Short stories have made a resurgence in the last decade or so with the rise of online reading and shorter attention spans. Modern readers, while still reading their beloved novels, are also consumers of instant everything, and love quick bites of fiction or information.
As a writer, short stories are a great way to hone your skills. Because you are more constrained by a word limit, you learn how to say what you need to say in fewer words. So if you’re looking to take a break from your novel, or you have a lot of short stories sitting around in your cloud collecting dust, you might be wondering if you can make money writing short stories. The short answer is, yes.
Per word, short stories pay more than novels. You can write them in less time, meaning you can get a lot out there to be published. That translates into more cash in your pocket. In fact, Kindle Singles usually cost as much as a full-length ebook, which is great news for writers. A Kindle Single is a work that isn’t as long as a full-length novel, around 5,000 to 10,000 words. If your novel idea isn’t working out as a book, maybe try to publish it as a short story.
If you write speculative fiction or thrillers, for example, it can be hard to rank high in these categories because of so much competition. However, since short fiction is a still burgeoning category on Amazon in these genres, you can get yourself at the top of the rankings much more quickly than you would publishing a full-length novel.
For novelists and newbie writers, this is a great way to make a name for yourself as a writer and create a loyal reader base in a shorter amount of time.
Let’s take a look at how short stories can help make you money:
- Try your hand at Amazon. Self-publishing with Amazon is a great way to begin publishing your short stories to make money. Share your stories on social media first, and get a fanbase going. You don’t have to have hundreds of thousands of followers. Even a small fanbase will get you sales. Once you have a decent following online, collect your stories and publish them in an ebook collection. You’ll no doubt have sales from your dedicated readers.
- Try self-publishing platforms that aren’t Amazon. Publish your stories on online self-publishing platforms that pay you royalties when someone reads your work. Websites like Fictionate.Me and Penpee mean you don’t have to wait to get paid, as you get paid for every chapter read on these sites. The “chapters” in this case would be a standalone story that you collect into an ebook over time. After you have a nice collection, you can keep earning on these sites indefinitely.
- Submit, submit, submit. Submit to literary magazines and publications like Daily Science Fiction, Asimov’s, and Fireside to get paid pro rates. Since there is some lag time between submitting and getting published, don’t wait around until you hear back. Keep writing and submitting, and make a list of which pubs accept simultaneous submissions.
- Publish on your own blog. Another way to make money publishing short stories is to post them on your own blog. Again, you have to create a reader base first, but with diligent work engaging and marketing on social media, you can create a lifelong income stream for yourself without paying commissions to third parties. On your own blog, you can monetize with ads or create a subscription for your readers for a small fee to read your stories.
- Try ghostwriting. Ghostwriting is another way to sell your short stories if you don’t mind not getting credit for your work. There are hundreds of clients on freelance marketplaces like Fiverr, Upwork, and Guru who would pay you a good sum upfront for you to write commissioned stories. However, this wouldn’t be a long-term strategy, as this wouldn’t help you make a name for yourself. But it is a way to get started making money on your short fiction.
- Enter creative writing contests. Again, there will be a wait of up to a month to find out if you won, but cash prizes in many writing contests are upwards of $1000 or more, even for micro and flash fiction. This can be a great return on your investment of the time it took to write and submit the story.
Keep in mind publishing short stories isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. It doesn’t happen immediately. But if you keep at it, and keep a steady stream of stories out there to be published and read by your fans, you can create a steady revenue stream for yourself from doing something you love. What’s better than that?
Author Bio:- Heather R. Parker is a freelance content writer, editor, essayist, blogger, and poet. She works as a writer and editor for the fiction self-publishing platform Fictionate.me, where she publishes book reviews and writing advice for authors. The author of a poetry collection entitled Fallen Whispers, Heather’s work also appears in Nightingale & Sparrow’s Top Ten Micropoets of 2019 anthology. Her upcoming poetry collection, Delicate Decay, will be published in the summer of 2021 by Between Shadows Press. Heather lives in Georgia with her husband, son, and a menagerie of pets. In her spare time, you can find her doing yoga, taking long walks in the woods, birdwatching, or picking flowers in sun-dappled meadows. You can follow Heather’s writing at instagram.com/heather_r_parker, https://www.facebook.com/heatherparkerauthor, and https://fictionate.me/blog.