Meredith Abernathy Beyond the Midnight Mountain 25% on her 6th draft … She loves:

  • Dr. Pepper
  • Musicals
  • Road trips
  • Details of everyday life of everyday people in other times and places
  • Details in general (I tend to over research)
  • Brownies


“I keep hearing the advice to start marketing/start a newsletter as early as possible, even before you’re published. But whenever I ask for help in my Facebook writer groups, they say I’m putting the cart before the horse.


I have no books to offer free in exchange for newsletter signups, so of course I have 0 signups. I’m not sure about offering sample chapters of my novel, in case they change again between now and publication. So, is there something I can offer that readers care about, or am I doomed to launch a book to 0 readers?”


Meredith, we have the answer for you and in two words it is this: Short Stories.


Talking Points:



  • In our five year plan, we talk a lot about the value of writing short stories for developing your craft.

Short Stories Make You a Better Writer

  • I was in my neighborhood swim team for over ten years as a kid. We won every meet every year for at least five years in a row. We won the championship all but two years I competed.
    • Our secret: we swam mostly drills in practice. Focusing on specific aspects of technique. We might swim for 15 minutes with kickboards to work on making our kicking faster. The other teams swam hard. We swam smart. We did not swim a lot of “garbage yardage.”
  • Writing a full length novel as your first project is the slowest path to publishing success. As a beginning writer, you are just reinforcing bad habits you don’t know you have yet.
  • You typically don’t get a lot of feedback on it until you are finished writing the whole thing. Then you end up re-writing it over and over again fixing the same problems over and over again. This is exhausting and a lot of authors give up on this process.
  • Writing short stories allows you to focus on specific aspects of your craft to improve on them.
  • David Story:
    • My brother is one of the writers going through our five year plan. One of the things he struggled with in his early days of writing was character voice. All his characters sounded the same. So to work on it, he started writing short stories in the voice of various characters to learn how to make them sound different. He wrote a whole short story from the POV of a computer to force himself to see the world in a different way.
    • The short stories are fun and it allows him to work on specific writing muscle groups. They are the writing equivalent of the drills we swam in swim team. In one of his short stories, there is no dialogue. That was not what David was working on, so he left it out. The short story is brilliant and fun. It wouldn’t work for a whole book but it works great for the drill he was working on.
    • Some of the stories are from the POV of unimportant characters in his storyworld. So the short stories are also a way for him to do world building.
  • Short stories make it easier to get feedback.
  • Short stories make it easier to make changes.
  • Short stories are easier to abandon if things are not working out.
  • Adam Grant- Originals. Making pots.


Next we are going to talk about how Short Stories help with marketing. But first, we have our first ever Patron Plug. If you want to hear your book plugged on the podcast, visit

Patron of the show Jamie Foley

Sage: The Sentinel Trilogy Book 3

Ancient elementals awaken, fracturing a dying world to its core. Teravyn Aetherswift returns to the land of the living, but everything seems unfamiliar… including her little brother. Zekk offers help, but can an alluring Lynx be trusted? Sorvashti finally has everything she ever wanted, so the last thing she wants to do is run after traitors. But she won’t leave Jet’s side—unless the horrifying truth about his mother tears them apart. Darien is sick of being used and lied to. But if he stands up for what’s right, he’ll pay the price with his life… or the lives of those he loves.

Short Stories Help With Marketing

  • Short stories make for great reader magnets for your website.
  • Being a better writer is good marketing.
  • Good marketing helps a bad book fail faster.
  • It’s a lot easier emotionally to give away a 5,000 word short story than a 95,000 novel
  • A lot of novelists realize they need some short stories to give away on their website about a month before their book comes out. They then rush to write a short story. This is doing it backwards. They could have used that short story writing as an opportunity to hone their craft and build their story world.
  • Get a book cover

Short Stories Give You Something to Sell

If you write all of the short stories we recommend in the five year plan, you will have enough to sell in a collection.


Rubart Writing Academy … April 12 – 15 and May 3 – 6 

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