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message 1: by Zach (new)

Zach Tyo (ztyo) | 53 comments Hi,

I wasn't totally sure where to post this. On one hand it's a marketing question but on the other it's a writing/publishing question. I'm going to apologize before hand and ask a mod to move it if it's better suited somewhere else.

I'm currently working on a collection of short stories/flash fiction that all follow a central theme, but take place in different time periods. The total word count right now will fall somewhere between 9500 and 12000 words over 8-10 stories.

I was hoping to get some advice whether or not to publish this or not. I've had backers and those that tell me there's no way it will sell.

I, like most people, am less worried about selling 10,000 copies my first indie than I am building a name/brand. But I also don't want to put something out there that's going to be detrimental to my overall writing career.

Any and all advice is more than appreciated,



message 2: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1185 comments I suggest you follow Dean Wesley Smith's advice and just publish it! It will sell, and it won't be detrimental. I mean, if it's not good, it won't sell anyway, if it's good, it will build your name brand.
I price my books according to length, and I don't always follow Dean's advice (he talks about rising ebook prices as the norm, but since I write short novels, I don't feel like asking more than 4.99 for one novel). If you want, I can give you my wordcount/pricing thingy (guess I'm tired, can't find the words).
I don't think anything is detrimental to building your career - I still have my first title up, and it sucks! ;) It's a free read, and probably not the best thing to introduce my writing, but who cares? Your readers will find you if they like what they read...
Hope this helps! :)

message 3: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments I'd agree, if the writing is good and it isn't priced too highly then go for it. I've seen books much shorter than that for sale.

message 4: by Stan (new)

Stan Morris (morriss003) 12,000 words? That is short. Try using it to introduce yourself and your writing by making it a free download.

message 5: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments I've seen shorter.

message 6: by G.G. (last edited Feb 13, 2014 12:26PM) (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) Yes I've seen shorter books but people were also complaining that their story didn't sell.
You have to remember that even at 99cents, if your novel were 100k it would sell for nearly $8.50.
That's costly for a self-published author. I have to agree with Stan. Offer it free to make yourself known maybe.

message 7: by Zach (new)

Zach Tyo (ztyo) | 53 comments I've been toying around with the idea about going with a free edition for it. A reviewer friend of mine, who has been self publishing for years, suggested I offer it for free for the first two weeks and then charge $0.99 thereafter.

His other suggestion was to focus on extending the length to 20,000 so it would at least fall near a novella and the $0.99 would be more justified. So I may go that route as well, depending on how each story reads as I go.

I appreciate all the comments, you have no idea how just a little positive feedback has reignited my passion for this route. I was borderline ready to nix it just over my own self-doubt.

message 8: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments $8.50? Wow I am way underpriced

message 9: by Ross (new)

Ross Harrison (rossharrison) | 350 comments I don't think scaling like that works. You can't really say 'Well, if I scale it up to 100k words, it would be $8.50, therefore 99c is too much'. That doesn't make sense. You're not asking 99c for a fraction of a 100k word book, you're asking 99c for a full story, that just happens to be short.

I'm sorry, but there's something wrong with people who refuse to pay a pitiful 99c for someone's work. How much do you pay for a cup of coffee, that'll last you maybe 10 minutes?

message 10: by Ubiquitous (new)

Ubiquitous Bubba (ubiquitousbubba) | 413 comments I agree with Ross. It's about perceived value. 99c is not much to ask. We download songs for that. We buy cheesy mobile apps for that price. Getting a complete, well written story for 99c is a great value. Buying a collection of short stories for a little more is an even better value. Grabbing a novel for less than the cost of a new CD is even better.

I look at it this way. Songs cost 99c to download. They just do. Whether the song length is 2 minutes or 10 minutes, it costs 99c. Whether the song is great, or is sung by Justin Bieber, it still costs 99c. This amount is the minimum price to sell a song. When I consider buying an album, I can purchase individual songs for 99c, or I can buy the entire album for $9.99 (more or less). The individual songs are not overpriced at 99c. Each one stands on its own as a complete work. The value of the album is based upon the fact that I can buy a collection of songs for less than the cost of downloading each one individually.

