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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking for some information about selling short stories vs. eBook. Hoping folks on here would like to share.
I’m curious on the sales numbers. Who has had success selling a short? Do you move more shorts than books? How would tackle the marketing for a short vs. your book?

Thanks,
Leo
 

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A bit confused as to what you mean by short story vs ebook since a shorty story sold on kindle is an ebook.  If you mean short vs. novel or any other length story well you'll get a million and one diff. answers.  I think shorts are useful when introducing characters or stories and fit well within the .99 and 1.99 price point.  Short stories that stand alone work well too, but I think you lose an opportunity there to bring a reader in and continue with a novel at the 4.99-9.99 price point.  Just my .02
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Let me try this all over again.

I have a few questions for the authors who have sold both short stories and longer works – in eBook format.

Which one was more successful? Do you market the short stories like you with the longer works?

I have another collection of short stories I’m working on. I was wondering if it would be better to release each one as an individual work – or – release them all as a collection.

Thanks,
Leo
 

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ironspike said:
Let me try this all over again.

I have a few questions for the authors who have sold both short stories and longer works - in eBook format.

Which one was more successful? Do you market the short stories like you with the longer works?

I have another collection of short stories I'm working on. I was wondering if it would be better to release each one as an individual work - or - release them all as a collection.

Thanks,
Leo
There is a market for short stories sold singly. You can get away with charging $0.99-$2.99 per short story, depending on length. If you wanted to sell a collection or bundle (like 2 shorts), that's sellable, too. Short stories do pretty well because people like a quick read on their ereaders.
 

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My shorts make me as much or more than my longer works, but I write erotica and erotic romance. I have, however, seen other authors outside erotica and romance do well with shorts. And Wool, I believe, was released as serial shorts, so that is a perfect example outside erotica and romance. Some genres are better suited for shorts. IMO these would be romance, erotica, SF (check out Lightspeed magazine), fantasy (e.g. Leguin did a lot of shorts/novelletes/novellas as I recall), and horror.

With novel-sized work, you're creating against that old adage of don't put all your eggs (words) in one basket (novel). You spend months to years working on a novel. You spend at most a couple weeks working on a short, if not just a couple of days. Devoting time to shorts, you learn to write more concisely. This will benefit your novels (which you can work on alongside the shorter releases). When you do come out with a novel, all your shorts have worked at building an audience for you. Because you have a steady stream of new releases, you will more readily discover what kind of stories readers want to see from you and receive other helpful feedback.

Most importantly, from a sales perspective, you also significantly enhance your discoverability. In a year, even with a regular job, you can put out 30+ shorts and collections.

If you are interested in serial shorts, I would suggest you check out http://thesecretstorylair.blogspot.com/

Best of luck!
 

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I'm just going to start with: you're such a good sport updating and updating and updating your post :)

First, I'm curious what your definition of "success" is -- I sold about 2100 of my short last year. To me (someone not actively out there promoting OR having other works on the market right now) this was a huge success. It paid for itself and paid for the cover, formatting and editing for my new release, plus some.

To you, it might feel like a failure.

It's good to know how people are defining that.

Are these shorts something that make sense as a bundle? If so, why not do both? Price accordingly and let people pick. Just mark the bundle very clearly with its contents.
 

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Depends on your strategy.
I consider the cost to write a short story as my marketing budget to get on the Amazon also-bought ribbons and free days.
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Sell them alone
Put them in groups
Bundle them with novels
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I wrote two shorts in December that tie into my trilogy (the series comment noted earlier in the thread applies). I added a 'double' product with both of the stories in one package. So I have fifteen free days on Amazon to promote them. The books have advertising for my trilogy in the back - readers will see that faster than reading a novel. I also used the two stories in my novel package as 'bonus short stories' (the big box in my sig). So my vampire 'Aravant' in my sig is working for me in four products outside of the trilogy he was born in (his single story expanded my readership 30% over the best book in the base trilogy, sales and freebies). He's an effective vampire and works hard. I need to put him on some more adventures this month.
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm new at all of this. I have a lot of longer type work in the pipe. However, as someone said earlier - I work on shorts in the meantime. I never thought about the viability of publishing shorts individually to build an audience. I thought (for some reason) that I needed a longer piece of work to publish.

Thanks everyone for the information!
 

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Much depends on genre and what type of length you're talking about.  Anything under 40,000 words is considered a short story as an umbrella term.  My super short 5k scifi stories sell here and there in random non-US countries.  My historical romance novelettes do much better on Amazon US and B&N.

Just depends on what you're feelin' like.
 

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Victoria Champion said:
Still not there yet...

The only differentiating factor is word count. Therefore:

short story
novelette
novella
novel

All are 'books' and 'ebooks'. All can be printed into a paper book using a POD like Createspace.
Victoria (OP, sorry if I am a bit off topic), I am not sure the really short shorts can be printed into a paper book. Createspace requires a minimum of 24 pages--and assuming around 6 pages for front and back matter, that's still 18 pages and around 4,500 words--am I right? Or has anyone done a Createspace book with fewer words?

Added: And, as I was on that subject and at CS anyway, that costs $5.50 retail for a 24-page book if you want a royalty of a bit over a dollar (which I would). Do people pay that much for a 24-page paperback book?
 

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The best thing to do with short stories usually depends on genre. Most of my short stories are erotica and erotic romance, so they sell fine by themselves. My highest selling book is only about 7500 words, and it's actually not erotica. I have somehow managed to sell 80 or so copies a month at $2.99 since I released it a few months ago. Normally, I would recommend bundling super short works that aren't adult-themed, but that one does well. All you can really do is experiment and find out what works for you.
 

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I have a collection of fantasy/horror shorts out - doesn't sell that well, but the stories are all reprints so have already earned their keep and I don't actively promote them. I thought of doing individual shorts but some of mine are very short - at 1500 words or so - and it didn't seem viable to charge even the minimum amazon price for that. So I'm waiting until I have at least 10,000 words before I put out another collection.
 

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Richardcrasta said:
Victoria (OP, sorry if I am a bit off topic), I am not sure the really short shorts can be printed into a paper book. Createspace requires a minimum of 24 pages--and assuming around 6 pages for front and back matter, that's still 18 pages and around 4,500 words--am I right? Or has anyone done a Createspace book with fewer words?

Added: And, as I was on that subject and at CS anyway, that costs $5.50 retail for a 24-page book if you want a royalty of a bit over a dollar (which I would). Do people pay that much for a 24-page paperback book?
Actually DWS publishes his shorts as paper and he says they sell really well. Check this post out: http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=7622

And to the OP as well, here's another relevant thread: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,117867
 
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