January 19, 2018, 09:40:45 AM

Author Topic: Short Stories for Marketing (and fun!)  (Read 318 times)

Offline NedMarcus

Short Stories for Marketing (and fun!)
« on: December 29, 2017, 09:26:27 AM »
Does anyone here write short stories to help market their longer fiction? I just wondered what your experiences are. I have one novel for sale (the first in a planned series) and I use a novelette and a short story written in the same world as a way for people to try my writing (and collecting their emails). It's been slowly working for me.

I also plan to write short stories and sell them to traditional markets (online magazines) as a way to reach a larger audience that would never otherwise see my writing. Does anyone here do this? I listened to a podcast by Joanna Penn recently when she interviewed someone about short story writing (he was very into traditional publishing) but the ideas were relevant for indie publishers.

Offline NedMarcus

Re: Short Stories for Marketing (and fun!)
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2017, 08:28:56 AM »
Mmm. Perhaps not  :-\

Offline CameronJohnston

Re: Short Stories for Marketing (and fun!)
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2017, 10:51:37 AM »
Can't say I've written short stories to help market a novel, y'know, not having one out until now.

That said, if you can get your name into well-known or widely-read magazines a few times then people will start to recognize your name. A form of 'brand recognition' can't hurt your novel sales.
The Traitor God, published by Angry Robot June 2018

http://www.cameronjohnston.net/

Offline NedMarcus

Re: Short Stories for Marketing (and fun!)
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2017, 11:32:11 AM »
True. I notice you have sword fighting and archery experience. I used to do these, too. Good for writing fantasy.

Offline Bradley Darewood

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Re: Short Stories for Marketing (and fun!)
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2018, 02:11:14 PM »
I've gotten a few short stories published.

I've also written a couple of books, but uhhhhh.... writing them was easy and then somehow I've been editing them for f*ing years so I have no long fiction to market per se.  Even if I did, my WIP is epic fantasy and my published short stories might have a touch of the fantastic (there's a psychic homeless guy in my serial killer one), but i"m not sure someone would even want to move from, say, my short story about a guy who calls a number for a date scrawled on a toilet stall in a public park to... a full length novel with swords and magic and shit.

Here's what I'd say:

I think it depends on where your short fiction is located. Sales are slow for the vast majority of all fiction, really, and anthologies don't usually sell big without big names. It could be a great avenue to be discovered by new readers, but who knows when or how many people will find you that way. If like 10% of readers of an online magazine actually get to your story and 10% of those were totally in love with it and 10% of those decide to look you up and buy your shit... So unless your short story is alongside GRRM's (or even if you're pooling a reader base with other smaller self-pubbed but relatively successful fantasy authors with already established audiences who know about and will buy the anthology) I wouldn't expect to see immediate results, but the more you are out there, the greater cumulative chance someone will find you... and over a period of years that could build up!

If you're looking at trad publishing and you've got short fiction published that will help you get an agent.  But you still have that getting published and after that a book-selling problem (which most trad published books by first-time authors don't sell well either)

A few people on here have entered contests and gotten published in some magazines and whatnot.  There's a monthly writing contest on here and Tebakutis posts his entries on his blog on his author website, for example.  Again not sure that translates into sales. Teb is also experimenting with releasing his latest scifi novel as a serial on his website. Again, I'm not sure how that's going, but it's a steal because it's really top notch riveting cyberpunk stuff.

Writers of the Future is cool and helps you make connections and get exposure. I have a friend who was a finalist and go to go to the event thing they have and she really liked it.  I'm not sure if it affected her sales either but she said it was a great exp and you get a bit of mentoring from established authors who read your short. A few of us on here have been wanting to submit stuff to that.  It's on my to do list.

Also, there's a few threads on here about self pubbing and marketting if you dig around that could be useful to you-- Teb, Cameron, and Eli all have great experience and advice, but there's a ton of knowledgeable people on here I'm not mentioning.

A shorter answer to your question could have been: "I write short stories for fun (and to stay sane), and I put them out there when I can because why not? I hope that one day it might result in something but I have no clue."
« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 02:15:35 PM by Bradley Darewood »

Offline NedMarcus

Re: Short Stories for Marketing (and fun!)
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2018, 12:25:19 AM »
Thanks for your take on this. I understand about the editing them forever bit. One of my main goals this year is to speed up my writing—more accurately, to speed up my editing/revising. My first novel took a looooong time. My second one (my WIP) is only taking a loong time. But I still like the idea of writing more short fiction.

I love epic fantasy and science fantasy (especially if they're mixed together) but I still like the sound of the psychic homeless guy story. What I'm saying is that some people would like both; some people move more easily between the sub-genres of fantasy (and even beyond). How many, I've no idea.

All book marketing is hard; I don't expect this way to be any easier, but it could be fun, too. I'll check out Writers of the Future. So far, the short fiction I've written I've used directly for marketing (although writing it was love) and give away a short story for sign-ups to my mailing list and I have a permafree novelette, a prelude to my first novel, available everywhere in the hope of attracting more readers. It works, to some extent.



Offline Bradley Darewood

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Re: Short Stories for Marketing (and fun!)
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2018, 09:53:29 AM »
Thanks for your take on this. I understand about the editing them forever bit. One of my main goals this year is to speed up my writing—more accurately, to speed up my editing/revising. My first novel took a looooong time. My second one (my WIP) is only taking a loong time. But I still like the idea of writing more short fiction.

I love epic fantasy and science fantasy (especially if they're mixed together) but I still like the sound of the psychic homeless guy story. What I'm saying is that some people would like both; some people move more easily between the sub-genres of fantasy (and even beyond). How many, I've no idea.

All book marketing is hard; I don't expect this way to be any easier, but it could be fun, too. I'll check out Writers of the Future. So far, the short fiction I've written I've used directly for marketing (although writing it was love) and give away a short story for sign-ups to my mailing list and I have a permafree novelette, a prelude to my first novel, available everywhere in the hope of attracting more readers. It works, to some extent.

Oh wowwww you have a mailing list?  I have a tumblr blog with 3 followers but that's about it...
How'd you get a mailing list? How big is it?

Offline NedMarcus

Re: Short Stories for Marketing (and fun!)
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2018, 01:59:35 AM »
My mailing list is very small—about 70. I got it mostly by giving away a novelette and short story in exchange for a sign-up. I used a little FB advertising, too, but kept my budget small. Now, it's mostly sign-ups from my website.

When my first novel came out quite a few of the readers on my list bought, which was good. I plan to expand my list before I publish my second novel this summer.