June 26, 2011

Making Money on Short Stories

I just finished reading Christian Cantrell's Human Legacy Project, which is 7,200 word sci-fi piece that is ranked #2,692 in the Kindle store (not bad!). The story deals with the not-so-simple question of "What is the Purpose of Human Civilization?" The fact that Cantrell has sold so many copies is truly an impressive feat and motivation for those of us who try to write short stories. My 4-star review is here if anyone is interested.

Looking at my own bibliography, perhaps I should try to incorporate some bigger picture concepts. My most recent short stories have dealt with the following:
  1. A Possessed Water Buffalo
  2. Cocaine Dealing on Sukhumvit Soi 5
  3. Crazy Guy Tries to Shoot Someone at the US Embassy in Bangkok
  4. Other Morally Depraved Tales
Perhaps I should try to class up my writing a bit to make it more marketable to a broader audience, but that would make it less fun.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch suggests you can make a decent 5-figure income a year only by writing short stories. She does a good job of explaining the history of the short story market ever since the 1950s. Nowadays, with many people expecting content for free, I feel that short stories are more of a way to build your brand name than make cash.

If you're interested in submitting some short stories to anthologies, Ralan.com maintains a great list of paying anthologies and exposure-only anthologies that aren't bullshit contest scams.

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