Today bestselling author Liv Morris visits the Write Divas to discuss short stories in our Diva Interview. Over the past year Morris has had wonderful success writing Love in the City, her series of short stories. I sat down with Liv in New York City recently to get her take on the short story phenomenon.
Diva Lauren: Welcome, Liv! I have loved reading some of your shorts stories in the Love in the City series. What has inspired you to try your hand writing short stories?
Liv Morris: Thanks, Lauren. My first short story, Magic at Macy’s, is a holiday romance. I wrote it in 2010 and decided to publish in November 2012 after my husband encouraged me to give self-publishing a go. I had chosen a pen name and secured a web site earlier in March 2012, but hadn’t made the move to publish anything until my first short story. I have a friend who was super successful as an author, and she was a trailblazer for me to reach for my dreams of publishing. So between my husband’s nagging and my friend’s successful example, I decided to publish.
Diva Lauren: It’s hard to get your foot in the door. I’m glad your husband and friend pushed you. Speaking of success, short stories are typically free or very cheap. What is the difference between selling your short for 99 cents or giving it away for free?
Liv Morris: When I offered my short stories for free via Kindle Direct Publishing’s special Select program, the amount of downloads was astonishing to me. I believe one of my short stories had over 24,000 free downloads in five days. All five of them had at least 20,000 downloads during the free period. When the short stories came off the free side of Kindle, the numbers dropped dramatically. But I was able to have my name and short stories read by so many people. I think it was a great way to introduce myself and my writing as a new author.
Diva Lauren: Wow, you can’t complain about those sales. Do you think then that short story writing can be beneficial for budding authors?
Liv Morris: I think writing short stories was instrumental in getting name recognition. As an indie author name branding is essential for getting and growing an audience of readers. I had some good luck with my shorts. One of them ranked as high as #283 in the entire Amazon Kindle Store and all of them were top 5 best sellers in the short story category. Two were ranked in the top 100 contemporary romance category and one in the romantic comedy category. I believe these rankings helped me get my name in front of readers and I’m very thankful for this success.
Diva Lauren: In terms of full length vs. short stories, do you think your readers prefer your shorts or demand longer books from you?
Liv Morris: In a couple of reviews from readers, they mentioned that they were looking forward to my full length novel. My novel is completely different from my short stories, though. I tried to consciously make my short stories different from each other, too. Hopefully my readers believe I was able to.
Diva Lauren: What advice can you give for new short story authors out there?
Liv Morris: Not too long after I started writing short stories I read some advice from Ray Bradbury. I’ll list the top three points from Mr. Bradbury that have stuck with me over the last few months.
- Don’t start out writing novels. They take too long. Instead, crank out a lot of short stories. Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.
- Choose your writing friends wisely.
- Write for yourself. Don’t do it for money. Don’t let anyone pay you unless they believe in what you do.
I believe Mr. Bradbury is correct in the fact that a novel is a big feat to start out writing as a new author. I am very thankful I gave short stories a try first. I learned a lot about myself as a writer and the business of self-publishing before I bit off writing a full-length novel.
Also I believe it is very, very important to find writer friends who truly encourage you. Avoid those who are bent on being the next Stephenie Meyer and let ambitions rule their writing. Stick with writers who realize that people read more than one book in their lifetime so competition between one another is ridiculous. Look for souls who will share, care, and bear with you when times are tough and not be jealous when things go your way. It’s scary to push that the publish button and send your work out in the world, so having a good support systems is critical.
And to Mr. Bradbury’s third point, write for yourself. Another author shared this same advice with me, and I couldn’t agree more if I tried. Write for yourself. Write everyday if possible.
Diva Lauren: Thank you, Liv. That was some great advice for fledgling authors.
Liv Morris: My pleasure, Lauren.
Liv Morris resides in Manhattan with her first and hopefully last husband. She received a degree in communication from the University of Maryland. Liv has published five short stories in the Love in the City series. Her début novel, Adam’s Apple, was published in July 2013. Books by Liv Morris can be found on Amazon and Smashwords.