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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I serialize everything. Like most people who put out short stories (around 10k each) at $2.99, my biggest complaint is that the stories aren't long enough. I've been thinking about taking the plunge and writing a longer story, but my biggest concern is that I would see the same sales volume from a book that I would from a short story.

My question is this, for those who sell both novels and short stories in the same genre, which do you see more sales from, the short stories or the novels? Just curious if it would be worth my effort to put my time in a longer work.
 

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Definitely more sales from my novel length. About 5 to 1.

And genre has a lot to do with it. I write women's fiction targeted toward mostly women my own age. I've found they like the long stuff. Some readers of other genres prefer short stuff. And I do believe with the ease of taking e-readers around everywhere that shorter titles are becoming more popular. Now you can read a short story while you wait to be seen by the doctor, or are in line at the school carpool lane, or sitting in the stands while your kids play sports, etc... But for me, longer works sell better.

 

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I have 2 novellas, a short story, and 4 novels.  They shorter stories don't even compare to the novels, sales-wise
 

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My full-length novels way outsell my shorts and collections (except for immediately after I ended a KDP free promo on my short story collection, in which time it was very high on the popularity rnakings so I had a ton of exposure that way).

I know speaking for myself that I rarely, if ever, buy a stand-alone short story (kinda funny, since I have one for sale) or even a serialized novel. I might buy a collection of short stories or a novella, but a novel is always first choice. By far.
 

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I am so very much hoping that my novel sells better than my shorts. I have published many shorts, and they seem to get some acceptable ratings and reviews, but they don't sell as much as I'll need to buy my own emu ranch.

I think novels are the way to go, but I'll know better in a few weeks.
 

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Novels. I'm writing a novel next. Uh, now, I mean. If my ghost stories had been novels instead of novellas, I'd be on a yacht now. OK, not really, but a lot more people than I expected mentioned length. (I used to commute on a train & I would have killed for more novellas in the world! But apparently it's just me. :-\)

I sell 12-15K for .99. Paranormal mystery.
 

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For your genre, consider finding a happy middle. 30-40,000 is a decent, short novel range.
 

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I'd suggest reading some of Bella Andre's stuff. Her word economy is fabulous, and while many of her works are shorter than you would think - they don't feel short. They feel just as any good story should - complete.
 

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I've only released one novella as part of this series and sales for that haven't been quite as good as the rest of the books in the series, but it is a holiday themed book. That probably has something to do with it.
 

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Here's my experience...
To date I have two medium sized novels in a series (70k words each) released in October & December, and one novella in the same setting (24k words) released in January. I find the sales on the novels well outstrip the novella by 3x or 4x to one, and with the next novel in the series due out in a few days time expect it will do the same and trounce the shorter work.
To be honest, I tried the novella as an experiment and to use as a low cost introduction to my writing, so am not too concerned at its performance - any sale/download is a good one as far as I'm concerned! And it helped me to learn that my preference is on the medium to large length works, which seems to fit in with my genre (SF).

 

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This is better assessed by calculating the length of time it takes to write the shorter works with the amount of sales you've had. I think about this all the time. I've yet to put out a novel - all of my titles are under 25k words. Now, in the last 3 months I've released 9 books (a couple were pre-first drafted, but most I wrote from scratch in 3 months). I've had hundreds of sales, many of which were at the $2.99 price point. So the question really is, would you or I have sold this many books had we taken the same amount of time to write novels as opposed to shorter works? I know, from past experience, that it would have taken me at least 3 months to get a 60-70k novel completed and ready for publication, and that would have been just one title, absent the advantage of frequent releasing to keep my name on the Hot New Release list.

I've seen my books in the charts among full length novels, priced higher or the same, and many of them are ranking lower than some of my shorter works. So, for me, I'm extremely glad I launched this pen name with shorter works. I will be adding novels in the near future, however, because I still believe they are the most preferred book length, and because, well, I prefer them myself  :)
 

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Lady Vine said:
This is better assessed by calculating the length of time it takes to write the shorter works with the amount of sales you've had. I think about this all the time. I've yet to put out a novel - all of my titles are under 25k words. Now, in the last 3 months I've released 9 books (a couple were pre-first drafted, but most I wrote from scratch in 3 months). I've had hundreds of sales, many of which were at the $2.99 price point. So the question really is, would you or I have sold this many books had we taken the same amount of time to write novels as opposed to shorter works? I know, from past experience, that it would have taken me at least 3 months to get a 60-70k novel completed and ready for publication, and that would have been just one title, absent the advantage of frequent releasing to keep my name on the Hot New Release list.

