'These darkly comic tales place the author snugly between Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett. Be sure: Chris Fielden is one funny feller.' Allen Ashley, British Fantasy Award winner.
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How to Write a Short Story, Get Published & Make Money

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Are you looking for writing advice supported by real-life examples? Your search could be over. Readers are reporting publishing success after reading this Amazon bestselling book:

"A must read for anyone who has any interest in becoming a writer." Amazon.ca customer

How to Write a Short Story, Get Published & Make Money contains a myriad of short story writing tips and practical advice that will help you write a short story that could win a competition or be published in a magazine. I use my published short stories as case studies, clearly showing you how the advice was used in practice to achieve publishing success.

The book reveals the art of the short story - how to craft excellent tales, how to publish them and how to make money from your writing.

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What makes this book different from any other ‘how to' writing guide?

How to Write a Short Story, Get Published & Make Money uses my published short stories as case studies. These real-life examples show you exactly how I used the tips and advice contained in the book to write competition winning stories, get them published and get paid for my writing. The book clearly demonstrates how to use the advice in practice to improve your own stories.

I candidly share every detail a writer needs to know, including the mistakes I've made (so you can avoid making them) and the exact amount of money I make from publishing my stories. The monetary figures in the book will give you a realistic expectation of how much you can expect to earn from your own writing.

I also show you other ways to generate income from your writing and explain the importance of marketing your work and yourself as an author. Many writers get the balance wrong – they spend most of their time writing fiction and little time on marketing their work. This book shows you how to divide and prioritise your time wisely, giving you the best chance of success.

The book is written in an encouraging and entertaining way that can help writers of all levels of experience see their short stories published.

how to write a short story get published and make money book front cover

Here is some more detail on the different topics the book covers.

How to Write a Short Story

The book contains extensive short story writing tips and advice, showing you how to structure, plot and develop a story so it has the best chance of being published. It also covers character development, dialogue, pace, punctuation, grammar, editing and many other aspects of short story writing.

Throughout the book, you will be able to read stories that have been published because they used the tips and advice directly to achieve success. This helps illustrate the importance of each tip and proves that they work, when used correctly.

How to Publish a Short Story

The short story publishing section of the book shows you how to research short story competitions so you have the best chance of winning. It also demonstrates how to approach short story magazine editors, giving you a good chance of having your work accepted for publication.

The book contains contributions from short story competition judges, magazine editors and website administrators, meaning it's packed with lots of comments and advice from a variety of writing experts.

Full list of contributors:

Andrew Campbell-Kearsey (Brighton COW), Anthony Howcroft (InkTears), David Howarth (Scribble), Jessica Grace-Coleman (Darker Times), Dr John Yeoman (Writers' Village), Johnathon Clifford (Vanity Publishing Info), Lorraine Mace (Writers' Forum), Lynda Nash (Little House Creative Workshops), Sara-Mae Tuson (InkTears) and Sue Moorcroft (Writers' Forum).

The publishing section also covers rules, submission criteria, terms and conditions and publishing contracts. You'll learn about how to avoid the pitfalls of legal terminology and how much you really need to worry about copyright, publication rights etc.

Finally, this section covers self-publishing, websites and vanity publishing, so you can easily decide which approach works best for you.

How to Make Money Writing

Throughout the book, I tell readers exactly how much money I earned from the short story examples used in the book. Towards the end of the book, I go into detail about how much money I make each year from my writing and how much you could realistically expect to earn.

The details are encouraging, but pragmatic - I don't exaggerate or set false expectation and I clearly outline how much work you have to put in to make money.

Amazon Best Seller

How to Write a Short Story, Get Published & Make Money is an Amazon best seller. It has appeared at the top of 2 categories on Amazon. They are:

Publishing & Books

How to Write a Short Story Amazon Best Seller Publishing and Books

How to Write a Short Story, Get Published & Make Money - best seller in Publishing & Books

Writing Reference

How to Write a Short Story Amazon Best Seller Writing Reference

How to Write a Short Story, Get Published & Make Money - best seller in Writing Reference

Reviews of the Book

You can read some reviews/opinions about the book in the comments below. There are also some reviews on Amazon:

Facebook Advertising Video

I sometimes advertise the book on Facebook. As part of the advertising campaign, I produced a video to test in the adverts. It didn't convert as well as static images, so I rarely use it in Facebook ads anymore.

