Back in 2012 I wrote a lot of short stories and published them inside anthologies. It seemed a reasonable thing to do. I had the stories. I just learned about self publishing. May as well, right?
Lately I’ve been working on novels. I want longer works available on amazon, and really I’d like a full length book sitting on my shelf with my name on it. Plus they atract more readers then shorts do.
But I’ve looked at those short stories from time to time thinking “there must be something I can do with them.”
The prevailing thought seems to be “give them away,” and I’ve done some of that. I have several available on my wattpad, and my website. I don’t mind giving away my work, but I’d rather do so with the intention of sending readers to something larger.
Which is the second thing you can do. Many authors give away smaller stories (shorts or novellas) that take place in the world of their novels. This gets people interested in their world, and might get them sales. An agreeable method. However, most of my short stories are stand alone thus not fit for that.
Magazines are another possiblity. Some of them pay well, and there are several search engines to help you find the best magazines for your story. The down side is that many of them want first publication rights, and very few of them will pay to publish a work that is less than 2000 words.
Anthologies are a useful alternative. I’ve gotten several new readers through my short story collection. You can pay a group of short or flash fiction on amazon, and the other retailers for $2.99, but they don’t sell as well as books. I have found that making them perma free to get eyes on your work is the best use of some of them, but perhaps not all of them.
Then today I heard of a few new websites… Websites that pay for content, for short stories, and are even specifically looking for flash fiction.
http://dailysciencefiction.com pays 8 cents a word for stories under 1500 words. It has to be science fiction, and flash fiction.
https://quarterreads.com allows authors to upload stories and essays that are under 2000 words and once approved they pay you 22 cents per read. It costs the reader a quarter. That’s 88% royalties.
A few years back I was part of an online community called Red Paper that was the first to do these sort of micro transactions. You paid in at least $5 to get an account with some credits, and used those credits at your discretion. It was a wonderful community and I made a little money from it, but it was limited, and before it’s time. Now micro transactions are an every day thing. I mean look at Candy Crush!
I would love to see more websites and/or apps for this. There are still people who enjoy short fiction. I’d love to see more things that cater to the short fiction reader.
It is a tricky situation. Another issue I encountered trying to get collections in front of readers is the brutality of classification: even Amazon’s finer-grained-than-most categories and keywords can’t represent several stories in nearly the same detail as a single novel.
Depends on if the stories are similar. My Small Bites collection has stories that have similar themes and genre so it makes it easier, but if you are jumping genre it isn’t so easy.
I found even being in more than one sub-genre can get tricky. My first collection were united by a theme of doubt, but didn’t all fit horror or the same sub-set of fantasy. So I ended up with a couple of keywords that fitted each rather than all seven.