Author interview: Beth Mathison

How did you become interested in short stories? 
I loved the short story form when I was younger, especially Ernest Hemingway's Nick Adams stories.  The language was concise and descriptive, which I appreciated even back then.  When I started writing in earnest as an adult, I started writing novels.  In between novels, I'd write short fiction to "re-set" my thought process so I could move on to the next project.  When my current publisher (Untreed Reads) sent out a call for a short story submission in 2010, I gave it a chance.  I had fun writing it, they loved it, and they asked for more.

As an author, do you think writing short stories is worthwhile?  Why? 
Absolutely, on many levels.  As an author, shorts force me to write precisely and with a level of focus that I don't always have when I'm writing longer works.  Every word counts, and each word carries a lot of meaning.  As a reader, I like shorts when I don't have a lot of time to read.  I can get a complete story in a fraction of the time it takes to read a novel.  

What types of short story promotion have worked for you?
 
My publisher does some promotion for it's authors, but I'm out there in the "trenches" also.  I promote on social media like Facebook, and I also hit some of the book/Kindle boards.  I don't visit those boards just to promote, though.  I'm not there solely to market --  I find people with similar interests, especially when it comes to books.  When I promote on social media sites, I see a direct increase in sales.

What types of short story promotion have not worked for you?
 
Word of mouth has been challenging for me.  Almost all of my stories are available only in e-book form.  Some people just don't want to hear about e-books, which is perfectly fine.  I think, however, that once e-books become more established, word of mouth will become a more successful marketing tool.

Do you consider 99 cents to be a fair price for a standalone short story?  Why or why not?
 
I do think it's a fair price.  As an author, a short story actually takes me a longer time to write than a longer work.  You have less space to tell a story, which is sometimes challenging. I think readers are willing to plunk down 99 cents to read a good story.


Check out Beth on Amazon
Or check out her publisher's site

Comments

  1. I think it's very true what you say about word of mouth. Plus, it's more difficult to judge if word is getting around or not.

    For example, I teach private violin students for a living. It was fairly obvious once word of mouth had sort of "taken over." I was getting more and more calls from people going "hey, my friend really recommended you."

    Not so with books, much less ebooks. Aside from the few and far between review, there's not much feedback from readers.

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  2. Another good interview - I'm really enjoying these Alain (and not just because you did me!).

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  3. Thanks for this, Beth and Alain!
    I love hearing the perspectives of other short story writers.

    Shana Hammaker
    Twelve Terrifying Tales for 2011

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  4. I know, I've really been enjoying them as well. What's fascinating to me are all the different marketing approaches people have taken.

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