Tuesday, January 15, 2013
I have friends who love to turn out long books. For some writers, 150,000 words a pop is nothing. The mammoth novel has never been my favorite form. If I have to pick my natural length, it would probably be the novella. And the short story is also a treat for me.
I read a lot of those stories later when I was an American Studies major at The George Washington University and then as a graduate student at the University of Maryland. And I loved them.
But my fondness for the form actually started earlier, when I discovered science fiction as a kid. From the age of ten until into my twenties, science fiction was a lot of my leisure-time reading. And the most frequent variety was the short story.
I’m going to skip over decades when the short story declined in American culture, mostly due to the dying out of the magazines that published them. It’s more fun to go right to today’s resurgence of the market. And I’ll credit the rebirth to indie publishing. You don’t have to be invited into an anthology to write a short story today or find a magazine that still buys them. You can write the stories that stir your creativity and publish them in e-format.
Some authors are doing them to keep readers happy between novels. Others are writing them because they have an idea they want to explore that won’t work in novel form but may be perfect for a short story.
I’ve done a couple of them myself—AMBUSHED and HOT AND DANGEROUS—as well as a novella, CHAINED.
I’m loving the freedom that the indie market has opened up for writers—especially the ability to publish stories of any length you want. And luckily for us, readers are appreciating these shorter works, too.
What’s your favorite story length for leisure reading? Or do you love the freedom to choose what’s best for your mood of the moment?
And stop by Lunch Time Reads at http://bit.ly/TYxidH , where you can find some great short stories by favorite authors, each for 99c.
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
I used to give a flip answer---that I bought them from a little shop in Ellicott City, the charming old town just down the road from my house.
Now I tell the truth. If you’re a writer, ideas for stories whirl around in your mind all the time. You just have to choose which ones you’re going to develop.
Until a few years ago authors were restricted to writing the stories publishers wanted to buy. Now there are no restrictions. You can write anything you want, publish it yourself, and sell your work to readers.
This month, I’ve put several of the above titles together into a DECORAH SECURITY COLLECTION that’s doing really well on Amazon.
Indie publishing is a wild ride with some big advantages and also some disadvantages. Nobody tells you how long to make the book. If you have an idea that will work better for a short story than a novel, you can go write and publish it. And nobody censors you. If your bad guys tend to use the F word when they’re angry, they can sling the trash talk with the best of them.
Then there’s the book cover. Over the years, I’ve been disappointed by so many of the covers my publisher has provided for my books. Now I get to pick the guy, the pose and the background. It’s exactly MY vision of my story, which is more satisfying than you know.
And it doesn’t matter if romantic suspense is “in” or “out” or if an editor wants paranormal or not. I can do it my way.
There are frustrations in the self-publishing business. But the control over my work outweighs them. Next up in the DECORAH SECURITY series is ON EDGE, a prequel telling how Frank Decorah got to be the head of Decorah Security.
I’ve got a couple more projects on the drawing boards as well, which means there’s lots more work for me ahead. And I hope a lot more reading fun for you.