By reading great ones; the first book of short stories I remember really impressing me was 'Dark Feasts' by Ramsey Campbell. I got it from a second-hand bookshop in Cleathorpes (small town on the Lincolnshire coast) when I was about fifteen and think I read about half of them in the back-seat on the ride home with my parents. 'The Companion', what a story!
So when I started writing, that's what I wrote. I kind of had this naive idea that that was what writersdid, even those who wrote roaringly successful novels. And in fact even now I struggle to think of any great author that didn't at least dabble in short stories.
As an author, do you think writing short stories is worthwhile? Why?
Short stories are pretty much all I write (I wrote a novel when I left university; it was a wannabe Martin Amis piece of rubbish). If you're asking are they "worthwhile" from an artistic point of view, then yes absolutely. There seems to be a view at the moment that they are, at best, truncated novels, but I absolutely refute that - they are an art form in their own right. Whenever I discover a new author, I always check to see if they have any short stories available.
If you mean from a commercial point of view, then I've no idea! But on good days I hope that technology like the Kindle will lead to a resurgence in the short story market. I've found some good ones out there by self published authors, and that helps me keep the faith.
What types of short story promotion have worked for you?
I think submitting to small press magazines, even for exposure only, is a good way to start - getting a string of rejections is good for a writer; builds character. Polish them, and then when you start getting acceptances you know you've written something good. Most of the short story magazines have amazingly high standards. And most likely you'll still have the rights to the stories, so then start collecting to them in self publish ebooks or whatever.
That, and places like Kindleboards are pretty good to hang out on. Plus, this blog I'm sure!
What types of short story promotion have not worked for you?
Hard to say; sometimes I blog and post loads and have hardly any sales; other times I do less and have more sales. The trend seems to indicate if I do nothing all day, I'll be on the best-seller list within a week.
Do you consider 99 cents to be a fair price for a standalone short story? Why or why not?
Yeah of course; for a good one. A good short story I'll read many times in my life, savouring it. So it's worth, you know, more than what I pay for an ice cream from a tinkling van. And I like knowing I've helped a fellow author, in whatever small way.