If I'm 100% honest, I'm not all that comfortable with the style of it - being 'salesy' is well and truly outside of my comfort zone. Still, you have to try these things to see if they'll work. So I had a go.

I've included the video here, in case it's helpful. In it, I talk very briefly about the benefits of the book and how the advice is presented.

'How To Write a Short Story, Get Published & Make Money' Facebook Advert Video

About the Author

I'm an award winning short story writer called Chris Fielden. My short stories have been published in a wide variety of short story magazines and anthologies and I've won many short story competitions.

Christopher Fielden short story writer

Christopher Fielden

I run the annual To Hull & Back humorous short story competition. I'm a member of Stokes Croft Writers in Bristol, in the UK. Through SCW, I'm also involved with the Bristol Festival of Literature.

This book shares years of hands on experience in the hope that other writers can quickly learn how to become published short story authors.

You can learn a lot more about me on my about page.

If you have any questions about the book, please fill in the comments form at the bottom of this page or contact me.

Book Cover

The book's cover was designed by Lukas Miguel. To learn more about this incredibly talented artist, please visit Lukas's website.

Lukas Miguel, artist and designer

Lukas Miguel

how to write a short story get published and make money book cover

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Your comments:

Adena G
Hi Chris, the book looks great. I absolutely love the idea of having examples.

You've said it's out in Kindle format too - I've just gone to buy it via Amazon and it doesn't appear in that format though. Is it due out soon for Kindle, then?

Chris Fielden
Hi Adena, yes, it is out on Kindle - here is the UK link.

The links to all the other Amazon global websites are above if you need them.

I hope you enjoy reading it!

Adena G
Thanks for the link, Chris.

That's very odd, because when I typed your name and went via your author page, the Kindle version isn't available - and there's that part that says 'tell the publisher: I'd like to read this book on Kindle' (and when you click on 'see all formats and editions, it's only bringing up the paperback).

The link you sent is for the Kindle version though, so I'll buy that one now. I love the cover BTW!

Chris Fielden
Hi Adena

That is odd! I’ve researched a little and it does say it can take 6 to 8 weeks for Amazon to sort itself out along with all the global retail outlets, so it might be something to do with that I guess. I’ve added all versions to my Author page now, but again that can take a while to update. I’ll keep an eye on it and see if it starts working soon.

Glad you like the cover, I hope you like the contents of the book too! Thanks for your help.

Adena G
Thanks Chris - all bought and downloaded to the Kindle now. I'm looking forward to reading it. Hopefully that link will start showing the Kindle version too soon.

Amy N
Hello! My name is Amy, and I've wanted to thank you for your amazing website since the first time I was lucky enough to find it. I think it's brilliant that unlike the acting / music / entertainment industry which is based entirely on competitiveness, you are providing a forum for helping others achieve the very thing you yourself are working towards.

As a Canadian we don't have nearly the number of literary opportunities available to us and I don't imagine I would have found out about how many international opportunities there are out there without the work you've put into your website. I've also just finished post-it-noting and marking up your book and I'm very much looking forward to applying what I've learned to my own work.

Chris Fielden
Hi Amy, thanks for buying my book – I’m very pleased to hear you found it helpful :-)

Martin B
Hi Chris, I am enjoying reading your book and hope to make good use of the advice. May I ask if you have had any success or otherwise with the following three publishers:

  • Cazart
  • Dark Tales
  • Fiction Desk

I don't think you mention them.

Chris Fielden
Hi Martin, I haven’t been published through any of the mags you mentioned. However, I am in regular contact with Fiction Desk and Dark Tales, so can tell you that they care about what they do and do the best to promote them that they can. Based on that, they are certainly worth approaching.

Glad to hear you’re enjoying the book :-)

Chris B
Hi Chris - Chris here :-)

Just to say that I got your newest book, "How to Write A Short Story, Get It Published and Make Money", for my 30th birthday yesterday. It looks great, really well made, and I've already read some of it. It's already proving extremely useful - there is one particularly interesting piece of advice that I'm putting to use immediately!

Chris Fielden
Great news - glad you're putting the advice to good use so quickly. Happy Birthday to you :-)

Joe H
Hi Chris, I just wanted to tell you I am really enjoying your book. I am only on page 90 but love the way you share your knowledge.

I’ve read several books on writing scripts, short stories and writing in general. Most, although informative, aren’t very interesting. Basically reference but dull.

