The New Short Story – Guest Post by Edward H. Carpenter

Today I’m featuring a guest post by Edward H. Carpenter, on the re-emergence of the short story in literature. Ed and I became friends via Goodreads due to our military connection. I rarely see a military uniform in an author’s profile photo, so when I saw the Marine green, the Navy blue in me had to say “hi.” Here is a little about Ed and what influences his writing, in his own words:

“Well, I’m one of 12 children, a career military officer, a small business owner, and an athlete. I’ve flown planes and jumped out of them, served in war zones and looked into the empty sockets of skulls in a mass grave. I’ve lived in Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia, and traveled to more countries than I can list, but not nearly enough.

“Reading has always been a passion of mine, and writing is a small way to give something back, to contribute to the vast store of literature, which is both comfortingly constant and thrillingly ever-changing. I will always enjoy rereading an old favorite novel, and always enjoy discovering a new one. I’ve written non-fiction, poetry, and fiction, and look forward to doing so for years to come, eventually, with a bit of luck, making a career of it after I retire from the Corps.

“I include more about my influences and the basis for my writing in the author’s notes at the end of each of published story. Happy reading! E.H.C.”

The short story is a wonderful, but often overlooked form of literature that appears to be making a comeback.  Pundits have recently declared that 2012 may be the “Year of the Short Story.” Famous writers such as Ernest Hemingway, Isaac Asimov, and Stephen King started their careers writing short stories, and it is in this genre that I myself have chosen to start my fiction-writing career.

That said, until recently, it has always been a difficult niche to get published in. Many magazines offered little or no payment for stories, and those that did were deluged with thousands of submissions every month, of which only two or three would be selected.

Now, the advent of e-publishing, particularly Amazon’s KDP Select program has made it possible for aspiring writers to showcase their best work to an audience of thousands and get paid to do it.

Take, for example, my original short fiction “Seven Lives to Repay Our Country.” It’s a story set in the WWII battle for Saipan, and while it normally retails for 99 cents, it’s free Friday, April 6th, on Amazon. Last month, during the first giveaway, 190 readers downloaded this e-book. I hope that those who enjoy my stories for free will end up purchasing other short stories I’ve written, or novels, story collections, etc. at a later date.

I’ve learned a lot through the process of publishing my first (and second!) short stories, and I’m currently writing a how-to guide to share that information with other aspiring authors. Meantime, lots of advice can be found on my blog at

Some of the more interesting things I’ve ended up doing was designing cover art, creating a ‘book trailer’ video (which you can check out here if you are interested:…) and doing collaborative promotion efforts with other authors, including guest posts like this one.

I compare the advent of e-publishing for authors to the rise of I-Tunes for recording artists. I have several musically talented sisters (and a brother) who are focused on bringing whole albums to the public, but I always ask them, “Why?” – most albums contain only 2-3 hit songs out of 10 or 12 on the CD. Why wait the extra time (and spend the extra money) to create and publish a traditional album when you could upload your single, best-ever song to I-Tunes today?

So, I give the same advice to authors (and took it myself!) Don’t have a full novel, or even enough short stories for a collection? Who cares? If you’re a writer, I strongly urge you to consider adding your voice to the world’s literary community through the medium of e-publishing, even if you only have one great short story to share, or a collection of poetry. And, if you’re a reader, I hope you’ll check out my stories, and those of some of the other hundreds of great indie authors out there.

Of course, you need more than just a great story – you need editing, proofreading, a nice cover, and some promotion – but as I’m proving to myself every day, that can all be easily accomplished by even a simple guy like myself.

Thanks, Ed, for stopping by, and for sharing your giveaway and your thoughts!


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