Author Topic: How do single stories and novellas sell compared to novels?  (Read 1521 times)  

Offline MichaelPritchett

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My novella has been out for four weeks and is not selling so far.  I do have a mailing list and am running an ad on Bookbub.  Also posting on facebook and twitter.  Thx.

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    Offline jb1111

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    Re: How do single stories and novellas sell compared to novels?
    « Reply #1 on: June 29, 2020, 09:41:56 pm »
    In some genres they do well. Not sure about most genres, though. Novels seem to be the thing.

    Offline isaacsweeney

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    Re: How do single stories and novellas sell compared to novels?
    « Reply #2 on: June 29, 2020, 10:32:56 pm »
    My novella has been out for four weeks and is not selling so far.  I do have a mailing list and am running an ad on Bookbub.  Also posting on facebook and twitter.  Thx.

    I write short too. Link your stuff. What's it like?

    Offline ShayneRutherford

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    Re: How do single stories and novellas sell compared to novels?
    « Reply #3 on: June 29, 2020, 11:48:16 pm »
    My novella has been out for four weeks and is not selling so far.  I do have a mailing list and am running an ad on Bookbub.  Also posting on facebook and twitter.  Thx.

    Shorter stuff doesn't sell nearly as well as novels. And calling a 43-pager a short novel is not likely to do you any favors if someone does happen to buy it without realizing how short it is. Disappointed readers who feel they've been misled tend to leave nasty reviews.
             

    Online Gareth K Pengelly

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    Re: How do single stories and novellas sell compared to novels?
    « Reply #4 on: June 30, 2020, 04:29:59 am »
    Standalones can do well, but series sell the best. People want something they can get their teeth into, with recurring characters.

    Gives me, at least, a nice cosy feeling knowing I can sit down and engross myself in another book in the series, seeing how all my favourite characters are getting on.

    Offline MichaelPritchett

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    Re: How do single stories and novellas sell compared to novels?
    « Reply #5 on: June 30, 2020, 05:29:36 am »
    Thanks for the replies!  Very helpful.  I'm a literary/historical writer and will link my covers asap.  I'll be releasing a long book soon. 

    Online Jena H

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    Re: How do single stories and novellas sell compared to novels?
    « Reply #6 on: June 30, 2020, 05:51:59 am »
    My writing tends to naturally "limit" itself to novella-length, and I have two different series consisting of novella-length works.  Right now they're not strong sellers, although readers who do find them, like them.  So for me it's a matter of visibility.  (I have a hard time marketing them.)
    Jena

    Online Gareth K Pengelly

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    Re: How do single stories and novellas sell compared to novels?
    « Reply #7 on: June 30, 2020, 05:53:15 am »
    Thanks for the replies!  Very helpful.  I'm a literary/historical writer and will link my covers asap.  I'll be releasing a long book soon. 

    Awesome, best of luck with it!

    Offline J. Tanner

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    Re: How do single stories and novellas sell compared to novels?
    « Reply #8 on: June 30, 2020, 10:13:54 am »
    They rarely sell well in genre fiction. The best hope is tie-ins to popular novel series, but even there authors report a fraction of the sales of the novels. In short, expect a trickle of sales at best.
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    Online Wired

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    Re: How do single stories and novellas sell compared to novels?
    « Reply #9 on: June 30, 2020, 10:31:21 am »
    How many pages make a novel? 150? 200?

    Offline EmberKent

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    Re: How do single stories and novellas sell compared to novels?
    « Reply #10 on: June 30, 2020, 11:23:41 am »
    How many pages make a novel? 150? 200?

    40,000 words at least. Industry standard is to expect 250 words per page.

    40,000 / 250 = ~160 pages

    Offline jvin248

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    Re: How do single stories and novellas sell compared to novels?
    « Reply #11 on: June 30, 2020, 05:50:36 pm »
    .

    40,000 words seems thin.

    Word count I aim for on the light side is 65,000. Big thick Fantasy books are often a hundred or hundred and fifty thousand words across the genre. Most word processors will show how many words are in the document along the bottom row that updates as you type.

