On Writing (And Reading!) Short

Title: On Writing (And Reading!) Short: A Science Fiction Writer’s Quest for Stories That Matter
Publisher: Skyfox Publishing
Author: Ron Collins
Pages: 131pp
Price: $7.99 (ebook)
Release Date: 30 January 2023

I discovered Ron Collins’ book thanks to Kickstarter. I was backing T. Thorn Coyle’s latest mystery series, the Pride Street Paranormal Cozy Mysteries, and Coyle mentioned Collins’ Kickstarter in a post. I was curious, liked what I read in the description, and decided to back Collins’ campaign, as well.

I’m glad that I did. Collins’ book fortuitously came exactly when I needed it. I was feeling very depressed and very isolated. Everywhere I looked, other authors seemed to be doing so much better than me: better ideas, better sales, better all around.

And then I read Collins’ book On Writing (and Reading!) Short, and it was just the pick-me-up/pat on the back/you got this that I needed. Collins has been writing and editing for more than twenty years. He understands publishing as an industry, and writing as a business and a passion. He understands the frustrations that come with lack of time, lack of publishing venues, and lack of original ideas. He also understands the prejudice against short forms of writing among publishers, agents, and authors. He’s very up front: a career as a short story writer is possible, in that you can make money at it; but a solo career, with short stories as your only source of income, is highly unlikely. Accept that, move on, keep writing, and take pride in your work.

On Writing (And Reading!) Short is filled with practical, on-the-ground advice and personal anecdotes. Collins never talks down to his audience, because he’s been there (and still is). There are very few how-to writing books that I recommend. This is one of them.

[Reviewed by Rebecca Buchanan.]