I suppose we should first decide what constitutes a short story. Roughly, because these things tend to be a matter of opinion rather than fact, a short story is a work of fiction with a word count somewhere between 1,000 and 10,000.
So, do you read them? It’s clear lots of readers do. I belong to a submissions website called Duotrope, which currently lists a little under 5,000 publications accepting short fiction submissions, which suggests there are enough readers to justify writing such stories.
I’ve written (and read) short stories for almost as long as I can remember: of course, I’m now at that age where memory can be a little unreliable, but I’m pretty certain I’ve had a good number of short stories published (I’ve even published a couple of anthologies), and have written even more. But I haven’t written or submitted a short story for quite a long time.
I became re-acquainted with a small press magazine I used to subscribe to regularly and where I’ve had a few short stories published in the past. Scribble is a print only A5 size mag publishing around 15 short stories in each quarterly issue. Subscribers vote on all the stories in each edition and the editor then awards cash prizes to those placed 1st to 3rd. It’s published by Park Publications, who also produce a few other literary periodicals. The stories are surprisingly good. I say ‘surprisingly’ simply because these aren’t household names in the main but writers who most readers will never otherwise encounter. The annual subscription for 4 magazines is £17 for UK readers and £25 for those from overseas, including postage.
All the above was prompted by the fact that, having read the last few issues, I decided to submit a short story for the first time in years. It’s been accepted and appears in the current issue, Winter 2021. And that simple event spurred me into reminding writers (and readers) that short stories really are worth exploring, especially if you’ve never given them a chance.