I particularly love the breakdowns of your personal stories with the emphasis on accepting criticism and using it as a tool. I also enjoy your stories; they are fun to read. But my favourite aspect is the positive reinforcement of continuing to overcome the immediate self-doubt we all feel when we start, and are at our most vulnerable. That is paramount.

I went through this as a bass player early on. I learned by playing with pro’s from the get go and the support they gave me felt tremendous. This book brings back that same feeling while furthering my knowledge of the craft. Thank you for writing this.

I am guilty of lacking in the research dept. but after the way you put it, not anymore. I wish you luck on your endeavours as a writer and hope to see you at a book signing, behind the desk.

Chris Fielden
Thanks Joe, it's really good to hear you're enjoying the book and finding it useful. Thanks for sharing your comments with me :-)

Maris M
Thanks for the free PDF, Chris - can't wait to read it.

And some good news: I've been short listed in a UK comp that I learned about through your website, so thanks.

Chris Fielden
That's excellent news, Maris. Congratulations :-)

Valerie R
Hi Chris, I thought I'd write to tell you how much I enjoyed your book about writing to be published. I've read loads of 'how to' guides but few that had as accessible a voice as yours. It really was like listening to a friend talk. The use of material you had published was very effective and illustrated  clearly what you were discussing. Also, because you were so frank about the difficulties you yourself have encountered in the process, it made me want to try again after a break of a number of months. Well done that man!

PS I'm gutted that I missed the deadline for this year's 'To hull and Back' competition. I looked the other way at the wrong time. Duh.

Chris Fielden
Hi Valerie - thanks very much :-) It's always nice to hear when people enjoy the book. I'm pleased to hear that it's inspired you to start writing again too.

To Hull & Back 2017 is now open and you have until next July to enter. I'll look forward to reading your entry!

Anyway, I wish you the best of luck with your writing, and thanks again for your kind feedback.

Alan D
Hello Christopher, many thanks for this sample pdf.

To offer you a little feedback, I found the section on market researchfor competitions very interesting.

I used to follow the dictum that whereas market research was basically essential for all types of writing, competitions were the exception. This would be justified by citing the fact that the judges were rarely permanent, and would receive guidelines from the organisers, of which competitors were, naturally, unaware.

I entered the former Freelance Market News short story competition about a dozen times, slavishly concentrating on characterisation and description, as well as plot. On many occasions, the winning story seemed to be what I came to think of as "characterisation and description lite"; all the focus was on the storyline.

Finally, I decided to try a tounge-in cheek experiment, and wrote a story deliberately mimicking this style. It won, proving your point that it is in fact perfectly possible and necessary to do this type of market research for competitions, to the greatest possible extent.

I realise that a first ever or one-off competition would be an exception. I guess you could research the judge's own writing, although they might well choose something differing radically from their own style and preferences.

Chris Fielden
Hi Alan, thanks for your feedback – much appreciated.

It's very interesting to hear that you found success in competitions through doing market research. It means I can be even more confident in offering that advice, so thank you.

I agree – one-off competitions and new contests would be an exception. I've liaised with quite a few judges recently and some of them have said that they dislike author's mimicking their style, especially when it's too obvious. I'm not saying you shouldn't do it, because if done cleverly it could work well, but it's interesting that not all of them appreciate this approach. Still, I feel market research is an important part of the writing process.

Helen FR
Hi. Thank you for your quick response to my request to receive a free sample of your book, How to Write A Short Story. I am now the proud owner of a copy on my Kindle.

I have been attending a creative writing group for nearly two years and I thoroughly enjoy it. My tutor suggested I should submit some of my short stories to magazines, to which I have, but I haven't heard back from them yet, but it is still early days.

I will read your book and take on board your advice.

Chris Fielden
Hi Helen. Great stuff, thanks for buying my book – very much appreciated :-)

I hope you enjoy reading it.

And I wish you the best of luck with your submissions to magazines.

Helen FR
What a great book. I'm thoroughly enjoying reading it although the housework isn't getting done! Reading and writing is so much more fun.

I especially like your style of writing, so easy to understand with an added pinch of humour.

Thank you again.

Chris Fielden
Thanks Helen :-)

Reading and writing beats dusting and vacuuming every time!

Sandra O
My Dear Christopher, I knew it - I did enjoy reading your book. I enjoyed reading the short story 'Devils Crush'. I had to read it twice to comprehend it. It's a challenge, but I love challenges. Aaaay and you're a drummer at night. Oh my, a loud player.

