Author interview: Chrissy Olinger

How did you become interested in short stories?
I wrote shorts ages ago, as an undergrad, but hadn't done much with novella and longer-short length in ages. I decided to do something fun, light, and easy to dip my toe into the amazon kindle-direct market.  My Boyfriend's Back was the result.

As an author, do you think writing short stories is worthwhile?  Why?
For me, they are fun.  And since self publishing has taken off, I think the publication of shorts, novellas, and even collections is a terrific way to keep yourself active.  Even more importantly, though, I find a lot of us (myself definitely included) love that little punch of pleasure.  I can sit and blow through something in a single sitting, or read a novella in two parts-- maybe a subway ride into Boston for the first half, and a satisfying finsih on the ride home.  Even a quick read on a Sunday afternoon has something very comfortable in it.  I almost think of shorts
and novellas as "literary comfort food."

What types of short story promotion have worked for you?
Getting mentioned here and there helped me, but I'm also fairly new at the game.  It's been fascinating to be in the driver's seat for a change, and also to see how sales spike and slow.  I did get mentioned by lots of friends on facebook, twitter, and a few forums.  But even better?  I'm getting clever about how to FIND shorts and novellas for myself! Honestly I am an absolute Amazon HOUND.  I check the top 100 sellers a few times a week either on the web or from my kindle.  Since I am active in a few writing communities, and I blog with other writers-- I get a lot of word of mouth, too.  We interview authors on Fictionistas and LOVE to recommend give-aways or spread word on titles (  I watch the Kindle Boards, too (  There are so many cool blogs, facebook feeds, and even twitter feeds out there you can find titles really easily.

What types of short story promotion have not worked for you?
I did send out emails to a few blogs and haven't seen much traffic as a result.  So far I have done no paid advertising, since this was my maiden flight, and I am trying to learn from this experience.  I do have a full novel coming out in a few months, and hope to take what I learned to inform that process.  My plan at this point is to purchase some ads for my novel (Echo's Lyric, a young adult fantasy.)

Do you consider 99 cents to be a fair price for a standalone short
story?  Why or why not?

I do.  I wish Amazon had a distinction between shorts/novellas and novels. I honestly believe a lot of readers get excited and go on "download safari," which I'm guilty of myself.  But sometimes they can click without realizing they are getting a short.  I was very deliberate about putting something in my blurb for that reason.  But come on-- a short, quick, lovely little read for under a buck?  BARGAIN!

Check out Chrissy's short story:
On Amazon
Or click here to check out her homepage


  1. Your tips interested me. Why do you check the Amazon top 100 short stories so frequently?

  2. I love shorts, so I am always looking.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share, Alain!

  3. I like shorts - sometimes when I'm busy, they're all I have time for.

  4. I also love writing short stories. Especially in between writing novel length. It's cleansing.

  5. I love short stories, too. It's like instant gratification, because you can start and finish reading it in one sitting.

  6. Thanks for this Chrissy!
    Great tips for the rest of us who love to write short stories.

    And thanks again for doing this, Alain. What a great way to meet other short story writers and share experiences.

    Too often I think we can feel like the ugly stepchild in the writing family. Or I do, anyway.

    Gonna have to check out your blog Chrissy. :)

    Shana Hammaker
    Twelve Terrifying Tales for 2011

  7. I know exactly how you feel. So many times I've sat down at my computer and gone "ok, this idea I'm turning into a book." Even if I have enough material to write about, my momentum just seems to slow down to a stopping point after awhile. I feel like I'm blathering on.

    I've finally just accepted that writing short stories suits me. While novels burn me out, short stories keep me going. Plus, they are easy to work on between violin students =)


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