With the advent of KDP, Direct Kindle Publishing , it is more possible than ever to make money writing—to get your story published and selling. Amazon sells 65% of the online books in the US book market nearly 67% of the eBooks (ref: TheAtlantic.com ).
Short story writing is a good way to get your start. Once a story takes off, and you know your topic/theme is a winner, you can write a novel or series in the universe that you have already created a fan base for.
Several New York Times bestselling authors and publishing professionals consider short stories have a very definite role:
“The investment a writer makes in a novel is staggering. For months or years of their lives, writers concentrate on a single story, usually a complex one, with many threads.
“In short fiction, however, the investment of time is far less burdensome. The writers have room to play, to explore. If they come upon an idea that contradicts what they said earlier, it’s a simple thing to go back and revise in order to fit in the new idea—because they will be revising here and there among 20 pages, not 200 or 1,000.
“Creativity, not consistency, is the river that spawns short fiction. Short fiction can make nonce rivulets that flow where there has been no stream before. It is in short fiction that genres are defined and redefined, banks and boundaries oversplashed and, in some cases, eroded away, to move the community of writers and readers into new channels and new possibilities.”
—Orson Scott Card, international bestselling author Ender’s Game.
“The future for short fiction has never been brighter. With a plethora of new online magazines, it’s now cheaper to produce and distribute great short fiction than ever before, and so I see a burgeoning market over the next decade or two!”
—David Farland, an international bestselling author (The Runelords) and the Coordinating Judge for Writers of the Future.
“I see short fiction and media merging with cut scenes and videos weaved into eBook formatted stories and audio read stories … Multifiction format.”
—Bill Fawcett, an American editor, anthologist, game designer, book packager, fiction writer, and historian.
“The short story, as has been shown over the past couple of centuries, can be as powerful as the novel. It’s quicker to write, easier and cheaper to publish, takes less of a time commitment on the part of the reader (and usually, though not always, the author), and there’s no question that it’s here to stay. I would guesstimate that there are more short stories in print from the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s than there are novels in print from that same time period.” —Mike Resnick, Editor of Galaxy’s Edge Magazine
If your dream is to be a published fiction writer—and to make money writing—then try your hand with short stories.
Not only can you publish immediately on the KDP platform and submit your short story to paying anthologies, you can also enter the Writers of the Future Contest for free.
This writers contest: was started by New York Times bestselling author L. Ron Hubbard (Battlefield Earth) in 1983 with the goal to “provide a means for new and budding writers to have a chance for their creative efforts to be seen and acknowledged.”
The annual writing contest draws entrants from around the globe. It is free to enter, winners retain full rights to their work, they are given cash awards, the winning stories are published in the annual anthology, and the stories are judged blind—meaning genuine diversity: every color, race, nationality, gender, and age compete on equal footing as all identifying marks are removed before the judges see it.
The stories are judged by some of the leading authors in science fiction, fantasy, and speculative horror: Kevin J. Anderson, Orson Scott Card, Dave Farland, Nancy Kress, Todd McCaffrey, Nnedi Okorafor, Tim Powers, Mike Resnick, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Brandon Sanderson, Robert J. Sawyer, Dean Wesley Smith, and others.
The Grand prize winners receive an additional $5,000. The contest flies all winners out to Los Angeles for an expense-paid, week-long writers workshop given by Contest judges and culminates in a black-tie gala awards event.
During the 35 years of the Writers of the Future Contest, the 416 past-winners have published 1,150 novels and nearly 4,500 short stories, with nearly 100 new sci-fi books and stories published in just the last year. This includes 32 New York Times bestsellers and over 60 million copies sold.
With a success rate like this, the publishers often take submissions from past winners out of the slush pile. In fact, Orson Scott Card recommends submitting their story to the contest as the first step for an aspiring author:
This writing contest has become the American Idol of speculative short fiction. The judges take their role to heart as they are helping the next generation of authors—paying it forward.
Writers & Illustrators of the Future: The Search for Tomorrow's Legends:
Before submitting your story to the contest, we recommend you read the Writers of the Future anthology to get an edge on the competition. In addition to the winning stories, there are articles with advice on writing from some of the most highly paid authors in speculative fiction.