Don’t panic … the shorts in question are of course short stories.
How do you market in shorts?
A good question and I’m glad you asked. If you don’t already write short stories you have a couple of straightforward options:
1. You could opt not to try your hand at writing them.
If you choose this option, then I believe you are missing out on what can be an enjoyable writing discipline, and also a wonderful training ground for tightening your regular creative fiction.
2. You could try writing short stories, put them out there for folk to review, and when you think you’ve got the hang of it, compile an anthology of your work.
In which case, depending on the time available for writing, if you care about the quality of your output it might take anything from months to years.
3. You could look at a short story as a way of attracting readers to your name, and then your longer work.
This is my favourite choice, and not only because I get involved, but because I get to help fellow indie writers to get their name and their writing in the public eye.
Where do we go from here?
Another good question.
I have recently mentioned in this blog and on my author website about my intention to produce two themed anthologies. The first will be sci-fi stories, and the second will be military stories.
At the moment, my intention is to publish the sci-fi collection in January 2016, and the military collection in March 2016.
How do I fit another story into my present writing workload?
Oh, how I love the easy questions. Prepare yourself for a simple writing exercise.
Stop reading at the end of this sentence and write down the first idea that comes to mind for a sci-fi themed story.
Okay, I know most of you wouldn’t have taken the opportunity, but that’s how easy it is to get started, or on the other hand to miss an opportunity. You’re sorry you didn’t do it now, aren’t you? Yes, I thought so. I’m going to give you another chance, but with a twist – so be careful. Let your mind run free before you read on.
Are you ready?
When you get to the end of this sentence, write down the first idea that comes to mind for a military / armed forces themed story.
I know it took a couple of minutes, but for those of you who took the opportunity the second time, I’m pleased for you. Leave your new ‘idea’ aside, but we’ll be coming back to it.
I’ve found ‘opportunity’ a key factor in creative writing. As writers we may:
1. Write about anything.
2. Write short pieces, or long pieces.
3. Write when we can, or only when we really feel the pull.
(Personally, this is every second that I don’t have a coffee in hand, but I’ve now mastered holding my cup in my left hand).
4. We can choose to write whatever we enjoy and tell nobody.
5. We can also choose to establish ourselves by taking every route available to get our name, and our work out there.
The list is endless.
Hey, what about fitting a short story into my workload?
A few minutes ago some of you wrote down an idea. Yes, I realise only some of you did.
Let’s say you enjoy producing a quality piece of work, so you occasionally leave it aside. It might be after a paragraph, a chapter, or at some other point, but you will leave it aside to let your mind refresh and revitalise.
During those ‘breaks’ of minutes, days, or even weeks is when you could take the opportunity to work on something different to your primary work in progress (WIP).
1. A short story is a good way to do this.
2. A short story is not too taxing on time.
3. It can be left aside without worry.
4. It will improve each time you come back.
5. It’s still creative writing.
The more astute among you will now see that we’ve come full circle and we’re heading back to my two anthologies. If you would like to make use of an opportunity please read on, and make notes where you deem it necessary.
Guidelines for anyone interested in inclusion in one of my next collections:
1. Guest authors should be members** of the Indie Author Support and Discussion group on Facebook.
2. Stories must be a maximum of 3,500 words.
3. Stories should be completed to final edit and submitted to me by the following dates:
31st December 2015 – for inclusion in the sci-fi themed collection.
29th February 2016 – for inclusion in the military themed collection.
(If there is interest but the timing is too tight, I’ll be happy to extend both deadlines).
4. Copyright will remain with individual authors for their stories.
5. Any author who contributes will have the opportunity to include a short bio (50 words), and two hyperlinks of their choice, to be added after their story.
(Please remember, there is no requirement to have been an astronaut, an alien, or have served in the armed forces).
However this article has left you feeling, I sincerely hope it’s made you consider writing short stories, and reconsider how often we as writers let opportunities slip away …
Thank you for reading.
**I reserve the right to add a new indie author who is not yet a member of the IASD.