Many publishers and agents won’t accept or represent short fiction. Why? The word is
that short fiction doesn’t make money. The economy has taken a toll on the forums that still widely publish short fiction, like magazines and university literary reviews. These types of publications are quickly becoming scarce. Oh sure, there are still plenty of writing contests for short fiction, but getting published is hit or miss depending on what the judges are looking for. Often, writing contests have themes that exclude broad swaths of fiction. Bottom line, it’s tough, and getting tougher, to get your short fiction published through traditional means.
From flash fiction to novellas, short fiction is how writers cut their teeth and learn their craft. Short fiction is the mother’s milk of creative writing, the seed corn of literary greatness. Without short stories there can be no fiction. It deserves a little respect.
There is one place that short fiction is still alive and well – the endless shelves of
places like Amazon, Smashswords and other e-publishing sites. Short stories, serialized short stories, novelettes, novellas, and flash fiction of every stripe thrive in the e-publishing universe. In the digital domain there is a glorious explosion of little books from people with big ideas. This is the literary marketplace at its finest, a roaring throng of endless humanity hawking their wares, trying to get someone, anyone, to notice their books. I noticed.
Over the past few months I delved into the endless expanse of short fiction e-books. Some of it is good, a lot of it is bad, and some of it is bizarre. I found hundreds of self-published books by different authors with almost identical covers. I saw books with covers featuring the identical photo of the author. I had no idea there was so much erotica for women. I saw novellas by established authors like Dean Koontz and Karen Slaughter. And, of course, there were tens of thousands of free short fiction books with a lone five-star review. Yes, short fiction is alive and well. I think it’s time it gets the credit it deserves.
Over the next three months I will be reviewing short fiction and nothing but short
fiction from a variety of genres. I want to highlight the amazing work, and maybe not so amazing work, from aspiring and established authors across the world. Since this type of fiction is, well, short, I’m going to be writing more than one review per blog post. My first installment will be this Monday. I hope you will join me.