How long is short?

I’ve been reading some Mary Higgins Clark short stories recently. Well I say short, but the first story in the volume is 50,000 words long. The others incline more towards the 4-5,000. Which begs the question, how long is short? I’ve heard of people e-publishing ‘novels’ of 5,000 words, which isn’t even a novella, but I suppose that’s the beauty of an e-book: it can be any length you like. And if you’re writing material that feels natural at this amount of words, where else are you going to get it published? Certainly the old, established markets for the short story are gradually drying up – women’s magazines are a prime example. More and more magazines are dropping their fiction pages in favour of real life, how-I-overcame-this-dreadful-situation-and–lived-to-tell-the-tale type stories.

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