Randall Wood

Loud Shorts

No, not the kind you wear, although they seem quite popular with the retired people I’m surrounded by.

I’m talking short stories; those 10,000 word tales that a writer can crank out, edit, and publish in just one weekend. I love em. But I never thought you could really make money from them.

Well, I’m wrong.

I have a pile of research I’ve downloaded and printed off on self-publishing. A lot of it gets reviewed in the bathroom. I was taking a break from company-building, (and doing a lot of complaining as it was eating into my writing time), when I made this particular pit-stop.

My choice of research that day was Be the Monkey. For those not in the know, Be the Monkey is a conversation between authors Barry Eisler and JA Konrath in which they discuss the enormous changes going on in the publishing world. Chief among them the fact that Barry walked away from a half a million dollar offer from a Big Six publisher in favor of self-publishing. One of the reasons he sites for making his decision was how well a short story he wrote did as a self-published short on Amazon. He priced it at $2.99 and it made in the neighborhood of $30,000 in a matter of weeks.


This appeals to me on several levels. First, it tells me I’m not wasting my time writing shorts. Second, it lets me satisfy the writing jones without taking away from the company-building mission I’m currently on. Third, it gives me a chance to grow my main characters between novels, and forth, it’s another potential income stream, or at the very least, a good promotional item.

On the down side it will cost me some time, but it’s minimal. It will also preserve my sanity and make me more fun to be around. (I tend to get cranky when I don’t write regularly.)

I believe this is commonly referred to as a Win-Win.

Like most people, I keep a pad of paper on the back of the toilet. A half hour later I had two things; outlined ideas for a number of short stories involving each of the main characters in my novels…and a total loss of sensation in my legs.

I’ll skip the details of what happened next and just get to the point. I’ll be writing these shorts and either posting them on my website, or throwing them up on Amazon for cheap. This is mostly for my own mental health, and something to tie my readers over until the next novel comes out.

And if it adds a little to the beer fund, that’s alright too.

I highly recommend Be the Monkey. Joe and Barry have points worth listening to and anyone entering this game would be wise to hear them out. It’s available for sale, or as a free download, on both of their websites. See my Links page. You might learn some other things while you’re at it. Publishing math, the role of the agent, and monkey/frog sex are all items covered from their unique point of view.

Yes, really.

On the off chance that Barry or Joe should read this: “Digital Agent” sounds better to me. One could even be an “International Digital Agent” and possibly score better with the opposite sex. It’ll never be as good as “Secret Agent”, but it’s a whole lot better than “Travel Agent”!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *