"Few people want to apprentice in this business," one editor said. "They want to jump on the bestseller list. A number of the successful writers in this business began by writing and editing magazines."
With that as background, here are reasons to start with articles before we try books.
1. Once we’ve had short pieces published, we have writing credits. We’ve entered professional status. Prior publishing impresses book editors and implies that we we're ready for the next step.
2. If we focus first on short pieces, the books we finally write will probably be superior to anything we could have written in our earlier days. Perhaps it helps if we think of a book as a series of articles tied together by a common theme.
During my first years of writing, I wrote articles and after they were published, I revised them to fit as chapters in a book. (That’s also good stewardship of time.)
3. Articles take less time to write and we get feedback faster. It's easier to handle a rejected article on which I spent three weeks than a book that took me two years to complete.
A willingness to start at the beginning and learn marks the true professional.