The Daily Journal, Sunday, August 25

In today’s Journal

* Quote of the Day
* Miracle
* Topic: The Short Story as a Marketing Tool
* Daily Diary
* Of Interest
* The numbers

Quote of the Day

“You and I as artists inhabit one dimension of reality—the material dimension. … Creativity has its origin in a different sphere—the plane of potentiality. Our job is to tune in to that sphere. And to trust it.” Steven Pressfield

Harvey’s corollary: “Especially after we start writing the story.”

Well, in a very small way in my tiny world, a miracle happened.

When I came to the Hovel early this morning, the internet still wasn’t connected. No problem. It’s what I expected. I planned to do what little I could do in the Hovel, then head back up to the house to research “Of Interest,” write a topic and post the Journal.

I talked with my son yesterday (he’s much more than a cable-guy) and asked him whether the line would work after it dried out, if indeed that was the problem.

He said probably not.

But maybe 10 minutes after I sat down in the Hovel this morning, the internet blinked on. Amazing.

We’ll be replacing the line the next time he visits, but in the meantime it looks as if the current line is back in operation. (grin)

Topic: The Short Story as a Marketing Tool

I feel like brainstorming with you a litte this morning. Bear with me. I think you’ll be glad you did.

Kris Rusch often writes a short story to explore side roads she doesn’t explore in her longer works. Sometimes those short stories lead to other novels or novellas.

(Full disclosure, I haven’t done that intentionally, though it seems like a good idea and I’ll be doing so in the future.)

For one thing, every title you publish, short or longer, adds to your discoverability.
Discoverability is defined as your abillity to be “discovered” by readers who are new to your work while they’re simply browsing titles in a genre that interests them.

Obviously, the more works you have out there, the more impressive you appear to be on the surface and the greater the chance a reader will take a look at your works. (Ahem. Not to mention, the more you write, the more practice you get and the more your writing improves.)

Other than length, the biggest difference between the short story and longer forms (novella, novel) is that the short story is about One Event and how the characters react.

But the length thing is an important consideration too. Even if you’re a neo-prolific novelist, writing and publishing say 6 to 12 novels per year, that’s still only 6 to 12 new titles per year.

How many short stories could you realistically put out in a month, given that a short story (2000 to 7000 words) takes anywhere from 2 to 7 hours to write?

Even if you are young and have a normal young person’s life (day job, children, etc.) you probably can turn out at least one short story per week, or 4 per month.

And if you don’t have a day job to attend to, or children who need your constant attention, you might possibly turn out 15 to 30 short stories in that same month. What would that do for your annual publication numbers?

But shouldn’t you be using that time to write novels?

Possibly. But here comes the brainstorming part.

Think of your short fiction in another way. Think of it not only as another story, another title that’s out there, but as a marketing tool.

Imagine the possible boost to your novel sales if each of your new short stories is based on a character (or situation or both) from one of your novels.

Especially if on the front cover of the short story you add a blurb that reads something like “Further adventures of Character Name from Novel Name” [or “from the Series Name series”].

In my case, the blurb might read “Further adventures of Wes Crowley from the 11-novel Wes Crowley series” or “Further adventures of operative Charles Claymore Task from the Blackwell Ops series” or “Another glimpse of the watery aliens from The Consensus.”

Again, up to this point I’ve never written a short story specifically to help market a novel or series. I do have several short stories that are either derived from longer works or peripheral to characters and situations in my novels and series. Yet until this morning, I never thought to use a front cover blurb to also hawk the related novel or series.

So there you go. I can’t deliver an idea to you any fresher than that. (grin)

And what about characters for those short stories (or spin-off novellas or novels)? The main character in your short story doesn’t always have to be the main character from the larger work.

Do you have a minor character who seems to want a larger role? There you go. Or is there a situation that intrigued you in the novel but didn’t deserve more than a mention in that venue? You can explore it (and the lesser character) more deeply in a short story.

What do you think? Does this sound like a good idea? Is it something you’ll try?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments, or email me if you’d rather.

Rolled out at 3:15, happily followed my usual routine. It’s Sunday, so whether I write fiction will depend on other things that happen through the day.

Talk with you again tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “A ‘Save the Cat’ Moment” at

See “What’s Your Brand?” at

See “Is a Serial Killer Loose on the Highway of Tears?” at Wow.

See “Ten Free Online Image, Graphic, and Photo Manipulation Tools” at

Fiction Words: XXXX (yesterday)
Nonfiction Words: 990 (Journal)
Total words for the day: 990

Writing of Blackwell Ops 7: Glynn Marco (novel)

Day 1…… 3222 words. Total words to date…… 3222
Day 2…… 1170 words. Total words to date…… 4392
Day 3…… 3191 words. Total words to date…… 7583
Day 4…… 1374 words. Total words to date…… 8957
Day 5…… 1952 words. Total words to date…… 10909
Day 6…… 1021 words. Total words to date…… 11930
Day 7…… 2733 words. Total words to date…… 14663
Day 8…… 1253 words. Total words to date…… 15916
Day 9…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 15916
Total fiction words for the year………… 374653
Total nonfiction words for the month… 24780
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 242850
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 617503

Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date…………………… 7
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date……………… 1
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date… 2
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 43
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 195
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

7 thoughts on “The Daily Journal, Sunday, August 25”

  1. Yes! I’ve got pieces started on various TWC characters that haven’t yet made it into those novels (& might not). I’ve been wondering about making them into short stories…
    Another mentoring topic.

    • You’ve got this, Karen. The only real difference between a short story and a novel is the short story is about one event. We’ll talk more about this, though, when I see your WIP.

  2. Sure is a good idea, Harvey! It is especially appropriate for me right now as I’m scattered all over the place. It seems I’m running in circles, and not making much headway on anything but my short stuff.

  3. I have a series that’s reached the double digits now and each book focuses on a different character. I’ve been seriously considering revisiting a few of my previous characters in the series in some short fiction, the “one event” kind of thing that I think would make for some good stories connected to the series. That way I can revisit the past, so to speak. 🙂

    Your post has reminded me that I really do want to do this soon. And I do think I could get a few extra sales out of it. I have people who are asking for me to revisit my characters as much as possible in future books. This might satisfy them better than that could, and satisfy me at the same time. I miss my characters when I move on. That’s why I always end up with long series. I have to find a way to revisit them and writing another book and letting them play a part in it satisfies that urge. 🙂

    • Yes to all of that, Lynn. And don’t forget that short stories also give readers a slightly less expensive way to taste your writing and your characters and your worlds. Mine have helped sales of my novels a lot.

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