Boost Your Writing Career with Short Stories – Here’s How

Writing a novel is time-consuming, let’s agree? At no other period in my ten years of professional writing have I been so down-in-the-trenches with one project, (My work-in-progress, RADIO HEAD). I love it, it’s my dream come true. but I’ll admit it’s also the most difficult endeavor I’ve attempted, spawning highs of enormous elation partnered with pitiful periods of self-doubt.

I thought choosing laser-focus on a single project would guarantee a). a speedy finish; b). resplendent relief from the arduous task of querying publications, AND; c). heal past wounds of inevitable rejection said querying provoked (ahem. Not likely.)

But I miss it. I’m lonely for the camaraderie of editors who say, “yes.”

Until my novel is itself ready to pitch, my new writing goal is to complete one new short story per month–and I humbly request you join my resolution. Why?

Here are FIVE ways short stories can boost your writing career:

1. Completion. Writing a novel with the aim to make every last sentence as ideal and meaningful and progressive as possible takes a loooooong time. (It’s worth it.) But for a change, I’d like to have that dazzling feeling of accomplishment only project completion can afford.

2. Getting back on the Query Wagon. How else can we hope to nurture our love of the people who’ve chosen editorship as a profession than to offer the products of our creative writing? And what better journey to securing an agent and/or marketing your most significant manuscript than by appearing in publications beloved by your niche readership?

3. Contests. The paragraph in a query outlining our credentials is always a toughie. A highly “decorated” author has the edge on getting pubbed, or possibly securing an agent. Winning contests can distinguish us. These accomplishments serve as a reliable testimony to our talents.

4. Anthology – For Fun and Profit! (And Credibility.) I spend a considerable amount of time stalking, er researching, agents’ blogs. I’ve noticed a burgeoning interest in collections of related short works, compiled into anthologies. Smart agents know they can shop these packages to publishers. Smart self-published authors know they can sell their related stories on Amazon, etc., and (more importantly?) build credibility with a longer list of titles.

5. Practice, Practice, Practice! If my dream is to be a career fiction writer (it is), I need all the honing-of-craft my little imagination can churn out. We can only improve with practice.

If I haven’t convinced you, author, internet entrepreneur and international speaker Joanna Penn will show you how writing short stories can:

1. Get into bookstores

2. Expand your presence on retail sites

3. Fill in the gaps between novel releases

4. Experiment with new genres.

5. Expand your universe.

Read her post to learn how!

How has writing short stories improved your writing career? Comment below or contact me on Twitter @TheRJLacko



Filed under Best Writer Tips, For the love of writing, Your highest potential

6 responses to “Boost Your Writing Career with Short Stories – Here’s How

  1. This is really helpful! I’ve tried my hand at writing novels before and while it’s fun, it’s a lot of time commitment and honestly, I’m just not good enough at plotting to plot a whole novel-length story. I just wrote a review on Stephen King’s On Writing and it inspired me to start writing more; maybe I’ll try my hand at short stories.

  2. Hi Rebecca
    I have written several novellas around 8000 words long, that read as complete stories. I am looking for ways to publish them on Kindle Direct Publishing. Could you please link any posts you have on those in the comments?
    Also, how do you go about querying agents for your genre?

    • Wow, you have been working hard, haven’t you! Thanks for your comment. I do have one post that might appeal to you, Publishing with Kindle Single for Not Quite Full Length Books
      Here is a link to Amazon’s page, Getting Started – How to Publish

      What I might recommend is packaging a selection of your novellas into a novel-size book, and sell it for a novel price. Be sure to package a group of like themed novellas, so that you can satisfy a niche within a genre. Even if the stories varied widely, the theme must be consistent.

      I saw your blog– Your stories are rich, heartfelt, and deserving of an audience. Good luck! Let me know how you fare. Perhaps you would like to contribute a guest post?

      • Hi Rebecca
        I will definitely try to package the novellas as one novel and see how it goes.
        Also, thank you very much for your kind words on my blog. I really appreciate it – more than I can tell you.
        I would love to contribute a guest post to your blog. Please let me know what the topic.

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