Advice to new writers: write a short story and get published in a prestigious fiction magazine to catch the eye of agents and editors for your real writing - novels. WRONG!
Financial Reality: Although that is exactly why I started writing short stories, I quickly fell in love with the art form for it's own sake, not for what it could do for my long fiction. Five years later, I discovered that I was earning more from my short fiction than my novels. Not that short stories pay that well. Quite the opposite. For the gritty economic details, read an article by R. T. Lawton, who writes short stories exclusively.
For the hours some of us put into creating fiction, we should be earning what Fortune 500 CEOs are making. Again and again I read that even many NYT bestselling authors are barely making their bills.
Writing Rewards: So why do we authors persist? There are rewards beyond the minuscule paycheck. First - the act of writing itself, which is the therapy some of us need to cope with reality, economic and otherwise. Second - knowing we bring entertainment to readers who may need momentary relief from the stresses of their own realities. Third - the acknowledgement by our peers that we belong to the unique community of writers.
The Derringer: One reward for short story authors is being nominated for the Short Mystery Fiction Society's Derringer Award. Both R. T. Lawton and I are finalists, in different categories. It's an honor to be recognized by our peers as having written a worthy story. Until I make buy-an-island money, I'll be content to bask in the glow of being a Derringer nominee.
If you go to the Derringer Award page, you can click on "An Ill Wind" to read R. T.'s flash fiction story. If you want to read my story in the novelette category, you'll need to hunt down a May 2016 issue of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.
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