Everybody loves a good short story — especially writers.
They’re entertaining, easy to write, and allow you to unleash your full creative power. However, writing a good short story takes a lot of time, and even good stories can be hard to monetize.
Let’s look at some simple guidelines you can follow to make this easier and earn money with your short stories.
Step 1: Research Current Short Story Trends
The key to monetizing your short stories — and any type of content, really — is traffic.
If you can get people to click your links and read what you have to say, chances are you’ll be able to make money from it.
But the internet is a very competitive place. How do you get people to choose your stories among the millions of great options there are available for free?
The answer is simple: you give them what they’re looking for — literally.
Every now and then, a certain genre or theme would gain immense popularity, and people will read almost anything that feeds their hunger for them. That’s your chance to get your stories out.
Now, to seize these opportunities, you’ll have to do a little research. First, try to find the best, most popular genre to publish in.
💡 Google Trends is a great tool that can help you identify these opportunities.
After defining the genre, go a little deeper and look for themes people are searching for and want to read about.
In Semrush, go to the Keyword Magic tool and enter "short stories about" to see what people are searching for.
Step 2: Create Your Short Story Collection
Once you identify what people want to read, write it!
I know. Easier said than done, right? However, thanks to the research you just did, you should have a clearer idea about what you should write about.
Make sure your stories have engaging characters, compelling plots, and effective storytelling techniques that address the themes you selected in the previous step.
🧠 Consider getting feedback from trusted readers to refine your stories further!
Here's a piece of advice: don't write a short story and publish it immediately. Instead, write many of them and build a collection. You can ever break them into chapters or create a series featuring the same characters.
This will help you build momentum and create a publishing flow that will keep your readers engaged and coming back.
Step 3: Build Your Audience
When you have a good collection of stories, it's time to let the people enjoy them. For free.
Why? Because you want people to get to know you and your writing. If you ask for money right away, chances are they will prefer to spend it on authors they already know and love.
Therefore, before thinking about making money, you need to build an audience. And the best way to do that is to let people enjoy your work for free.
Publish your stories on Medium and Vocal, your website, or any other platform you choose and promote it on social media. Make sure you amplify it as much as you can so it reaches as many people as possible.
💡 Ask your audience for feedback and listen to them. They'll appreciate it!
Step 4: Monetization Options and Opportunities
Once you have a good amount of followers and people that actively consume your work, you can start thinking about monetizing.
Now, there are many ways to go about this.
- Medium Partner Program: This is one of my favorite monteization options because it doesn't require any extra effort or time, especially if you are already writing on Medium. All you have to do is make your story eligible to earn money and that's it.
- Other writing platforms: Medium is great, but there are many other great platforms that have different payout methods that may be more suitable for you. For example, Vocal pays a small mount per read, and if you sign up for their Vocal+ membership, you can also enable subscriptions. Simily, on the other hand, pays $0.02 for each view your stories get.
- Sell your stories online: There are platforms like Payhip (lowest fees), Gumroad or LemonSqueezy that allow you to create and sell digital products online.
- Self-publish: When you have written many stories, you can consider bundling them all together and sell your very own short story book. You can do this on the platforms I mentioned above or also through more established markets, such as Amazon Kindle. Self-publishing on Amazon will give you more visibility, but it will take 30% of your total sales.
Step 5: Keep Interacting With Your Readers!
The creator economy has brought us amazing opportunities to reach new audiences directly, but also the responsibility to keep them engaged and interested.
Of course, you can always turn to more traditional monetization methods, like submitting to short story magazines or sending your drafts to a publishing house, but that's not the idea.
We love to write short stories. And if we can make money doing that, we can dedicate more time to doing what we love.
So, the idea here is to create a revenue stream that runs on its own like an engine, generating income with every story you write and publish.
Step 3 was about building your audience. Step 5 is about turning that audience into a community.
But to do that, you need to take care of your people. Use your social media to promote your stories, but also to engage with your readers. Ask them what they like and what they don't about your work.
⚠️ Don't forget to keep growing your audience with free content! Once you monetize, I would recommend that you make 1 in every 3 stories freely available.
How to Make Money Writing Short Stories
The most important thing about making money as a digital writer is always consistency.
Some times, you will end up writing a masterpiece. Others, you'll think your story sucks. Some stories will get you thousands of views, and others won't even reach double digits.
Either way, what matters is that you show up for your readers every day.
Keep giving them something to read, engaging with them on your social media, and publishing more and more fresh stories to feed their hunger.
I don't know if you'll be able to make a living out of it — hopefully, you will—but I can promise you you'll be able to earn some money from them.
Good luck and happy writing!
About the Creator
Digital marketer, writer, and storyteller. I'm a cryptocurrency advocate and a pop culture devotee, but over all things, I like to tell the stories of people who never existed. Thanks for the subscription!