Some people prefer to read short stories over novels. Some choose novels over short stories. Sell both. Believe in the value of your own work. If you want to give something away as a part of a marketing strategy, that's great. Just don't buy into the thought that a short story is not worth much because it's short. Sometimes, those are really great stories.

message 11: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments I'd buy a 12k story for 99c (77p)

message 12: by Ross (last edited Feb 14, 2014 09:16AM) (new)

Ross Harrison (rossharrison) | 350 comments I think it would have to be under 5k for me to think 99c or even 99p is too much.


message 13: by Stan (new)

Stan Morris (morriss003) I'm not positive, but I think there was a poll at mobilereads that asked if people would pay for a short story. If I recall correctly, most said they would not. Maybe someone has other data to support and refute this.

message 14: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 807 comments I have a short anthology, three short stories of around 8,000 words each, on Amazon priced $0.99. It doesn't sell brilliantly (it's on there to take advantage of KDP Select). Admittedly, I rarely buy short stories myself so I can't complain.

message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

There is something seriously wrong if a reader refuses to pay 99c for a short story. Never undervalue your work.

message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

An interesting read re. free ebooks:

message 17: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) Pauline wrote: "There is something seriously wrong if a reader refuses to pay 99c for a short story. Never undervalue your work."

Yes Pauline, I may agree with you but the problem is flood. The market is flooded with books so when you can get a great book with over 100k words for the same price you'd pay for a 12k one, most people will opt for the longer version and who could blame them? I'm not saying it's impossible to sell or that it shouldn't be sold, I'm just saying that it will be difficult.

message 18: by Stan (new)

Stan Morris (morriss003) Exactly. It's not about whether a 12,000 word story is worth .99, it's about competition with other manuscripts. When you go to the store and compare milk prices, you are more likely to buy the gallon instead of the quart if they are the same price.

message 19: by Rita (new)

Rita Chapman | 259 comments I think the problem is all the free books out there. So many people never buy. Anything priced at less than a cup of coffee or a magazine is not overpriced! I haven't found that dropping my price has led to any increase in sales. I'd put it on at .99c - you can always reduce it and it shows you think its worthy of buying.

message 20: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1185 comments If it's only ONE book, 99cent is fine. Drop it to free when the second book comes out to spread the word, if you feel so inclined. But if it's just one title, put a price tag on it.

message 21: by [deleted user] (last edited Feb 16, 2014 05:49AM) (new)

I agree with you Rita, I dropped my price to 99pence, have I seen a vast increase in I have to sell more to make the same. Supermarkets sell loss leaders, your first book shouldn't be a loss leader. Would you go into a supermarket and find shelves of free goods? No, maybe buy one get on free or discounted goods.

People are spending less and less on books than ever before. Why buy when there us so much free, or huge discounts. An author should expect something back for all their time an effect and cost of producing a book. For example, if you study hard to get a degree, should you expect your chosen career to pay you a minimum wage or less than a minimum wage. Do you call out a unknown trades person and say to them, I don't know you I want you to do the job for me for free.

There is nothing wrong with being competitive, there is also is no use in saying this is today's market, take it or leave it. We have the power to change readers mindset, it should be in our hands, not Amazon or whoever else it calling the shots. The way I see it, Indie authors will be so disillusioned they will quit. The only winners will be the big publishers who can afford to sell at steep discounts.

If you look at the Smashwords Self- Published bestseller list (December 2013): The majority of the books are priced at $2.99 - $3.99.

message 22: by Stan (new)

Stan Morris (morriss003) Barbara wrote: "If it's only ONE book, 99cent is fine. Drop it to free when the second book comes out to spread the word, if you feel so inclined. But if it's just one title, put a price tag on it."

This is a good idea, but get that second work done as soon as possible.

message 23: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1185 comments What Stan says (adding to my comment above)! :D

message 24: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1400 comments Pick a price you're happy with and go with it. I mean, regardless of the price tag you can't be sure you'll sell loads of books anyway. Some people with really long books that have low price tags don't make many sales, some do. Some people with long but expensive books don't make many sales, but some do. Some people with short books with low price tags don't make many sales, but some do. Some people with short books with high prices don't make many sales, but some do. It varies, because those buying books don't look for the same thing; some look for how long of a story they'll get for the money, some just care about whether it sounds good to them.

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