Chris I know I have to study, read and research. What helps me a lot for an amateur is the internet. I have written two stories, one for women and the other for children. But I know they need editing. I have sent my manscript to be critiqued, to learn. Maybe someone will find it interesting and publish it. I know I am in the process, but I have all my life now so I won't give up. I have enjoyed this world of writing and love it.

I got inspired by a famous young adult singer in Mexico. I gave him classes because he needed help on a writing and he saw my passion. And my son won a prize for writing at the University. He read my manuscript and told me I have the idea. I need to study and read with this active life we all have.

Thank you again, Sandra O

Chris Fielden
Hi Sandra

That’s great, thank you so much for letting me know that you enjoyed the book – it really does mean a lot to me :-)

I wish you the best of luck with all your writing endeavours and hope you see your book published in the future.

James A
Hi Chris, I'd be very grateful if you could clarify for me a matter which runs close to some stuff you talked about in your book on writing short stories for publication. I have written a novel in which many of the chapters work as short stories, or could do with some tweaking. I wonder if it is possible to have these chapters published as short stories via competitions and then still use them incorporated within a novel. It may be a bit far fetched to be worrying about being successful with a short story when I am completely unpublished, but I wouldn't want to mess up a novel because I can't reuse material either in the exact same form or adapted somewhat for the novel.

You made very clear in your book that mostly copyright remains with the author allowing them to republish (or at least to do so after a period of a year, say) in most cases - but worth checking with them. I just wonder if it is the same for a novel given that a reader could feel cheated that they have paid for stuff they've already read, without it being so obvious when it is tucked away in a novel.

I also wonder if I should do anything else to protect copyright in the (admittedly unlikely) event of someone stealing the material. Many years ago someone suggested sticking the material in a large envelope and signing it around the edges and sticking sellotape over the signatures, before posting it to myself. I did that, but wonder if it is really the best way now.

I appreciate that it will be work for you if people start asking you questions like this, but hope that just maybe it might give you an idea for few additional lines if you ever up-date your book on writing short stories for publication. Maybe not though, I won't pretend I'm doing anything other than asking for a favor.

Thanks, anyway. Best wishes.

Chris Fielden
Hi James. Well, it depends what you plan to do with your novel. If you’re going to self-publish, it isn’t an issue. In my experience, small publishers are happy to shorten first publication rights if you’re self-publishing too. But that does depend on the publisher… You can always wait, if you’re self-publishing, until the first publication rights expire.

If you want to go down the more traditional route of getting an agent and publisher, it will depend on each publisher’s submission guidelines. In most cases, I suspect it wouldn’t cause a problem as long as you’re upfront about the fact that some of the chapters have been published as short stories. If anything, it will prove the quality of your writing is good enough to be considered seriously. That said, I’m sure some publishers will require 100% previously unpublished material. You’ll just have to make some decisions about what you plan to do and then undertake some good old market research :-)

The same applies to readers, I think. As long as you’re upfront about what you publish, then they are informed before they purchase your book. If a reader likes a short story, then they are likely to enjoy a novel written by you. So I doubt that reading a short story again as part of a novel would upset them.

As an example, I’ve been planning to write a novel where each chapter will stand alone as a short story - it's been an idea I've toyed with for years. With the increasing interest in short stories and flash fiction via the internet, this idea (and similar) is quite common now. I plan to get every short story published prior to releasing the novel and use that as a selling point. Will I ever get around to completing it? Who knows… but I’m sure some agents and publishers will love the idea and some won’t. I’ll just have to research where I submit carefully, if I decide not to self-publish.

Re copyright, as soon as you’ve written something, you own the copyright. I’ve heard the advice you mention before. It’s something I used to do with the music produced by the bands I played in 25 years ago, before the internet. Nowadays, it’s not something I’d bother with. If you write online, you prove when you wrote something using the file – there will be a record of when it was created. Also, as soon as you submit anywhere, there will be further digital proof that you wrote the story you submitted. Just keep a copy of all correspondence. Personally, I think that you can worry too much about copyright. It’s better to concentrate on submitting and getting published :-)

If you are worried about copyright, check your government's website for the laws in your country of residence. Here in the UK, the www.gov.uk website has some really useful resources, explaining copyright law.

I hope that’s helpful and wish you the best of luck with your writing endeavours in the future.

Andy W
Have never written seriously before, but it is a long held wish of mine to write a book. At long last I have done so. If I say so myself, I'm rather pleased with the result. I have no idea as to where to go with it next, though. I've looked at various sites and to me, as a technophobe, it all looks extremely daunting! Cutting and pasting is an unknown to me. The piece is just shy of 25,000 words and it falls into a horror/darkly comic category I would think. Any advice would be more than welcome... help!

