Yesterday I wrote about what writing short stories does for a writer's style. Today I'll focus on what it does for her career.

The word is EXPOSURE. I've written short stories in a dozen different places, and each one brings my name before readers. Readers can't decide they like your work until they hear of you. Hardly anyone goes into a bookstore and says, "I think I'll look for a book by someone I've never heard of."

So I put a short story on my website. I submitted some stories to ezines like Mystery Scene. I wrote for Mystery Readers' Journal. I was included in an anthology last year from Wolfmont Press. It's done annually, benefits Toys for Tots, and is sold all over the U.S. Now what could be better than that? People buy the book, maybe because they know or have heard of one of the authors in the anthology. But they're going to read the whole thing. Maybe they like my story. Even if they don't, the name is there, and it will ring a bell the next time. "Oh, yeah. I heard of her somewhere."

It may be enough to make them pick up the book and look it over. In this day of mega-competition, that's all an author can hope for.

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Comment by I. J. Parker on July 10, 2009 at 7:59am
I've been publishing short stories since 1996 and novels since 2002. The stories have been in AHMM, a publication with a large circulation. Imagine my surprise when got an e-mail today from a reader who was amazed (and pleased) that I also write novels about the same character. So I doubt there is much of a connect there.

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