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    Offline Clay

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    Re: How do single stories and novellas sell compared to novels?
    « Reply #12 on: June 30, 2020, 06:32:01 pm »
    40,000 is on the shorter end but it still qualifies as a novel, depending on the genre. Obviously fantasy skews longer.

    In terms of sales you'll obviously make more money selling longer works. The reasons are pretty obvious.

    Offline unkownwriter

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    Re: How do single stories and novellas sell compared to novels?
    « Reply #13 on: July 03, 2020, 06:21:57 am »
    SFWA considers 40K a novel. Most of us call it a short novel. Fantasy requires lots more words, in my experience, and some folks still go by the trad pub thing about needing at least 60K or more for general genre fiction.

    Forty-three pages is at best a novella. It doesn't help anyone to mis-label what readers are getting. Shorter doesn't sell well, though you can still make some money in erotica at 8K to 10K words, if you can publish at least once a week, on-niche.

    I know a lot of people are saying to publish in series, but if I was going to do that I'd just write a novel and be done with it. Seems like the whole process would be simpler, including advertising and pricing. Still, I'm thinking of trying it, just to see how it goes. (I'm thinking, not so well, as I simply don't see the sales making it worth the effort, but I've been wrong before.)

    Online Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: How do single stories and novellas sell compared to novels?
    « Reply #14 on: July 03, 2020, 06:36:38 am »
    SFWA considers 40K a novel. Most of us call it a short novel. Fantasy requires lots more words, in my experience, and some folks still go by the trad pub thing about needing at least 60K or more for general genre fiction.

    Forty-three pages is at best a novella. It doesn't help anyone to mis-label what readers are getting. Shorter doesn't sell well, though you can still make some money in erotica at 8K to 10K words, if you can publish at least once a week, on-niche.

    I know a lot of people are saying to publish in series, but if I was going to do that I'd just write a novel and be done with it. Seems like the whole process would be simpler, including advertising and pricing. Still, I'm thinking of trying it, just to see how it goes. (I'm thinking, not so well, as I simply don't see the sales making it worth the effort, but I've been wrong before.)
    They mean novels in a series.

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    Offline DmGuay

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    Re: How do single stories and novellas sell compared to novels?
    « Reply #15 on: July 03, 2020, 06:52:43 am »
    Just a thought. I'd switch off the Bookbub ads and fire up some Amazon ads instead.

    At least in my experience, Bookbub is a distant third behind Amazon and facebook ads on the list of most effective sites. They tend to serve well for the first week or two, then taper off.

    If your book is short, make sure readers know. AND see if it qualifies for any of the short read Amazon categories.
     
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    Offline BillSmithBooksDotCom

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    Re: How do single stories and novellas sell compared to novels?
    « Reply #16 on: July 03, 2020, 06:59:54 am »
    Jonathan Moeller just did a podcast on this -- his short novels for the Malisan series were not selling well. But he bundled the three short novels into a 99 cent compendium, went wide, got a Bookbub and did some other significant promo and hit #1 in his category. Worth a listen:

    https://www.jonathanmoeller.com/writer/?p=12781

    It is hard to be competitive price wise for a standalone novella or short story ... but if packaged and marketed well, collections appear like they can be viable. Also, the Malison series "onboards" readers for his very large library of other fantasy books, so yes, he makes some money on the collection, but also funnels readers into his more profitable series.
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    Offline ShayneRutherford

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    Re: How do single stories and novellas sell compared to novels?
    « Reply #17 on: July 03, 2020, 05:08:08 pm »

    Forty-three pages is at best a novella. It doesn't help anyone to mis-label what readers are getting.


    Forty-three pages is a novelette if youre lucky, but more likely its a long short story.
             

    Online Patty Jansen

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    Re: How do single stories and novellas sell compared to novels?
    « Reply #18 on: July 03, 2020, 05:34:45 pm »
    They can sell OK, but you need to put some thought into it.

    If they're in series with the same characters or the same location, but each tells an individual story, they can do quite well.

    They need to be 20k word limit minimum. This works out as about 80-100 pages, minimum.

