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But there have always been short-story writers, and always been novelists. Are you suggesting the ratio is increasing, and if so, where is the evidence to support it.

In defence of the short story, I was one of those who chose to investigate short stories after having novels rejected. I was lucky enough to eventually have shorts published in glossy magazines, and found writing them, polished my technique sufficiently, to have my first novel accepted.

I would suggest it was not a case of the publisher checking to see if I had a fan-base, rather that my writing improved. Writing shorts, gives a faster turn around, with faster feedback from editorial staff. Authors tends to hone their writing skills faster because of it.

Writing a novel is a long slog, and at the end, rejection is always a probability. With a short story, rejection doesn't mean a year of your life you wave goodbye to - and on a good day, editorial staff might just give pointers to what they are looking for.
 
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