Thanks to The Story Reading Ape for this incredible opportunity to run four monthly articles on his website. The big question is what exactly to use this space for. Quite honestly, I do want people to buy my books, but I am the brand and will stick with that for a few paragraphs.
One of my great loves is short form fiction. These can be micro-fiction, short stories, even novellas. I grew up reading these, and was saddened when they nearly died out.
In hindsight it’s easy to see. Short form was the preference of magazines and newspapers. If you look back far enough some of our classic fiction came from those media, and not what we call novels. Sherlock Holmes came to light this way.
When the Internet took control of our lives, most of the paper media faded away. We get our news online, or on television. Magazines don’t play much of a role these days. Newspapers gave up on short fiction a long time ago, but they are in real trouble too.
Big publishing wants novels, and that makes sense. Shelf space at a bookstore is valuable. A more expensive product on that shelf seems to work better.
Today, the Internet is coming full circle. Big publishing still has little interest in short form, unless you happen to be a big name. Amazon gave short form a new lease on life. It’s going through growing pains right now, but some clarity is starting to show through.
I’ve seen a single short story for $9.95. I’ve seen them for free. This seems to be a -, but at least it’s a work in progress. There are authors out there who are putting out free or 99¢ short stories that are prequels to novels they want you to check out. What a marvelous idea, as long as they’re good. It seems to make sense to take a 99¢ test drive before investing in a seven book series.
I write short fiction, but never knew what to do with it until last year. My Muse, Lorelei, sends me ideas that simply won’t carry a novel length project. I used to discard them, but Lorelei gets kind of upset (and violent). I started writing them out and saving them.
Micro-fiction is a bit different. This is the realm of blogs, and even Twitter to a smaller degree. There is a ton of it available for free. Quality varies, but it’s well worth checking out. I write these too, and either post them on my blog, or save them.
Then I got the bright idea of publishing my own collection. I released a dozen short stories and micros for 99¢ as The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack. I thought this was a better deal than one story at any price, and it was well received.
The fact is, it also serves as a gateway to my longer works. People take a chance, read them on coffee breaks, and maybe they try one of my novels.
This year I decided to write another one. Short fiction keeps me occupied between novels, or while I have larger plot issues. I tapped away at my keyboard during the long winter and early spring. Experience taught me not to publish anything during the summer, so I worked on tweaking them here and there, getting beta readers to look them over, and getting the book cover. I released The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II on the last day of August. This time there are fifteen stories. Since they are all stand alone tales, there is no prerequisite of reading the first notebook to enjoy it.
Both books include science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy stories. With October fast approaching, maybe you’re in the mood for some short paranormal fiction. The books are 99¢ each, and if you like anything they offer, I think you get your money’s worth. Most people seem to like several of the tales.
Short fiction is wonderful. It fits into a schedule that doesn’t allow you to get lost in a five book series. You can read an entire story while waiting at the DMV, or commuting on a bus. Try it out, and maybe you’ll be as hooked as I am.