Short Stories Open Doors

By Randi Samuelson-Brown

Ah…the ever-changing landscape of writing and publishing.

For those just in the beginning phases of their writing and publishing journey, I do have a fewwords that might help. Know that when one option is taken off the table, another one is usuallywaiting in the wings. The problem is to locate that new opportunity.

With the loss of one solid venue – Five Star Publishing – much despair and chatter has gone on, especially in the western writing arena. I, too, had an orphaned book with the publisher’s cessation, which has been picked up by WolfPack (big sigh of relief).

I highly recommend DUOTROPE – which currently costs $5 per month and is a service that lists magazine calls for entries, upcoming anthologies, contests, and various writing opportunities by genre. Personally, I have not ventured far into the magazine (or e-zine) marketplace, but anthologies have provided a solid steppingstone for me. I, like many others, dreamed of having my first novel soar to stardom. That didn’t happen. What happened is I entered WWW’s LAURA contest and was a finalist. That step provided a foundation to build upon. I met an agent who ultimately did not sign me…but it was an open window into another aspect of the business. My first book was published by FIVE STAR, and I lament their passing. However, I now publish with Wolf Pack and Two Dot as well. I made those connections at Writers Conferences.

Many, many people talk about writing. The thing is to sit down and actually do it. Short stories is a particular art form different from a novel. They take less time to create, and I love them for what they bring. They bring feedback, acceptance, and achievement. They can lead to “bigger things”, or they can stay contentedly where they are, as smaller jewels to admire. I’ve also read some impressive and well-done blogs, but I fear they may not have the lasting power of a short story in an anthology. Maybe longevity is not the writer’s intent or concern.

Maybe I’m flat out wrong about blogs. Time will tell.

Which brings us to one point. What is the writer’s intent with a specific piece? What is their intent with their writing? Although each intention is a part of the same equation, they are different variables. Sure, the goal could be to write a best-seller, and that might even happen at the start. It’s rare, but not unheard of. Even if something is “unheard of”, it doesn’t mean that it can’t happen, and we’ll all start hearing plenty about it soon!

Use the internet to do research, take part in the community. Actually, DO the WRITING. Learn the accepted parameters of what you undertake. For example, it is an outlier to have a novel at 35,000 words in historical fiction. At 80,000 words, that expanded historical fiction piece will have a much better shot in the marketplace for that genre.

Remember, writing is a business. You have nothing to sell or promote unless you have something finished. If a novel is in your head, that’s great. Get it down on paper so that you can start doing something concrete with it. Professionals are likely to tire of hearing about ideas. They need something specific that they can work with. That is their part of the equation – to bring said masterpiece to market.

Short stories open doors. They build readerships, and I love doing them when a notion speaks to me. The notion behind a short story may not be enough for a novel, but it provides a great way to find out.

In fact, I’d say to always have one short story available in your repertoire. You never know when you just might need it.

Award winning author Randi Samuelson-Brown was born in Denver, Colorado and grew up in Golden. She writes historical fiction and has always enjoyed uncovering strange and obscure historical facts and details. She is a past finalist of the Women Writing the West LAURA Short Fiction Contest; and her books are sold on Amazon as well as her website. She is currently offering her book, The Devil’s Rope, as a free e-Book when you sign up to receive information about her latest releases and special deals for titles by Randi Samuelson-Brown. You can also find Randi on Facebook.  

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