An Unexpected Lesson from Publishing Short Stories

I may not be making a million bucks from writing them but one nice thing about being a short story author is the freedom to publish constantly.  You're not trudging through an epic 150,000 word fantasy for years.  You can write a 25,000 word fantasy, publish and be done with it.  Still on a fantasy kick?  Right more.  Bored of fantasy?  Try a different genre.

This publishing flexibility suits me.  It also helps me to stave off writer's block.  When I publish too many stories of the same genre I start to feel like they're all turning out the same.  A formula rut as it were.

But what I didn't expect was that branching out in genre also taught me a lot about the business of publishing.  I started to see that certain genres really do sell better than others just because of subject material alone.  Certain genres simply have a bigger audience.  But with a bigger audience also comes more competition.

Seeing certain stories take off under a brand new pen name just because it falls under a certain genre was very much an eye opening experience for me.  I think that's when I became a publisher.  Sure, call it selling out.  But I do care about making some money from my writing.  It's not the reason I write but it's the reason why I stay on a strict writing schedule.

Believe it or not, being a publisher has just as much of a learning curve as writing.  It takes time figuring out what sells and what doesn't.  Followed by what makes something sell and what doesn't.  And then trying to find that happy medium of writing vs. promoting.

It's interesting work.  While I may be slacking in the promotions department, I have been very particular about watching which series are doing well.  If it starts to gain traction, I spend more time producing more stories with a similar vibe.  I've only really spent a year monitoring sales as it relates to genre but I image, just like writing, the more I work at it the easier it will become.


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