History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Growing as a Short Story Writer

Chart with an arrow going upwardI started writing regularly in 2009 and lucked out by selling my first short story early in 2010. After that, things were a bit more hit and miss for a while. Between 2010 and 2014, I made a total of 11 story sales, some of them for no payment, and mostly for very small payments. My numbers were still pretty good, since I had written 16 stories in that time frame.

In 2015, I finally made my first pro sale, and I finally started making more than 2 or 3 sales in any given year. I also started writing a lot more around the same time. My numbers of written stories edged upward into double digits for a couple of years, and then started exploding into years like last year, when I finished 44 stories or poems.

These days, I’ve got more than 100 stories and poems written, and I’m approaching 60 sales. I’m not at a point where I can do this full time, but I’m making money on my writing and getting more recognition for my stories. And it’s not only about sales and recognition–I feel like my writing is getting better, too. I can look at an idea and say “hey, yeah, this is really cool, and I think it will work” vs. “I want to try this thing” only to discover that it’s not a viable idea.

I definitely credit my willingness to write a lot and submit a lot to my improvement as a writer. Personal rejections are uncommon, as most markets are deluged with stories to read. But when editors have given me personal rejections and feedback, it’s helped me learn how to write better and sell more stories.

So the takeaway here is write a lot, submit a lot, and keep going, even when it is a slog!


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