I've seen my books in the charts among full length novels, priced higher or the same, and many of them are ranking lower than some of my shorter works. So, for me, I'm extremely glad I launched this pen name with shorter works. I will be adding novels in the near future, however, because I still believe they are the most preferred book length, and because, well, I prefer them myself :)
Ugh.. I should be revising... oh well.

Bear in mind that this is a very short-term view of publishing. I'm not saying it's incorrect, especially if you're putting food on the table, but wanted to point that out. It's similar to the discussion of "do I go to college and THEN get a job, or just get a job straight out of high school?" (obvious differences, but I hope there's a similar point).

It seems that most agree that a full novel will, on average, sell better than a shorter work. The question, to me at least, is exactly how much better it will sell.
 

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KellyHarper said:
Ugh.. I should be revising... oh well.

Bear in mind that this is a very short-term view of publishing. I'm not saying it's incorrect, especially if you're putting food on the table, but wanted to point that out. It's similar to the discussion of "do I go to college and THEN get a job, or just get a job straight out of high school?" (obvious differences, but I hope there's a similar point).

It seems that most agree that a full novel will, on average, sell better than a shorter work. The question, to me at least, is exactly how much better it will sell.
I agree and disagree. While I agree that it would be very difficult to make your career from shorter works alone, I do believe it is a great way to launch a new pen name. As I said, I did this to launch mine, which I hope will allow my readers to sample my writing at lower prices and will encourage them to come back for more when I release my longer works.

You didn't specify the length of time, so I gave you some info based on the here and now.

(And just for the record, seeing as almost anyone can go to college/university and get a degree, that long term argument really isn't as valid as it once was. Experience has always been the key, imo, and if a degree (read: novel) is later required, one can always get (write) one down the line, once they're already established.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
KellyHarper said:
It seems that most agree that a full novel will, on average, sell better than a shorter work. The question, to me at least, is exactly how much better it will sell.
This is my concern as well. It takes me 2-3 days to write, edit, do cover design, and publish a short story. Some take off, some don't. My main goal isn't money though (well, in a sense I suppose it is), though I make far more money from writing shorts than I ever have working for someone else. I want to see my novel break the top 1,000 best sellers on Amazon (not very ambitious, but you've got to start somewhere). The highest one of my shorts has ever gotten was in the top 14,000. I guess we shall both see how the sales swing soon though, since we're both publishing our first novels. So excited. ;D
 

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I only have one short story, and it's based on the same characters of my best-selling romance, but it's only sold 1 copy to 9 of the novel. My guess is if I'd kept count of free downloads (it's free on my website), it would be in Kay's 1 to 5 range. However, that isn't all to it. The novel sells at $2.99 and brings me $2 per sale. The short story at $.99 brings $.35. The novel has made a change in my life for the better. The short story earns coffee money.

The short story also earns a lot of aggravation because of the "too short" reviews. Since those are all 3 to 5 stars, maybe that's a good too short, but it aggravates me anyway. I'm not doing any more short stories to put up individually but keeping them until I have enough to put out as a collection for at least $2.99.
 

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MarlaB said:
This is my concern as well. It takes me 2-3 days to write, edit, do cover design, and publish a short story. Some take off, some don't. My main goal isn't money though (well, in a sense I suppose it is), though I make far more money from writing shorts than I ever have working for someone else. I want to see my novel break the top 1,000 best sellers on Amazon (not very ambitious, but you've got to start somewhere). The highest one of my shorts has ever gotten was in the top 14,000. I guess we shall both see how the sales swing soon though, since we're both publishing our first novels. So excited. ;D
My novelette "The Professor" very nearly broke into triple digits on 12/27, through most of December it hung out in the quadruple digits which was quite lovely - if I can even mirror the same thing with the next novel I'd be a very happy camper :).

Best of luck to us both!
 

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Good thread. i have been wondering about many issues that have been brought up here.  I put out my first novella in November. Sales are much slower than my novel and it has been more difficult finding promotion opportunities (many sites seem to focus on full-length works). I also have noticed that reviews have been much poorer than my novel, although i think the novella is the better written book. The reviews have focused on wanting to see "more" and the book feeling rushed. If I could do it again, I would have done a longer novel rather than a novella series.  As it is, I am eager to release the second novella so i can bundle them, but I have two wip ahead of it that must be completed first.
 
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