Some good advice here, some OK advice stated in rather vague terms.RPGnet Columns said:
A few markets? You need to research this more actively. TSR/WotC has indeed made piles of money on short fiction. I personally edited two Forgotten Realms anthologies that sold well over 100,000 copies each and have been translated into several languages. The big WotC project of the moment is that dragons-across-the-settings short fiction book. GW publishes short fiction successfully, as have White Wolf, Chaosium, Eden, and a host of others. WizKids solicits paying short fiction for their online site. Other successful game publishers frequently use short fiction as "tone-setters" at the starts of RPG products.LBrownIII said:On short stories: yes, I understand that a few markets have found a use for short fiction. They are the exceptions that do not disprove the rule. The number of times I've seen solicitations for fiction vs. the three instances you name overwhelmingly favors my "warning sign" caution. Again, it's just a tell--it's not proof.
Also, the fiction that makes WotC piles of money is not short fiction--it's novels, and that's a different kettle of fish.
Far more than a relative few. And from both large companies and small. These multiple examples at multiple tiers of the industry disprove your point that soliciting short fiction is a sign of trouble. You have to ignore massive successes and minor successes from too many companies.LBrownIII said:The number of small publishers asking for short fiction without actually ever releasing their product or releasing their product and selling pathetic numbers is large. The success stories are limited to relatively few. For every success story you named, I could name a dozen failures.