1. Nalix
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    Nalix Member

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    ebooks, now what?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Nalix, Jul 30, 2011.

    Woohoo! I just put a couple short stories on Amazon as ebooks. Mostly this is just an experiment to see what happens, what kind of reception they get, and to figure out what should I do next.

    So what should I do next? I have a bunch more short stories I could write/finish and publish another volume to the series or I could work on one of the novels I've started. They take a lot longer though and I don't know if my effort is best spent on getting more material out faster or on finishing the weightier material first. Or what I should do, if anything, marketing wise.

    Suggestions?
     
  2. e(g)
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    e(g) Member

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    I don't think putting short stories out on Kindle is a good idea. I'd be very surprised if anyone buys them, even at $0.99. Therefore, the sale of your short stories is not a good indication of what you might be able to achieve with a novel length work.

    As an experienced consumer of gothic fiction, I can tell you that if a work on Amazon isn't at least 250 kb in size, I won't consider it. I won't even download a sample of it. In fact, I consider it disingenuous for someone to put a work up, with a cover that looks like a novel, and never mention it's a short story in the product description. I know that a novel length work is at least 250 kb, but a lot of people don't.

    The best thing you can do is take your short stories together and put them out as a collection. Or, you can leave things as they are, but keep this in mind: If you have two or three shorts published and then publish a novel, I'm going to think everything you have published is a short story and promptly ignore the novel by mistake.

    I applaud your decision to self-publish, and to do so through Kindle, which is the future of fiction. I took the liberty of downloading a sample of Spider Song, and you really need to re-work the formatting. Do you own a Kindle? Have you looked at what you published? The front matter is jacked, you have no paragraph indentations, no chapter headings (e.g., Chapter One, Chapter Two, etc.).

    Proper formatting for Kindle is a skill you need to learn before you put a novel up on Kindle Books. It is a new skill that today's authors must acquire. You did make your cover the first page that opens, and the cover image seems to be properly sized and formatted, so kudos on that. Most independent publishers get that wrong.

    If you are going to publish to Kindle, you must own a Kindle so you can test what you create. If you publish to Nook, you need to have a Nook. If you publish to any other device, then you need to have that device. Most tablets and phones use a Nook or Kindle app so you don't have to own one of those if you already know your formatting is correct on a regular Kindle or Nook reading device.
     
  3. HeinleinFan
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    The first priority is to write / finish more of your projects. The truth is, it is difficult to attract readers to you when you only have a couple stories available. Once you have around 10 projects up, you are a) more visible, and b) someone who buys and likes "One Story" can browse your online shelf for "Another Story."

    On the other hand, it is worth remembering that short stories can potentially make money more quickly if they are purchased by a short story magazine. So it's your call. You might try sending out a few stories to magazines, and putting them up on your Kindle shelf if they don't sell. (Quirky stories especially can be quite good but "not right for our market" when you send them to magazines. Same with cross-genre material.) Or you might put up as many of your finished projects as you have available, and keep writing while word-of-mouth circulates.

    An important point: short fiction does not sell as well as novel-length works do. I've paid attention to several long-term professional writers, and as far as they can tell, after you've gotten at least ten works up on Amazon (and SmashWords, and XinXii, and Barnes and Noble's PubIt), you can expect 5 sales per month per title for short stories and 25 sales per month per title for novels. (This is across all platforms, not from Amazon alone.)

    Marketing-wise, there is very little you can do with your time that is more productive than writing. Think about it: for most people, it takes around 15 minutes to write between 150 and 300 words. If you're a slow, uncertain writer, that means it will take you 2.5 hours to write 1500 words. That's a good hunk of a chapter, or a fourth (or more) of many short stories.

    Obviously, these are just a few things to consider. I can't tell you what the best route is. You are in charge of your own career. If you're more comfortable with short stories, you might work on them; if you are deeply engrossed in your novel, you might finish that first -- or you might spend an hour on one, an hour and a half on the other.

    Best of luck with your writing.
     
  4. Nalix
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    Nalix Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. I fixed the formatting issues, or at least what I perceived as the formatting issue. Thanks again for pointing that out.

    I sincerely hope that you did not assume these were novel length works. Is that what they look like? I thought I had clearly labeled them as short stories, which they are. If that is not the case, I would like to know what I could do to change that impression.

    I definitely agree that my first priority should be to finish more stories, and I am working on that. Would it be a better strategy to get another eight or so ready and publish them all at once, or to publish each of them as I get it ready over a longer period of time?

    The problem with magazines is also the problem with finding an audience. I don't know who my audience is. I write stories that I would like to read, but I don't know who else would like them.

    Thanks again for the feedback.
     
  5. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Nalix,

    My question for you is are short stories your thing? Or do you have a novel planned? My thought is that yes, short stories have a rougher time selling. This months so far, (14/8/11) I've sold 288 books (spread over 4 books), and 3 short stories, and all 3 of those short stories were bought by people who had bought my other books. As the others have said, getting more work published is vital, but my thought is that a novel would be of more use in terms of sales.

    However, you need to do what is right for you. Also (I haven't looked at your work so I'm just shooting in the dark a little here), work on your blurb and cover to make them as catchy as possible, and get some promotion out there, by things such as getting on the kindle boards, or Goodreads etc. Ask for reviews, give giveaways as well etc. And then pimp out your author's page on Kindle.

    Cheers.
     

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