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message 1: by Zach (new)

Zach Tyo (ztyo) | 53 comments I've been struggling as a new author in getting something I'm truly proud of down as a full-length novel/novella.

Recently I've decided to push the reset button and go back to my roots in short stories/flash fiction as its always been my "wheel house". I've just been submitting a few here and there to different publications/contests as well as to Wyrd Worlds II and I'm shopping around for other anthologies that may be interested.

I've followed a few authors blogs and have noticed a theme in a few of them, this being the minority, they actually publish their short stories/flash fiction. Only one out of the five I've seen actually costs $0.99, the others are free.

It got me wondering if going that route for free samples is a good idea or not. On paper it seems like another route to garner visibility, but on the other hand it seems as though you go through the task of buying/creating a cover and advertising it through your own channels making it no different than posting them to your blog.

I have two stories that I've saved for myself that I feel are publication worthy (I was actually saving them to be later put into a collection, but if they could help me now I would be more than willing to use them.)

Just curious for ideas from anyone on the subject.



message 2: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1194 comments You can publish single short stories (at no less than 99cents) and then bundle them into anthologies. I do that with my shorter works.
Check Dean Wesley Smith for more on publishing short stories (and everything else indie related)!
Like we're discussing in another thread, I'll leave the old free stories free, but the new ones will always have a price tag. And if they're too short (I price based on wordcount), I'll put two together so I can ask 2.99$ and earn more (sort of like the Ace Doubles of pulp publishers of last century)...

message 3: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Marlow (jamarlow) | 7 comments I sell short stories anywhere from .99 to 2.99 depending on length. They sell slow, but they do sell. At the moment I do not have any for free.

My word count cutoff (and this is a personal decision. Everyone will be different) is 3000 words. Above that and I release it as a stand-alone. Below that and I save it for a collection.

BTW, I've found that collections sell better than single short stories, but I keep both out there as both have the chance of catching the attention of browsing eyeballs.

Hope this helps a little. :)

message 4: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 1405 comments If you want to be giving everything away for free, by all means do so, but personally I'd just have one free and charge for the others. Either sell them individually with low price tags, or put them in collections and charge a bit more. Alternatively, sell them at $0.99 each, then do a collection and charge an amount that means people save some on the price they would have paid for them individually (for example, $0.99 each, or a collection of five stories for $2.99). It's a matter of personal preference though.

message 5: by Zach (new)

Zach Tyo (ztyo) | 53 comments I was actually just reading the website Barbara recommended and his post on short fiction. I think as a new, and unpublished, author I fall victim to devaluing myself. That's not to say I don't value my work, just breaking away from an analytical mindset of quantity=cost to quality=cost.

I'm going to give it a go, I think if nothing else it will be a great way to get a feel for the smashwords/amazon process.

thanks, everyone, for the input. And if anyone else has any views on this please keep them coming.

message 6: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) I've just released two short stories for free. But they're part of my market plan. They're set in the same universe as a novella I published on amazon and in which I plan to set more longer stories. They also serve to fill out my author's catalog, which I think is important. The more stories you have in your catalog, the higher the chances are that people will find your work.

So, my plan is to release short stories in that universe for free and then charge a small amount for novelettes and/or save the novelettes for publication in collections that I will charge for.

So, these two short stories will remain free, but they'll also be included in a compilation that will include two novelettes which are not going to be published individually.

We'll see how that goes.

My general pricing scheme is:

Short story: Free
Novelette: $0.99
Collection or Novella: $2.99
Novel: $3.99

message 7: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments J.A. wrote: "I sell short stories anywhere from .99 to 2.99 depending on length. They sell slow, but they do sell. At the moment I do not have any for free.

My word count cutoff (and this is a personal decisio..."

I am glad you mentioned this. I have a collection and over all it is 12k/5 stories. Priced at 99c, mostly because they are also available elsewhere, although they've been expanded and revised for the anthology. I have just finished what I consider a short story - just shy of 7k words so I may release that as a standalone at 99c. I'd happily pay that - so long as I did know it was short. I think the collections work well.

message 8: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 814 comments I'm not sure what a good strategy is. I've published a couple of free sci-fi short stories through Smashwords, plus another three since; one in Wyrd Worlds, the other two as pdfs on my website only. (Some of these are also packaged as a short anthology on Amazon, which is the only book I have signed up to KDP Select.) All are set in the same 'universe' as my novels. It's hard to judge if they're drawing readers to the longer works.

The Wyrd Worlds anthology has been well-received, with something like 2,500 downloads since September last year. However, again it's hard to say whether this is encouraging many readers to seek out other books by contributors. Personally, I did buy novels from a couple of Wyrd World authors I really liked, but as a reader I often shy away from freebies. In other words, I haven't a clue how the ebook market works!

message 9: by Stan (new)

Stan Morris (morriss003) I post my short stories at various sites like and among others. I even post some at Goodreads.

I collected most and published them as a 90K anthology book, but I also deleted those in the anthology from the sites. I charged 99 cents for the anthology, although I made it free for the Smashwords Summer Sale.

message 10: by L.L. (new)

L.L. Watkin (LLWatkin) | 62 comments I've published twelve shorts on Smashwords, for free at first. I don't like to have more than three up for free at any time, so I've been moving the old ones up to $0.99 when I publish new material. I was expecting the price tag to completely kill them, but surprisingly not. They don't sell much, but they do sell a bit.
In terms of collections, I've got one collection out which is 55k (16 stories) and a second the same size on the way. The collection doesn't seem to get any attention, maybe because it was never up for free.

message 11: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Lawston (andrewlawston) | 35 comments My first self-published book was my short story collection, Something Nice. I put that up for $0.99 as it was only about 23,000 words long.

I went in pretty blind with that first collection. Now I have another 19,000 words of short stories (including a whopper at 8,500 words) and I know I should be a bit cannier with releasing them, but can't quite decide on a strategy.

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