Can You Make Money Writing Short Stories?

I’ve been asked: Can I make some money from the little stories that I write? If the answer is yes, what price do you recommend?

The answer is yes. Maybe.

I made a part of my living for many years writing short stories. Of course, that was before e-publishing came along and bricks and mortar publishers went bankrupt all over the place, including the magazines I regularly sold to.

But e-publishing has opened up a new market and if what you write is short stories and you wish to get paid for them, then what you need to do is figure out how to do that. It can be done but it’ll take a bit of thought.

Because — and here’s the problem with selling short stories — since most e-published material is in book form, short stories are sort of ignored. Not completely, but you’ll have to look hard to find them. However, if you do look hard enough, they exist. They cost way less than books because of the shorter word length. They are often gathered into anthologies so the writer of short stories is actually publishing a book, just a book composed of many short stories.

So go online — my go-to online publisher is Amazon when I’m doing research — and look for short stories and check out how short stories are being sold and then copy what they do. You can easily see how popular they are, what’s a good price to charge, and practically everything else about them that you need to know. If you want more information, email the author and ask questions. Most authors are happy to help.

One possibility: novellas are between short stories and novels in length. Actually there are long short stories that could qualify as novellas and novellas are sold as books, not as short stories so the sales and marketing is easier. So if you are okay writing novella length stories — approximately 20,000 to 40,000 words though they can be somewhat shorter or longer — then this might be a comfortable spot to fill.

Good luck to you. I love writing short stories.

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