Over the past few years, I've become more interested in writing short stories. However, figuring out what to do with them when they're done isn't always easy. Some of them I've written as part of the Catalyst Chronicles or Season Avatars series, so I've published them independently. Other stories have been published independently because I wanted to put them out. However, I've also been writing stories for specific anthologies. Some of them were accepted by the targeted anthology, but not all of them were. I also wrote a fairty-tale-takeoff last year because I needed to write it in response to the pandemic. I've submitted it to a few professional markets without takers so far. However, I just learned of a potential market for fairy tale stories that will open in November, so I'll hold this short story until then. Another short story I'm trying to sell has Egyptian/godpunk/urban fantasy elements. I'm still deciding if I want to submit it to pro and semipro markets now or wait until I learn of a market looking for this specific type of story.
Some short stories I'm working on have the potential for future collections whether or not I sell them elsewhere. The cli-fi story I mentioned last week is set in the same world as "A Shawl for Janice," and I have another story that could be revised to fit there as well. If I write a few more stories in that setting (I mentioned a couple of ideas last week), I would have enough for a themed collection.
Although I've already published one collection of stories in the Season Avatars world, I'm currently working on another set of stories that would take place after Summon the Seasons. My long-term plans include a (potentially) seven-book sequel series in that world, and this collection would bridge the gap between the two series.
Writing a short story isn't necessarily quick for me; it can take months for me to revise it to my satisfaction. Juggling multiple projects at different stages requires as much work as a full novel. However, short stories help me improve my craft and allow me to tell stories that wouldn't work at longer length. It can be difficult deciding where to market some stories, but knowing that I can always put them out as eBooks makes me feel that the effort of writing short stories won't be wasted.
Do you write or read short stories? If you write them, do you publish them yourself or submit them to markets? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.