Selling Short Stories

I’m getting ready to put my first short story on Amazon (if I’ll just make myself buckle down and do the last edits!), and I’m starting to gear up to write more short stories to sell.

The original purpose of publishing some short stories–and the reason why I started writing Bloodsuckers and publishing here for free–was to get some name recognition and develop a following. I wanted to market myself in order to pique the interest of a publisher and/or agent.

But this blog post is making me think that there might actually be some money to be made in selling short stories on Amazon. When I say there’s money to be made, I don’t mean a fortune; I’m talking about an extra $20-$35 a month in income per story. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but our finances are such that I wouldn’t sneeze at an extra $20 – $35 a month. (That at least allows me to buy some books for myself). And, of course, the more you put up for sale, the more that income increases until you can eventually see your way towards writing full-time.

At $20-$35 per month in income from each story, I would need 45-80 short stories or novellas published in order to replace my current salary. That sounds like a hell of a lot of writing–if I did one story a week, it would take me a year to get what I needed built up–but it’s not an impossible goal.

When I look at writing one novel per year, I can’t see it making enough money every year to support me. And, in all honesty, most novelists do not live by novels alone; they write for magazines or do other freelance writing. But, if I were to write short stories full-time, I could conceivably live on that while still publishing a novel or two every year (after all, all of the writing I’ve done so far has been done while working a regular 9-to-5 job with commute). That would make the money from my novels an icing on the cake. We could afford to travel again, I could put money into my retirement, etc. I might even work up to owning that vacation cottage on the west coast of Ireland.

Time to start putting daydreams on paper and sell them!

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