Chris Fielden
Hi Andy

Well, you could research some magazines to submit to. Your story is quite long, but some will serialise longer works. I list a lot of magazines here.

You could also look at self-publishing as a novella. I've written a guide about how to that, which you can see here.

If you want help with self-publishing, I run a formatting service. You can learn about that here.

I hope that's helpful and wish you the best of luck with your story.

Andy W
Many thanks for your advice, an excellent site by the way!

Chris Fielden
No problem, thanks Andy!

Michael V
Hi Chris, thanks for the file!

I'd have preferred it in epub or mobi format so I can more easily read it on my e-ink devices, but PDF will work just fine! I realize I could have bought the book from Amazon in their Kindle format (mobi), but I actually can't because they don't accept PayPal and I don't own a credit card. Plus, I much prefer supporting independent writers directly if possible. You're already asking so little for the book.

As for my own writing journey, it's complicated. English isn't my native language, just the one I have used the most over the past twenty-five years and that, for some unfathomable reason, I'd like to write creatively in. While not flawless, it's probably good enough for writing fiction, if it wasn't for the mental block. I've done translation work in the past and used to freelance for various computer and gaming magazines before everything went digital, but I've never written fiction outside of little flash pieces. Mostly I've just thought about it. I always wanted to write fiction, yet whenever I sit down to actually do it, I hit an invisible wall that is best described as mental paralysis. Like a field of snow and sub-zero temperatures.

Now I'm in my mid-40s (so much for the "I'll publish fiction before I'm 40" goal!) and I sometimes settle for the conviction that I love the idea of writing fiction, but not the writing of fiction. Annoyingly, though, the idea and the dream won't quite die. I speculate that I'm really only afraid of failure and have unrealistic expectations, but knowing that doesn't make it easier. I write a lot, none of it fiction, both in my work (I do community management and customer service for a small American online entertainment company) and in my spare time (forums, mail, etc), and that frequently leads to the false belief that I should also be able to write decent fiction from the get-go. It's idiotic, though. Like a trumpet player expecting to be able to pick up a guitar and giving a concert after a month. It doesn't work that way, but remembering this is hard, even though it's painfully obvious to everyone else (sometimes even to myself!).

Every so often the desire to write and learn the ropes flares up, which usually means I buy stuff, your book being the latest example. This is probably common and I'd not be surprised if all of your writing this how-to book is the most profitable. This is another false belief I maintain: that I could improve in a skill by reading or thinking about the subject. It's easier to throw money at a problem and pussyfoot around the issue instead of confronting it with determination and zeal, and actual action. And so, my latest goal is to work through your book, follow the advice, study your stories (probably throw more money your way, because reading is easier than writing), and then actually write *something* every day. I decided on this aim before already, naturally. About a couple dozen of times. I guess, though, like a toddler trying to learn to walk, the secret for success is to not stay down. But that, too, is just theory, and theory is not the real problem here.

There, more than I wanted to write, and more than you feared you'd have to read! You've probably heard the same story numerous times. I'll drop you some feedback as I read through the book!

Chris Fielden
Hi Michael. Thanks for your message. Your trumpet/guitar analogy is a good one, and very true. Fiction and non-fiction are different writing disciplines.

Well, I hope you like the book. Reading around the subject is helpful. And reading lots of stories definitely helps, as you can learn about the art-form by doing so. But like you say, practice is what you need. The best bet is to try and write (and read) some fiction every day. That’s the only way to get good at it.

I just got back from the Hay Festival. I saw a talk by Jacqueline Wilson, who is a popular children’s author. She did an interesting talk and gave a lot similar advice to that which I give (which was a relief!). Her goal is to write 1,000 words a day. That means she writes a book every six months. By being determined and developing a healthy writing routine, she has written over 100 books. So it does work.

Regarding writers block, you just have to fight through it. Find things that relax your mind and inspire ideas. There is a post on my site about using music to do this. But there are many other ways. And look at doing some writing exercises. You can find loads for free online. I’ve just finished developing a course about short story writing. I’m hoping to have that filmed and launched by the end of the year. It has a lot of writing exercises in it, one specifically aimed at inspiring ideas. You may find that helpful when it’s released.

Anyway. Many thanks for buying my book. I hope you find it helpful.