01/25 – Tawna Fenske

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Thirteen Reasons to Write Short Stories

By Sarina Dorie

One might ask why it would benefit you to shift your focus away from novel writing to short stories. The number one reason is marketing. This is one more way to promote your novels and brand, while honing your craft and learning to write succinctly. Sure, you can continue to write blog posts and articles in sources read by other writers, but stories are another way to reach your fans.

Reasons to Write Short Stories


Many indie publishers offer small advances or no advances. Royalty statements may be small. If a professional short story market pays 6 cents a word, and the story is 10,000 words, you can make $600.


Some magazines and contests are well-known. It is impressive to say you were published in a famous magazine or anthology.

Gaining readers

When a reader enjoys a novel, he or she may search for other novels. If a reader enjoys a short story and the author also has novels, it is a great way to make oneself known to fans.


If blogging, Facebook, and other social media are a chore for you, but you enjoy writing fiction, having published short stories with a bio at the end to direct traffic to your website can be a way to promote other work.

Directing traffic to other works

Listing links to an author’s website, blog, other published pieces are common in a bio.

Winning contests

Winning contests looks impressive to agents, editors, other writers and readers. This can be used in cover letters and in blurbs on books. Winning a contest gives you a reason to celebrate your successes.

Building skills

It isn’t that practice makes perfect, but perfect practice makes perfect. This is a way to hone your craft, experiment and become a better writer.

Learning to write more succinctly

Writing fiction that is in a shorter format than a novel forces a writer to focus on simplicity, the key components needed in a plot and character arc. It makes us more selective about word choice and conscious of the key scenes we choose.

Writing more content more quickly

This is a chance to increase speed.

Building up your writing credentials

Everyone at some point starts with a query letter that has no publishing credits. Short stories are the baby steps to get something in that section.

The rejection rate is not as severe

No matter what, rejection is the reality of publishing. You will be rejected. But if you are writing

You are rejected and accepted more quickly than with a novel

Generally, there is less wait time with short stories than novels because editors can read them and reject them more quickly. Although there are short story markets that take a year to get back to authors, often they list in their submission guidelines their response rate. For many markets this might be a week to four months.

Less risk

If the story sucks, is cliché, completely unreadable, you get stuck, etc. there is less guilt about abandoning it. It is easier to let go of a ten page story that fails than a 500 page novel.


As a child, Sarina Dorie dreamed of being an astronaut/archeologist/fashion designer/illustrator/writer. After years of dedication and hard work, most of Sarina’s dreams have come true; in addition to teaching art, she is a writer/artist/fashion designer/belly dancer. She has taught English overseas in South Korea and in the JET program in Japan, and works as a copy editor and copy writer. She has shown her art internationally and sold illustrations to magazines.
Sarina’s published paranormal romance novel, Silent Moon, won second place in the Duel on the Delta Contest, second place in the Golden Rose, third place in the Winter Rose Contest and third in the Ignite the Flame Contest. Her unpublished novel, Wrath of the Tooth Fairy won first place in the Golden Claddagh and in the Golden Rose contests. She has sold short stories to over thirty magazines and anthologies including Daily Science Fiction, Cosmos, Penumbra, Sword and Laser, Perihelion, Bards and Sages, Neo-Opsis, Flagship, Allasso, New Myths, Untied Shoelaces of the Mind, and Crossed Genres to name a few. Her science fiction romance novel, Dawn of the Morningstar is due to come out next year.
Learn more about Sarina at www.sarinadorie.com


Pippa Jay said...

Hi Sarina,
I agree, writing short stories definitely helps you focus on writing more succinctly and efficiently, and it is less of a guilt trip dropping one when it doesn't work out. Thanks for an interesting article!

Shobhan Bantwal said...


Thanks for sharing your valuable insights. You are so right on so many counts.

I started my writing career with short stories and entering contests. Winning one top award and two honorable mentions was what got me on the track to writing full-length novels, then acquiring a well-known agent and publisher.

Diana McCollum said...

I love writing short stories! And novela length stories. All your points are so spot on. Thanks for an interesting blog post.

Sarah Raplee said...

Great post! Thank you for Guesting here at RTG, Sarina.

Judith Ashley said...

Hi Sarina,

Thank you for joining us at RTG! What a great post to start off our "short story romance author" month: clear, concise, comprehensive, complete. I sure couldn't think of other reasons to write short stories.