Falling in love... with short stories
Written by
Helen Smith
February 2011
Written by
Helen Smith
February 2011
Musician and author Alain Gomez has started a new blog devoted to short stories because, as she explains: "I was introduced to the short story genre in high school and simply fell in love."

As part of her Short Story Project she'll be featuring authors who have written short stories on her blog. She has been kind enough to feature mine today. Please visit the site to see what she has to say about the Short Story Project, and bookmark it for recommendations and discussions about short form fiction.

One of the many brilliant things about ereaders is that technology makes it possible to produce short stories cheaply, and sell them cheaply, in ebook form. I remember a few years ago Penguin produced a series of paperback single short stories called Penguin 60s, to celebrate the publisher's sixtieth anniversary in publishing. The paperbacks were tiny, about 4.5 ins x 5.5 (or 10 cm x 14.4) and they cost 60p (or about a $1). I snapped up loads of them: lovely little books with a single story in each by Truman Capote, Conan Doyle, Paul Theroux, Annie Proulx, Damon Runyon, Poppy Z Brite and John Updike and more. It was a wonderful promotion but they must have cost Penguin more to produce than they recouped in sales from the books themselves - though hopefully people discovered new authors and went on to buy longer, more expensive books by their favourites.

I have mentioned Granta a few times on here. It's an anthology of new writing - a mixture of fiction and non-fiction, and photo essays. That's another way fantastic to discover new authors.

Amazon have recently launched Kindle Singles - short stories or novellas of between 10,000 and 30,000 words priced between 99 cents and $2.99 (or about 65p - £2) that are selected by Amazon's in-house editors and promoted by their marketing team. The first round of Kindle Singles includes stories or essays from a diverse range of writers, including Jodi Picoult giving advice to her son on leaving home in Leaving Home and Jonathan Littel talking about the war in Congo in Invisible Enemy.

Now it's possible for writers to put short essays and short fiction in the kindle store, either as a way of encouraging readers to try their writing at a bargain price, or because they have a piece of writing that deserves to stand alone or doesn't fit as part of a collection anywhere else.

I have just released my first piece of short fiction exclusively for the kindle. Three Sisters is the first story in a new mystery series about an amateur sleuth, Emily Castles. I'd like each 'episode' to be a fun, fast read that functions rather like an episode of one of those successful British TV mysteries that we all love to watch - long enough to allow the characters to develop, but without demanding the kind of time commitment that a novel requires from a reader. And because it doesn't take as long to write as a novel, and doesn't cost very much to produce, each episode can be delightfully cheap. It's yours, my friend, for only 99 cents or 71p.

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