gender equality to religion- the short story genre can be used to explore a huge array of themes. Readers simply love the satisfying treatment of the theme and characters used in a short story. The short fiction is conceivably more natural to us than longer forms.
• Easy Availability- The demand for short stories have been on the rise, gaining in significance and momentum because of internet, social media and e-publishing houses. For the past several years, reading books from the online platforms increased a lot because of the easy availability.
The Prospect of Earning from Writing Short Fiction
Back in the 90’s if someone asked me “ Can I Make a Living Out of Short Story Writing?” my answer would be unless you are as good as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Chandler or Sylvia Plath, don’t even think of ditching your job for the sake of becoming a short story writer.
Things have changed a lot over the years. With the dot-com boom and the extreme growth in the usage and adoption of the Internet, writers have found numerous offline, online and digital channels to publish their work. The publishing world used to be pretty exclusive, but it is changing rapidly. The traditional publishing houses have started to adopt a liberal mindset when it comes to publishing the works of a new writer. If you can generate QUALITY WORK, I can assure you there would be no shortage of takers.
Take a look at different platforms where you can publish your short story:
Traditional Publisher- Although the success rate of getting your short story published by a renowned traditional publisher is less, there is no harm giving it a shot. You have nothing to lose and the gain is massive. The publisher pays you for the right to publish your work and they will bear all costs and pay you an advance and royalties. (Want to Publish a Short Story? Pitch These 6 Publications )
Literary Journals & Magazines- There are many literary journals and magazines out there who provide opportunities for the writers of short fiction to publish and earn. Getting your short story published in a reputable literary journal or magazine is a great way to get noticed as a fiction writer and making big bucks.
Writing Blogs & Websites- The online writing community is bigger and better than ever before. Enhance your outreach by connecting with millions of social media influencers and bloggers in your domain area. If you’re an author, plenty of blogging resources are available online. Conduct a thorough search and approach them professionally. For a good piece of short story, writing blogs and websites pay a large amount of money.
Personal Blog- You can improve your image as a writer without spending a single penny and draw the attention of the big publishing houses simply by maintaining your personal blog on Blogspot, WordPress, Tumblr, Medium, Wix and Ezinearticles. Once you have got a strong personal blogging profile, you can easily cash in your popularity.
Self-Publish- If you trust your ability immensely and have full confidence in your writing, I would suggest you to opt for self-publishing. The undertaking is expensive but its rewards are greater than the risk. The finished copies, the copyright, all subsidiary rights, and all profits are exclusively yours.
Approach TV Production Houses- I’m sure you haven’t thought of sending the manuscript of your story to a TV production house. Just think about the money made by the writers of popular sitcom “Friends” or comedy-drama television series “Desperate Housewives”. Diversify your options, along with sending your work to the publishers, send it to the TV production houses too.
Before contacting any publisher, read through some of these tips I’ve put together:
• Write your story well and pitch like a pro
• Convincingly persuade them to accept your work
• Edit your story to the best of your abilities and seek help from the professional writers
• Use the mileage (DA, Likes, Followers, Comments) of your personal blog to showcase your ability as a writer
There’s tremendous potential for getting your short story published and making money out of it. Given the current market, short story writing is looking an absolute bargain.