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Author Topic: Best Way to Handle a Sequel That's a Short Story?  (Read 246 times)

Offline ChristinePope

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Best Way to Handle a Sequel That's a Short Story?
« on: July 02, 2013, 09:03:00 AM »
Last winter I wrote a short story to be included in a holiday-themed anthology. Since the anthology is now out of Select and we individual authors can do what we like with the stories we wrote, I'd like to publish mine separately. I really want it to be perma-free, although I know that's going to take a while since Apple is so sloooow to approve things these days.

I plan to put something like "This short story is a direct sequel to Breath of Life and therefore contains spoilers" prominently in the blurb, but what I'm wondering is whether instead I should create a new version of Breath of Life with the short story included at the end, and then make it available separately as well for all the people who've already read the original novella, or whether that might be too confusing.

Have any of you dealt with a situation like this before?

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Offline CoraBuhlert

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Re: Best Way to Handle a Sequel That's a Short Story?
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2013, 10:17:07 AM »
How short is the story? If it's only 2000 words or so, I'd probably bundle it with the novel. If it's 8000 or 10000 words, I'd publish it separately with a "this is a story of XXX words and a sequel to X" disclaimer. You can also use the series field and classify the novel as part 1 of the series and the short story as part 2.

Offline ChristinePope

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Re: Best Way to Handle a Sequel That's a Short Story?
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2013, 10:33:29 AM »
It's around 6,300 words, so kind of in the middle but probably long enough to be a standalone.

Unfortunately, since the original novella is already part of a series, having this be part two won't really work (there's only one other book out in this series right now, but book 3 will be coming out end of summer/early fall).

Unless Amazon lets you designate something as "Book 1a"?  ;)

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Offline CoraBuhlert

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Re: Best Way to Handle a Sequel That's a Short Story?
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2013, 10:50:07 AM »
6300 words is definitely long enough to stand alone.

I don't know if Amazon lets you designated a book as No. 1.5 or something like that, but you could always designated it that way in your blurb, e.g. "This is a short story of 6300 words, part No. 1.5 in the XXX series".

Offline ChristinePope

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Re: Best Way to Handle a Sequel That's a Short Story?
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2013, 11:39:33 AM »
I don't know if Amazon lets you designated a book as No. 1.5 or something like that, but you could always designated it that way in your blurb, e.g. "This is a short story of 6300 words, part No. 1.5 in the XXX series".

I'll try putting "1.5" in the series number field and see what happens. The worst that can happen is that it won't work and I'll just have to put that info in the blurb (and hope that people actually read it).

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Offline ChristinePope

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Re: Best Way to Handle a Sequel That's a Short Story?
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2013, 02:29:05 PM »
Well, I just uploaded it, and Amazon definitely would not let me put "1.5" in the series number field. Just thought I'd post this for anyone else who was thinking about getting creative with their series numbering system.

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Offline ellenoc

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Re: Best Way to Handle a Sequel That's a Short Story?
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2013, 07:44:16 PM »
My only short story is a 6,000-word follow-on to my bestselling romance. I just published it with that in the description. It's available for $.99 on Amazon and SW and free on my website. You all may think 6,000 words is long enough for a standalone offering, but it has 11 reviews on Amazon and I bet 9 of them include the "too short" complaint. More reviews but similar percent of short complaints on GR. Makes me cranky and does not incent me to write more short stories.

Offline Simon Haynes

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Re: Best Way to Handle a Sequel That's a Short Story?
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2013, 08:37:17 PM »
I tried using '4.1' and '4.2' in the title to indicate where my shorts fitted into the series, then changed my mind again. Now the numbering is only in the description, but displayed in bold face and right up front.

Why? Because I noticed people were buying books 1-3, then 4.1 and 4.2, then book 5, 6, etc. Sales of book 4 - the real novel - actually dropped off for several days.

However, book 7 is a serialised novel so I'm happy to publish it as 7.1, 7.2, etc.
 
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Offline jswww

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Re: Best Way to Handle a Sequel That's a Short Story?
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2013, 09:07:43 PM »
This is just my opinion, but I prefer to see series stories numbered in whole numbers, ordered by publication. I should be able to read the books in that order and have all of them make perfect sense that way. Any other way and you really mess with a reader's head. Chronological order has never seemed as important as publication order to me. That includes short stories that fit into other places in the worlds, etc., because maybe the story has much deeper meaning when read in publication order versus chronological order.

Offline erikhanberg

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Re: Best Way to Handle a Sequel That's a Short Story?
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2013, 09:30:56 PM »
ChristinePope,

My third book in my mystery series is a novella (Con Before Christmas in my signature). I wasn't sure how to deal with it either, since it came after two full-length novels.

I ended up where you did: I explicitly called it out as a shorter work, numbered it appropriately, and priced it lower (for length). I also used it as the excuse to bundle the three into a set. I don't know if 2 is enough to bundle--I'd submit that question to the wisdom of the Writer's Cafe. But that's what I did in a similar situation.

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Offline ChristinePope

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Re: Best Way to Handle a Sequel That's a Short Story?
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2013, 10:10:34 PM »
I'm going to do my darnedest to get it free and hope that's enough. I really didn't want to give it a full number, because it's not long enough for that. (Luckily, Amazon let me assign it to a series w/o a number, although I had to give it a number at B&N.)

In the end I may decide to bundle it -- I'm going to see how it goes.

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