    Brand them as series, put them wide. They're not going to burn up the page reads charts anyway. Ask $2.99 for them and run specials. Put them in audio. They only take 2-3 hours. Put the audio wide.

    I have a series of four novellas, soon to be five. I did the stats for them last week and was astonished how many they'd sold for the amount of time I'd put into them, seeing as all of them were old short stories I wrote when I was submitting short stories to magazines. I repurposed the theme and plot and inserted the same characters to turn them into a series.

    As others say, novels sell better, but when you have a bunch of shorter works, it pays to streamline them into a series.

    Offline Rose Andrews

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    Re: How do single stories and novellas sell compared to novels?
    « Reply #19 on: July 04, 2020, 01:47:23 pm »
    Not worth the effort imo. Longer works are better appreciated.

    Offline Lorri Moulton [Lavender Lass Books]

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    Re: How do single stories and novellas sell compared to novels?
    « Reply #20 on: July 04, 2020, 09:10:36 pm »
    My two fairytale novelettes are selling pretty well, but I have them on sale for 99c each.

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    Offline isaacsweeney

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    Re: How do single stories and novellas sell compared to novels?
    « Reply #21 on: July 04, 2020, 09:45:37 pm »
    They can sell OK, but you need to put some thought into it.

    If they're in series with the same characters or the same location, but each tells an individual story, they can do quite well.

    They need to be 20k word limit minimum. This works out as about 80-100 pages, minimum.

    Brand them as series, put them wide. They're not going to burn up the page reads charts anyway. Ask $2.99 for them and run specials. Put them in audio. They only take 2-3 hours. Put the audio wide.

    I have a series of four novellas, soon to be five. I did the stats for them last week and was astonished how many they'd sold for the amount of time I'd put into them, seeing as all of them were old short stories I wrote when I was submitting short stories to magazines. I repurposed the theme and plot and inserted the same characters to turn them into a series.

    As others say, novels sell better, but when you have a bunch of shorter works, it pays to streamline them into a series.

    Yup.

    Offline unkownwriter

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    Re: How do single stories and novellas sell compared to novels?
    « Reply #22 on: July 05, 2020, 07:05:42 am »
    They mean novels in a series.

    Oh, no. I'm seeing advice all over the place to write short stories, in series, and it will sell great. There will be some mention of someone making a killing doing this (usually T S Paul {I think that's the one} if any name is given). According to some, Romance is huge for the shorts now.

    I'm not sure where any of this is coming from. What I see is that people might make a little bit of sales, but that it tends to sputter out quickly, while longer works (and yes, series) are doing much better. I'm still not seeing readers getting all excited over shorts, series, serials, or stand alone.

    This seems to go along with all the people expecting to make a killing with children's picture books, and poetry.

    Offline PillowTalkBooks

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    Re: How do single stories and novellas sell compared to novels?
    « Reply #23 on: July 05, 2020, 08:16:06 am »
    My novella has been out for four weeks and is not selling so far.  I do have a mailing list and am running an ad on Bookbub.  Also posting on facebook and twitter.  Thx.

    I think any novella can make it far if it is targetted well. Have you tried listing your novella on PillowTalkBooks (https://www.pillowtalkbooks.com/)? It is a good way to market and monetize your story. 

    Online Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: How do single stories and novellas sell compared to novels?
    « Reply #24 on: July 05, 2020, 12:45:58 pm »
    Oh, no. I'm seeing advice all over the place to write short stories, in series, and it will sell great. There will be some mention of someone making a killing doing this (usually T S Paul {I think that's the one} if any name is given). According to some, Romance is huge for the shorts now.

    I'm not sure where any of this is coming from. What I see is that people might make a little bit of sales, but that it tends to sputter out quickly, while longer works (and yes, series) are doing much better. I'm still not seeing readers getting all excited over shorts, series, serials, or stand alone.

    This seems to go along with all the people expecting to make a killing with children's picture books, and poetry.
    I would spend a lot of time actually looking at the rankings for the short books you believe are selling. While a lot of people throw names about, when you actually look, the rankings don't always add up to the claims.

    Amanda M. Lee

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