Short Stories and Kindle Unlimited

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Are we living through the renaissance of short stories? I’m hearing people talking about the short stories they’re reading now on Kindle Unlimited (KU). This thrills me, both as a fan of short stories and as an author.

Now, some people might argue that in fact the surge of short stories onto KU is a result of Amazon’s policies that make it profitable for authors to list short stories on KU, but not so much novels. And so, subscribers to KU are being forced to read shorter works for lack of other content.

But there are heaps of novels on KU so I think that subscribers are actually rediscovering the magic of short stories. They’ve always been available in magazines and ezines and in anthologies, but now short stories are standing alone. It’s kind of like music. Instead of having to buy the album, you can just pick the song you want.

Which leads me to the point of this post, the praise of short stories.

I have seven points in favour of short stories:

  1. They respect how time poor we are — adventure, romance, intrigue, whatever, all in a stolen hour.
  2. Every word has to work. Like poetry, there’s no hiding behind volume. The reader is after quality not quantity.
  3. Quirky ideas that can rock a short story, but would never have sustained a novel, can be loosed on the world.
  4. Taste test. An author’s style is so clear in a short story. Reference point 2. There’s nowhere to hide.
  5. By freeing us from a long commitment (a full length novel) we’re liberated to step outside our reading comfort zones and try new things. In fact, we’re given extra reading time in which to try new things. Variety is the spice of life and all that.
  6. Short stories are closer to the natural length of a spoken story. They’re a medium of close communication between author and reader.
  7. Don’t underestimate the power of completing something. Short stories give you that — a complete experience in the time available to you.

And if you’re looking for something short and awesome, try my new Steampunk story, The Icarus Plot.

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