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Is anybody here successfully selling short stories (besides big names like Lawrence Block or those who sell erotica) ?  Is there a successful model for knocking out 25-40 page short stories and making enough to live on?
 

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Not that I know of yet. Though there is definitely an audience for short stories, people still want longer stories, i.e. novels. My only one-star review said that it was a short story and therefore too short. Whatevs, but keep in mind that this kind of reaction is out there.

I'm not selling well, but my stories are a bit odd. They have yet to find an solid audience. That being said, people have been downloading my freebie at a decent rate. I only have two out thus far, with my third due out next month.

Just keep writing what you love and what you want to read and hopefully you'll find that audience.  :)
 

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Have you read Dean Wesley Smith's blog? You'll see some very interesting, and controversial, material there. If you seach this forum, you'll get a head start on the controversy part of things. ;) (Look for long, long threads with DWS or Dean Wesley Smith in the title)
 

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Our short novella has sold pretty well (for our standards, at least). It's at the very low end of novella, bordering on short story and some reviewers have pointed that out, but it's still in the top 40 of its category and top 2500 paid on Amazon. Knock on wood.
 

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My second-best selling series is a pair of short stories. Each of them sells about 10 copies a day. But I think they only sell because they're closely linked to my bestselling trilogy (which does around 100 copies a day), and readers are looking for more in that franchise.

I have other short stories out, and short story collections, and those never really do more than 1 a day.
 

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There is definitely a market for short stories/fiction. If there wasn't I would not have started a website dedicated to reviewing and featuring it nor cofounded a guild devoted to it. However, it is a small niche. My stories haven't sold well at all, which to me is not a huge disappointment because I used my first year of publishing as a way to become a better writer via the short fiction platform. I never expected massive sales on those stories. I am now beginning year two and 3/4 of the way done with my first novel.

The DWS model is based on volume. If you are up for it, and depending on your genre, it could work. Several authors here have experienced much success doing that. Personally, I'll always love the short form, but novels are a potentially more lucrative path, in general.
 

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One of mine, Abominable, has now sold over 3000 copies at 99c

Not enough to make a living... but comfortably more than if I'd sold it to a pro-rate magazine.

 

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Adam G. Katz said:
Is anybody here successfully selling short stories (besides big names like Lawrence Block or those who sell erotica) ? Is there a successful model for knocking out 25-40 page short stories and making enough to live on?
I've sold over 50,000 copies of The Crazy Old Lady in the Attic which is 15,000 words and is suspense / psychological horror. I've also sold thousands of Ghosts of a Beach Town in Winter (20k ghost story) and The Reluctant Belsnickel of Opelt's Wood (23k folklore / romance).

The Crazy Old Lady allowed me to pay cash for a new car last July.
 

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As a reader, I've personally begun to like shorter works, because my busy schedule is so demanding, I barely have time to read anymore, so something short and sweet is enough to satisfy me instead of taking months/years just to finish reading an entire novel.

As a writer, I can't say I've had much success with my short story or novella, sale-wise. My main goal was to just release more of my stories rather than trying to make a living off them. A lot of feedback I received about my novella was that it was too short. I can't tell you how much I've learned just from the numerous (mixed) feedback I received from Necromancer's, which is about 25k words! Part of me wants to rewrite/reprint it, but part of me wants to just leave it as it is so I and other readers can see how far I've come since then.
For Tears, I was sort of surprised I hadn't gotten many fantasy and/or romance readers checking it out like I had hoped, since I wrote it with those two genres in mind. Since it's been released in November 2012, it's made less than 10 sales, so not many have been checking it out. I'm thinking it's due to the price, so I'm considering raising it to $1.99. 99-cents and 1.49 doesn't seem to be working for me. I'd like to try and gain readers from both genres.
 

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Well, mine are erotica, selling fairly consistent (about 30-40 copies a month) but as a reader I do enjoy short stories myself, whether or not they are erotica, so you should give it a try :)

I think the best non-erotica short story market would be for sci-fi, fantasy and mystery or perhaps horror.
 

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Kathleen Valentine said:
The Crazy Old Lady allowed me to pay cash for a new car last July.
Wow!

I'd say you have your answer, OP. Kathleen, has it always been at the .99 price point? That is very encouraging. I guess there is quite the market for short ghost stories and/or horror.
 

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The Lacuna short stories aren't fantastic sellers on their own, but they do spur sales of the novels which is nice since they're set in the same universe and there's a modest amount of crossover/continuity. You don't need to have read either to enjoy either one, but you can often go, "Ohhhhh, that's THAT person, I remember them!"

