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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Download Stories?

For each story you choose, click ‘Add to Reading List’. The stories will be added to your cart. When you have finished browsing, click on your cart, then click ‘Checkout’. Add your name and email address and then click ‘Place Order’. The stories you’ve chosen will appear on ‘My pennyshorts’, where you can open them and read them on screen, or download to any reading device.

Why Does pennyshorts Offer Stories for Free?

Nobody appreciates authors’ original work more than we do. Diehard pennyshorts followers will know that originally we charged 50p a download, and offered various story bundles at a discount. We compete against free content everywhere, some of which is excellent, and the sad truth is that much like the world of music, few people are willing to pay upfront for short fiction. The main motivation for setting up the site was to get our authors as big a readership as possible, and the tiny barrier of 50p was enough to interfere with that goal.

How Do Authors Get Paid?

The site either generates or will generate an income from various sources: advertising, grants, a short story competition, e-books and merchandising. We also have a donation button for anyone wishing to support the site. 50% of revenues received will go into the Author’s Pot, and will accrue to each author on a pro-rata basis depending on how many times their story(ies) has been downloaded.  Authors will be paid annually provided they have accrued a threshold amount of £25.  Lesser amounts will be carried over to the following year. Authors who decide to withdraw their story(ies) for whatever reason will be paid on the next annual pay date (3rd May 2017) even if they have not made the threshold amount.

The other 50% will be used to maintain the site.

How Can We Trust The Figures?

We appreciate the trust that’s involved. We would love to promise an annual audit, but it’s too darn expensive! The reality is that we can’t wait to pay our authors. The more money authors earn from the site, the more top quality stories will come our way, the bigger our readership will get and the bigger our revenues… you get the drift.

Hey! I Paid Good Money For Stories That Are Now Free!

Er, yeah, sorry about that… we didn’t envisage moving to free content, and we can understand if you feel a little peeved. If it’s any consolation, all payments have accrued to the relevant author(s) and all unused coupon credits have been put into the Author’s Pot.  We would be really grateful if you considered yourselves early donors to pennyshorts, but if you feel strongly about it, please email and you will be refunded in full if you’re a verified buyer.

Why Do I Have To Log In To The Site?

Unless you log in, we can’t track the number of downloads properly. We have made it as easy as possible for you to log in, either directly on the site or via Facebook, Twitter or Google. Once you’ve chosen stories to download, they will appear in ‘My pennyshorts’, with 3 files per story:  PDF, MOBI and EPUB,  and you can choose how to access them:  directly on screen, on an ipad, smartphone, kindle or other reading device.  Soon there will be 4 files per story, as we will be adding audio files soon, which will give us access to a whole new audience.

How Will My Details Be Used?

We can 100% guarantee that your details will not be passed on to any third parties.  You may be emailed in the future by pennyshorts to ask if you’d like to receive our newsletter, once we get round to producing one. Similarly, you may be emailed once the pennyshorts app is developed to invite you to download it, but we will never under any circumstances pass your details on to anyone else.

Rating & Reviewing Stories… Does It Really Make A Difference?

Definitely! Readers tend to choose stories that have a prior rating. Everyone likes praise, but constructive criticism is highly appreciated by most authors, not to mention other readers. A thoughtful critique often piques a reader’s interest far more than gushing praise. All reviews welcome, although they will be checked for spoilers and please folks, no insulting or abusive language.

How About Feedback On The Site?

Your feedback on the site is also really important. If you have any problems or issues as a user, or have any ideas on how to improve the site, please email We’d be delighted to hear from you.

Wow! pennyshorts Is Such A Cool Idea. How Can I Help It Take Off?

Thanks. That’s so kind of you to say so. Here’s how:

  • Use the site, and encourage others to do the same. The more hits we have, the better for readers and authors alike, as we’ll get a lovely virtuous circle going. More hits = More revenue = More Top Quality Submissions = More readers = More Hits.  Beautiful.
  • Be sure to mention us to every bus or rail commuter, as we can brighten up a journey. Tell all mums with babies who are up feeding in the small hours. Tell all travellers, backpackers and holidaymakers, who will inevitably have time to kill, retired people who fancy a break from the gardening, and all coffee drinkers who are sitting in Starbucks with nothing to read, and are fed up with checking work emails or their friends’ mendacious facebook updates. Tell everyone!
  • Once again, please rate and review the stories you choose. It makes a huge difference.
  • If you are a blogger or have a website, please mention the site on your blog, as this will really help us with SEO (search engine optimisation)

Thank you so much for visiting us, and we hope you are thoroughly entertained by the stories you choose.

Happy reading

Cathy Evans