A novel is a very risky enterprise for a new writer because of the length of time it takes to write one and the chance that it will not be good or sell well, whereas the short story format diminishes these risks. I may add to Bradbury's advice that this is especially true if you are a beginning writer who will self-publish his/her own work. If you are still learning the ropes and developing contacts, it is more prudent to reserve your more complex works for later on when you have the infrastructure and experience to support/promote them.
Unfortunately the current writing culture seems to be a novel-centric one. People who decide they want to be a writer tend to think in terms of writing a novel as though there weren’t other alternatives. Everyone talks about a writer’s debut novel, but you never hear anything about a writer’s debut book of short stories. Some websites that list the work of writers do not even have a category for short stories. My guess is that this is either because of reader demand (people like to read longer works with the same theme), or because the prevailing belief among writers is that what truly tests a writer’s mettle is a novel.
Be that as it may, I think that with a few exceptions most beginning writers (especially the ones that will self-publish) are better off setting more modest goals for their first efforts. I fear the current system is just pushing many authors who are not ready yet to invest a substantial amount of time and effort in putting out a novel, and many of these will crash and burn as a result of this. What do you think?
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