Often the short stories grow out of plotlines that got cut from the novel for pacing or theme reasons.
 

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All my titles are under 15,000 words long. I make enough to take the family out to dinner every other month. That's more than I made pubbing them in lit mags. ;)

If I'd get my butt in gear and write more stories (especially sequels!), I might be able to treat the family every month!

I do believe the market for short fiction will grow in the coming years. I don't think it'll overtake novels (or even match that market), but I do think it will improve as more readers begin to appreciate the art form. (And anyone who says they don't find short stories satisfying has never read a truly AMAZING short story!)

Hope that helps!

Rue
 

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I'm about to find out in a few months.  I've been working on the back-story of my trilogy for a while now and I am planning on releasing it as a series of short episodes.  As I write the series, I know people who like the genera and my trilogy will like it, but as a publisher, I have some doubts that I have bitten off more than I can chew.  

When I planned my Eternal Gateway trilogy, I was thinking movies.  When I outlined The War of Antiquities back story, I was thinking along the lines of a TV series.

I am currently on episode 6 of 22.  Even at a 99c price point, that's a lot of pennies to ask from customers for the full set.  Right now I have no doubts that I will have to bundle 5-6 of them at a $2.99 price point or even the whole series into one compilation.

If the bundles are what sell...  Then why release singles?  I'ts going to be painful to watch episode 18-22 never sell because at some point, regardless of the story, people are not going to spend another dollar.  Its something that I have been thinking about more and more.  Regardless I will write the story I want to tell in the way I want to tell it, but the publisher inside me has his work cut out for him to make it successful.
 

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ruecole said:
I do believe the market for short fiction will grow in the coming years. I don't think it'll overtake novels (or even match that market), but I do think it will improve as more readers begin to appreciate the art form. (And anyone who says they don't find short stories satisfying has never read a truly AMAZING short story!)
No no, novels are going to die, remember? (snrk)

Seriously though, I think you're right on point. As unstable as the market is there does seem to be every indication that the pie is growing and the biggest growth is in shorter formats that never got much attention from traditional publishing. I also think it will never achieve anything remotely on par with novel-length fiction.

Still, as a reader I haven't yet wrapped my head around buying short stories or novellas. I did see a novella the other day that interested me a bit, but not enough to buy it because at heart I do prefer novels unless I'm working through an anthology.
 

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Sort of. I have high hopes for Beacon -- the response has been great and it's done rather well so far, but Sojourns Through Troubled Worlds and Cindered Souls (both collections) are hit-and-miss every month.

The big thing probably hurting me is I initially asked family and friends not to leave reviews, so I didn't have the "boost" that some folks do out of the gate.
 

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    I have 11 short stories out right now and plan on publishing one a month for the rest of the year. Problem is, they're not all in the same genre (they span from historical fiction to horror to literary). So even if a person liked one, they may be disappointed with the another (and from what I've read on these boards, a lot of people download stories without reading the synopsis or looking at the number of pages - and then are disappointed with what they get and take it out on reviews. I'll never understand that.)
    Strangest thing though, none of my stories has sold more than 10 copies except for one. And that one, "He Sees Me," has sold over eighty copies. Its sales are consistent every month where the others haven't moved. I suspect it's because that one features a popular internet meme and the tag word is drawing hits. I suppose if you can market to the right niche in the right way, it will sell stories.
    On another note - I put my first story up for free on Select the other day. I was happy that it was downloaded 60 times, but it didn't translate to a single sale. Oh well, keep trying.
 

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rainvilleadam said:
I have 11 short stories out right now and plan on publishing one a month for the rest of the year. Problem is, they're not all in the same genre (they span from historical fiction to horror to literary). So even if a person liked one, they may be disappointed with the another (and from what I've read on these boards, a lot of people download stories without reading the synopsis or looking at the number of pages - and then are disappointed with what they get and take it out on reviews. I'll never understand that.)
You may want to put the genre and type of story it is in the title itself. Readers certainly won't miss that.
I did that with my short story, "Tears of the Goddess" http://amzn.to/Tf5Rgc
I think it may also help with SEO to do this.
 

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Interestingly, my collection of short stories "The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea," which came out in 2006, still sells 10-30 copies a month. They would fit into the "literary" category. My second collection, "Months and Seasons" trails behind that, slow and steadily. I lucked out with my first collection as I had a review in the Los Angeles Times and mentioned in Entertainment Weekly. Later this year, I'll be bringing out a collection by another writer, Shelly Lowenkopf, as well as my own new collection, but I have to consider how marketing has changed so much for collections. Reviews are still important, but WHERE to be reviewed now is the question.
 
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