Death of a Short Story
In 2007, Stephen King wrote an article called “What Ails the Short Story” published on the New York Times website. The subject was short stories. Are short stories a dying art? Someone may look at the market listings on sites such as Duotrope and Ralans as well as The Writers Market books put together by Writer’s Digest and think they are as alive as novels. Here’s something you should try doing next time you are at a bookstore such as Books-a-Million or Barnes & Noble.
Check out their magazine selections. Locate the ones mainly focused on fictional short stories and keep these questions in mind as you are doing so. Compared to others, where are these magazines kept? How many choices do you have? Would you find them any other time if they weren’t on your must buy list? How many times do you buy magazines such as Glimmer Train, Shock Totem or Shroud Magazine for the sole joy of reading the content?
As many times I’ve been to a bookstore, I don’t recall seeing such magazines at eye level ever. It wasn’t until I became involved in the complex world of writing that I learned of their existence. Despite knowing this, I choose to be a short story writer anyways.
So, what I want to know from you is why do you think short stories receive less attention than other forms of writing? Do you think writers are the only ones who buy and read genre magazines?