As a new novelist, I'm always looking for ways to promote myself as a writer, and one way to reach new readers is through distributing short stories in places where my target audience will hopefully see them.
I've been finding that it's much harder to get a short story accepted than an entire novel! In reality, all I need from my short stories, is for them to be seen. I really don't need the $20 - 50 that most magazines pay, I don't need to be spending as much in postage, and the rejection letters are disheartening to say the least.
The readers who do manage to find my short works are very encouraging.
Here's one comment from "Terry", who read "From Alpha to Omega" on MySpace:
"That was very cute and fun Jennifer, and I liked the ideas in it. Well done."
And this is from "Damon", who read "Karmic Intrusions" on Novel Storm:
"I enjoyed your story very much. Interesting concept, the sci fi with a micky spillaine detective type feel to it's narative quality. I haven't read a first person story in quite some time and it felt like I was listening to you tell the story. You are a very talented story teller and I look forward to reading more...very well done."
While I do care what editors and critics think of my work (very much so!) the readers are the ones I really enjoy connecting with.
Novel Storm is the mind-child of Matt Townsend, who invites other writers on the home page of his website with the following passage:
"Have you written a complete Novel, Childrens Book, Short Story, Poem or Script? Would you like others to be able to read it?
Have your creative talent displayed in an online virtual book and made available for people to read, turning the pages just as they would a physical book. This will surely create a fantastic buzz about your literary work in the forums. You can earn money from your posts and as always there is the prospect of having your work published. Some areas of the Novel-storm site are absolutely free; others may require a small nominal charge to become involved in a project.
Upload your submission now."
For short stories and poetry, there is no charge for uploading, but for illustrations and novel chapters, there is a submission fee of £2.50, however, "Novel-Storm will endeavour to present completed novels to chosen publishing companies in an effort to get the books published. In the event of a publication, 80% of the profit derived from the sale of the published novel will be distributed between the contributing authors and illustrators as advised by Novel-Storm in advance. The remaining 20% is retained by Novel-Storm." More information is available by clicking on the "Terms and Conditions" link at the bottom of the page.
I asked Matt what the traffic was like on his site, to which he replied, "We are 1 month old and have had over 340,000 hits to date." Not bad for getting my name out there as a writer.
Considering the ease of publication, and friendliness of the administrator and effectiveness of Novel Storm as a promotional site, I think I know where my future short stories are going!