Marketing

Should You Write Short Stories First?

The “Your Questions Answered” Series

__________

What are your thoughts on writing some short stories before you jump into your first novel?

I don’t recommend writing short stories before jumping into your first novel IF your goal is to be a novelist. Writing where you don’t want your success to be is akin to the dieter craving a chocolate candy bar but eating a container of yogurt instead.

I’ve written articles, devotions, nonfiction books, novellas, short novels, and long fiction; and I can tell you that these projects have almost no relation to one another. For one, the shorter the project, the tighter the writing must be. And the longer the novel, the more intricacies and subplots you’ll need.

Also, the markets for each type of project differ. You’ll be pitching short stories to magazines and collections. You’ll be selling novels to book publishers. Most editors will be interested in demonstrated success in what you are writing for them, not someone else. A byline in a major magazine should be mentioned and is a plus, but a well-received magazine story doesn’t necessarily translate into sales of a novel. And even though book publishers publish novellas (typically around 30,000 words), generally editors choose the top authors from their list that they want to appear in any given collection and offer them the opportunity to write a novella for the set. A writer submitting a random novella probably won’t find a market in traditional publishing. The publishers who’ll consider a novella collection sent on its own by relatively unknown authors are few; and even then, those publishers won’t necessarily buy novels from their novella authors.

Some authors are successful across a kaleidoscope of projects. However, those authors started with one book; and for the most part, have a history of success and a large fan base willing to buy any book bearing their name.

Bottom line? Write where you want your success to be.

Your turn:

What authors do you see as being successful over many types of writing?

Who is your favorite nonfiction author who wrote a novel?

For the entire series, click here: “Your Questions Answered.”

Leave a Comment

12 Steps to Publication

It takes 12 strikes to achieve a perfect game in bowling. (See last Friday’s video.) It made me think there are 12 things that need to happen in the publication process. Each must knock down all the pins to achieve publishing success. With that simplistic idea in mind, I came …

Read More

Marketing with the National Day Calendar

If you blog or post regularly, you know the challenge of coming up with new and fresh content. One idea might be to take advantage of NationalDayCalendar.com. This fun website has indexed over 1,500 national days, national weeks, and national months. Use this to find fun things you can write …

Read More

A Year in Review: A Look at 2019

It’s that time of year to reflect on the past year, to learn from our experiences, and to count our blessings. Here are some thoughts on the last tumultuous twelve months. The Industry The publishing industry seems to survive the bad press that loves to find the negative in everything. …

Read More

Who’s Your Book For?

A critical part of writing a good book—and a good pitch or proposal for a book—is defining your book’s audience. We all know, of course, that you shouldn’t try to write a book “for everyone.” But your book’s audience can be an elusive target. I suggest three distinct and mutually …

Read More

Say It in a Sentence

Can you present your book idea in one sentence?

Can you present that idea in such a way that the reader is compelled to buy your book?

What motivates someone to spend money on a book? It is the promise that there is something of benefit to me, the reader.

Books are generally purchased for one of three reasons:

Entertainment Information Inspiration

If your book idea can make me want to read it, whether it is for entertainment, information, or inspiration, then you are well on your way to making a sale.

Read More