Short stories Story
Charlotte Rains Dixon  

The New Short Story Market

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because even though I'm a writer, I don't always get my grammar correct!

I am submitting a short story to Amazon Kindle Singles sometime this weekend, after I get the query letter perfected and go through it one more time.   It's a story I originally wrote when I was working on my MFA, one I've always liked, but was never quite sure what to do with.  It's over 7,000 words long, longish for many journals, and it seems to be a cross between literary and popular fiction (like much of my work).  I pulled it out, updated it, and have been playing with rewriting it for the last couple of months.  I'm much happier with it now than I was when I first wrote it.  And I'm pleased to at long last have a place to submit it.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Amazon Kindle Single program, here's a blurb from their Submissions Policy:

Anyone can submit original work to Kindle Singles. We've showcased writing from both new and established voices–from bestselling novelists to previously unpublished writers.

We're looking for compelling ideas expressed at their natural
length–writing that doesn't easily fall into the conventional space
limitations of magazines or print books. Kindle Singles are typically
between 5,000 and 30,000 words.

A Kindle Single can be on any topic. So far we've posted fiction,
essays, memoirs, reporting, personal narratives, and profiles, and we're
expanding our selection every week. We're looking for high-quality
writing, fresh and original ideas, and well-executed stories in all
genres and subjects.

I'm excited about this program.  I love the idea that Amazon is publishing short stories, articles, and novellas, and allowing the authors of these shorter pieces to actually make money on them.  When I wrote my MFA lecture years ago, my topic was the linked short-story and one of the ideas into which I delved was, why aren't short stories more popular?  You would think they might be the perfect reading material for our crazy-busy, over-booked age.  They are short (duh), and you can read one or two while on the treadmill at the gym or taking light rail home from work. But short stories have recently been notoriously unpopular and published mostly in literary journals, many of them obscure (and God love 'em, I mean no disrespect).  Now, thanks to Amazon, they seem actually to be selling and selling well.

I've been interested in this program for awhile now, and done some research on it.  Here are some links that explain more about it and the thinking behind it:

A profile of Singles editor David Blum that gives insight into Amazon's strategies

How Much Do Kindle Singles Authors Make?

The Author's Guild weighs in (positively)

Amazon's Kindle Singles Submission Page

Bear in mind, you can also put your own short works up through the Kindle Direct program.  I thought I'd try the submission route first, just for fun.  I'll keep you posted on the process!

What do you think about writing shorter pieces?  Are you on board with this new publishing opportunity?  Leave a comment and let's discuss.

0 thoughts on “The New Short Story Market

  1. Don

    Wow, this sounds like something I might consider. When I was studying writing professionally my teacher, Bony Becker, really loved a story I wrote called, “Strange Space Creatures”, a short fictional story based on scientific facts. Maybe, just maybe I should dust it off and submit it? It was a lot shorter than 5,000 words though so I would have to update it quite a bit, but it might be fun. Bony really pressed me to submit it to someone, so who knows?

  2. Charlotte Dixon

    Try it, Don!  It's not doing you any good sitting on a computer or in a drawer.  And this way, we'd all get to read it.  I found it amazingly fun and much easier than I thought to go back to an old story I'd written.  Let us know what you decide to do!

  3. Sandra Pawula

    This is great to know! Thanks so much, Charlotte.

  4. Charlotte Dixon

    You're welcome.  It is a great option for memoir and non-fiction writers!

  5. Ledger DeMain

    Thanks for the info. I’ve been pondering how to get my wonderfully impersonated amalgam of literary masterworks published and make much moola-boola. I so happen to have a few fully functional examples of the Hemingway novella (abet dusty) that need their raincoats removed so that they can be exposed to the world. I shall endeavor to lie most eloquently in my proposals forthwith so as to confound and bewilder the Kindle editors so that they know not what they do. However, only a few among many would leave most of my hellspawn yearning. Woe is them, for while they are fully matured, they do not stand at 5000 words and many are posed in such a manner that they can only be described as rhyming verses. And now I must query. Do you reason that the 5000 is the minor limit? And of the verses, shall they not be able to go into the light? (I choose to ignore the advice of the little clairvoyant woman.) And what bred of animal is the dreaded ‘cover letter’?

  6. Charlotte Dixon

    Hey there–How are you?  Good to hear from you.  Yes, the guidelines say that 5,000 words is about the lower limit.  I don't think they mention anything about poetry, so alas, the verses might not fit.  I was a bit confused about the cover letter also, since I was sending the story at the same time.  So I just wrote a synopsis of the story and a bit about myself.  Keep us posted if you submit!

  7. Ledger DeMain

    Alas and woe, I’ll submit something a little less than 5000 cuz I be James Dean with a cause. But I fear that my nose shall be of such a size after crafting my cover blurb that I will be able to smell the neighbor’s roses from my living room chair. Thanks again for the info, I’ll let you know when I get my inevitable ‘not right for me at this time’ response. Are you submitting as a single-spaced attachment? Courier 12pt?

  8. Charlotte Dixon

    Double spaced attachment, 12 point, Times New Roman or Cambria, which is Mac Word default.  I think you're okay sending in something less than 5,000 words, since their slogan is "stories at their natural length."

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