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Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Write flash fiction, short stories or novellas? Even Amazon is actively seeking your stories...

Hello visitors and friends!

I don’t know why at times there seems to be a stigma around writing short stories rather than novels. Unless you’re a best-selling author, there’s just as much money, or actually more, that can be made from penning short stories if you study the paying market. That’s where I started when I got serious about making some money from writing a few years ago. I absolutely love writing fast fiction and short stories and have my eye on a novella or two, constructed from my flash fiction ideas.

Fast Fiction magazine in Australia publishes four times a year and is chock full of shorts of various lengths and various genres. Accepts internationally. It's my favourite market and pays really well. Here is a link to the first story they accepted to give you an idea of how open they are. 

The news is good for shorter fiction in these days of digital publishing. From being sneered at, unloved and unbought, short stories, serials and novellas are having quite the resurgence. Consider how many buyers are using their phones and tablets to read. I for one don't want to read 100,000 words via my phone.


The New York Times says, "Stories are perfect for the digital age...because readers want to connect and want that connection to be intense and to move on."  

Book marketing guru Penny Sansevieri said in the HuffPo: "…short is the new long…consumers want quick bites of information and things like Kindle Singles."

Short stories can also be a marketing tool for longer works.  Digital Book World's Rob Eagar said, "Selling your book means writing effective newsletters, blog posts, short stories, free resources, social media posts, word-of-mouth tools, magazine articles, etc."


There’s a dilemma about what actually constitutes a short story—word counts vary from publisher to publisher. Some call short stories anything up to 30K, with novellas coming in at anything between 30K-50K. Harlequin romance writers know that there is a romance novel requirement of 50K words.

Read the guidelines of the various publishers before writing to a market. Entangled Publishing just won a prestigious award for being one of the best digital publishers, and they are always looking for shorts, novellas and novels. Check them out their submission process here.


Many short story competitions require anything up to 10,000K or less. And some publishing houses consider 15K a novella. Short story anthologies are great for your resume if you can get accepted in a prestigious one. Don’t forget online zines. I found this link on Anne R Allen’s blog to a great list of genre story markets put together by Romance author Cathleen Ross.

So, whatever your preferred length, there’s someone out there who wants your stories. Even Amazon. Amazon actively seeks short fiction for their Kindle Singles program (published authors only need apply) and their new literary magazine Day One magazine actually accepts debut authors. Take note: when the Kindle Singles program launched in 2011, they sold 2 million "singles" ebooks in the first year! More details below...

Another positive: keeping your name out there is easier with shorts. Most writers can’t pen more than two or three books a year, (and what an achievement that would be), but they can turn out a lot of short stories and novellas.

WRITING OPPORTUNITIES – Paying it forward from Anne R Allen…go to her blog for more...

Amazon’s literary journal Day One
 is seeking submissions. According to Carmen Johnson, Day One’s editor, the litzine is looking for “fresh and compelling short fiction and poetry by emerging writers.” This includes stories that are less than 20,000 words by authors that have never been published, and poems by poets who have never published before. To submit works, writers/poets can email their work as a word document, along with a brief description and author bio to dayone-submissions @amazon.com.

So, dear writers, let me know if you find success in the short story/novella market. So many opportunities, so little time!

Don't forget--you can practise your short stories, flash fiction, poetry etc during the WEP challenge each month. Current prompt - FAILURE...OR IS IT? You can sign up right here in my sidebar. Love to have you - you can request critique, suggestions...we may even help you get published!!


  1. Wow, loads of great information here. Thanks so much! :)


  2. I had exactly the same reaction as Shah - Wow. Packed full of information. All good news for me, as I'm happiest writing short stories and novella length fiction. I've seen many of my writing friends publish short pieces - from 22 to 55 pages. They've all received good reviews. However, I've seen other writers receive negative reviews because they were too short. You have to wonder if the fault for that lies with the reader and not the writer - did they not realise what they were buying?

    I've been trying to reach a decision about publishing small pieces, and I think I might now do it!

  3. You bet there's a market for them. Milo James Fowler has made a career out of short stories. (And his site lists a lot of markets as well.)

    1. Thanks for the reminder Alex. Love Milo's writing.

  4. I been reading more and more that people want shorter work for "quick fixes" on their phones. Thanks for all the links for places to submit.

  5. Thanks for these links, very useful.

    Moody Writing

  6. Sounds like a great opportunity! I started writing freelance blogs and articles based on jobs I found on Elance 3 years ago. I eventually was making more money doing that than at my day job--so I quit to write full-time.

    1. I'm happy for you Stephanie. There is actually money to be made.

  7. It does sound like a wonderful opportunity. DAY ONE will not consider me as I have been published -- and only debut authors can apply. Sigh.

  8. Whew! I love all the options out there. I just got my arm twisted into contributing to an anthology, and at first I wondered if I even knew how to write a short story anymore. Flash fiction, sure, but a short story? Turns out it's like riding a bike. I've debated jumping on the Amazon Singles wagon with a serial story, but that's as far as I've gotten. Have to actually write the thing first, eh? (Only 15K in. Not too shabby.) Thanks for the new links!

  9. HI, Denise,

    What a FANTASTIC post... Thanks so much for the info. I think I need to brush off some of the dust on my shorts and get them out there. Terrific infer here... You're the best!

  10. Wow! What a wealth of information here. This is one of the most helpful blog posts I've read on marketing. I love reading and writing short stories, so I'm definitely going to save this post.

  11. Hi, Denise,
    I've realized that more and more people are enjoying novellas and short stories. I prefer novels, but that's just me. Thanks for the information you provided here.

  12. These are great opportunities. I really need to write some more short stories of the contemporary kind.

  13. Thanks for the information.

  14. Hi Denise
    I see it's time to work on my fairy tales. Sparkling faeries beat vampires any day in my opinion. Thanks for so many links. And thanks for your kind comments on my blog.

  15. Hi Denise, and a serious "like" for this post!

  16. I enjoy short stories, and wish more publishing companies compiled them. Glad Amazon is an outlet for short story writers and readers.

  17. Hi human, Denise,

    My paws are going to have fun trying to click on those links. Pawsonally, I pawfer short stories and my human, with his short attention span, would much rather read or write a short story. Fascinated about Amazon. Thanks for all of this. I even found out that Flash Fiction isn't necessarily something rude :)

    Have a lovely week ahead.


  18. Short stories used to be my favorite reading material. I bought so many collections of short stories and enjoyed writing them as well. This is a medium that I need to revisit more often.

    Wrote By Rote

  19. Hi Denise ... I used my blog posts as 'short stories' to have a number of alternative ideas to talk to my mother or uncle about .. when we talk to the elderly they often don't have the capacity for a long read or input .. they want some variation ... short stories seem to have come into their own .. and work so well on digital devices ...

    Great ideas here .. thanks .. cheers Hilary

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