Thinking about writing short stories? Many writers are, and some are making amazing money. We looked at Beverley Kendall’s 2013 Self-Publishing Survey. You might be shocked that some short story writers, specifically in erotica, make much more money than that.
Established erotica short fiction writers are making five figures a month, but they don’t promote themselves – they can’t. Amazon’s cracked down on “monster porn”, and there are few venues for erotica writers to promote their offerings.
No, I’m not suggesting that you start writing erotica. You can if you like, there’s money in it. However, there are many more genres in which you can make a handsome living if you write short fiction. We cover finding hot genres (including various styles of erotica) in our Short Story Factory coaching course.
I receive endless questions about short stories. Writers still can’t believe they can make money from their imagination. Hard to believe, I know – I used to feel that way myself. Before self-publishing became hot, I would have giggled if anyone suggested you could make money with short stories.
Let’s look at some of the most popular questions I’m asked about writing and selling short stories.
How long are short stories?
Short stories can be as short as you please. Back in the days when I wrote for magazines, I’d sell the occasional “flash” fiction story. They were always shorter than a thousand words.
If you’re selling short stories on Amazon, I suggest that that your ebooks contain over 5,000 words. If you’re writing flash fiction, compile two or three or more stories. This is a suggestion – you can write at whatever length you choose.
Occasionally Amazon will tag writers who publish extremely short material for not providing a “good user experience.” Your mileage will vary. Those of my students who sell erotica, tell me that their stories of eight to ten thousand words sell well.
What kinds of short stories sell?
Erotica, and romance do well. Choose whatever genre you please. One writer I know sells horror short stories. Initially her stories languished. Then she built up her mailing list and sold bundles, and she’s doing well.
Write whatever you like. Experiment. Who knows, there might be a huge fan base for you.
How do I promote short stories?
The best way to sell your stories is to write more of them, so that you continually appear in Amazon’s New Releases lists. Also, make sure that you create a mailing list.
Can I freelance short stories? Will people hire me to write them?
People will hire you to ghostwrite almost anything. I’m cutting down on my ghostwriting activities. I enjoy it, because I love to write, and anytime anyone gives me a brief, I can’t wait to get started.
However, it doesn’t make economic sense. Your short stories will make money for you for years, if you sell them on Amazon. However, if you’re ghostwriting, you’re selling “work done for hire.” That means that you’re trading hours for dollars; if you need to do this, do it.
The big benefit of ghostwriting is money in your bank account. Build up your own short story publishing catalogue as soon as you can.