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Writing Process & Programs > Releasing a Series of Short Stories with Alternate Endings

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message 1: by Eliza (new)

Eliza Loveless (elizaloveless) | 29 comments Hello. I'm planing on working on a series of short stories very soon, which I'm very happy about considering shorts are my preferred medium to write when it comes to erotica (which is the genre I write). I know how I want the story to start, and I know how I want it to end.... the problem is, I have two endings that I love equally and can't choose between.
Each ending will probably be long enough for their own release. I could release the endings separately, lable it clearly enough to people know which ending they're buying. Or I could bundle them up and release them together.
For either option, I would charge $2.99 per release.
I'm not sure if this is something that has been done before. I haven't been able to find examples of how to go about this, and I want to go about this as fairly as possible.

Does anyone have any opinions or information to share on this matter?

message 2: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Personally, I would never pay 2.99 for a short story, let alone half a one. Now, if I were to buy a short story with two or three alternate endings attached in one volume, yes. I could see paying .99 for that.

message 3: by Genevieve (new)

Genevieve Montcombroux | 66 comments Personally, the max I'd pay for a complete (upward of 15,000 words) short story $1.99. I also dislike books with alternate endings. It was a bit of a fad years ago and some books were published with two endings. It didn't catch. Readers of course would read both endings, and when surveyed, readers' preference went to only one ending. They also reported that it broke the flow of the story when the came to the page asking them to go either to next page or page XX.

message 4: by Jane (new)

Jane Blythe | 112 comments If you're thinking of doing two endings you could always publish the one that feels stronger/better/more fitting to your story then give away the alternate ending as a freebie to your newsletter subscribers. I wrote an alternate ending to my complete series and its part of a free book (which also includes my flash fiction and a couple of other exclusives) that all my subscribers get

message 5: by Eliza (new)

Eliza Loveless (elizaloveless) | 29 comments I'm don't agree that $2.99 is too high for a short erotica. I've downloaded .99 cent stinkers before, and would rather pay more, even for shorts... especially ones where there sex involved. I'll continue to think one this. I do like your suggesting, Jane.
I do plan bundling the books at the end for a deal.

message 6: by Jay (new)

Jay Greenstein (jaygreenstein) | 249 comments Alternate endings? You're the storyteller. If you don't know how it ends who does? Your reader comes to you for an entertaining story with a satisfying ending. Only the author worries about how it ends. So:

1. Serve poetic justice and reward your protagonist for being steadfast in the face of all the crap you put him/her through.
2. Have a climax that gets the reader on their feet cheering when it concludes.
3. Make the reader finish the last line and lean back to say, "I liked that."

Do that and you're fine. The reader doesn't care how it ends so long as it's satisfying and fits the story. They're not analyzing the plot, they're enjoying the act of reading, page-by-page. Satisfy that need and you can save the alternate ending for another story.

message 7: by Felix (new)

Felix Schrodinger | 138 comments Authors for Mills and Boon have made fortunes over the years based on this format where a female has to choose between two quite different potential mates - the steady one and the flashy one. However, in their case they don't give you both endings in the one book. The alternative ending is recycled in another story by changing the names and some of the details. You could try this?

message 8: by Genevieve (last edited May 13, 2018 08:09AM) (new)

Genevieve Montcombroux | 66 comments Typical romance trope having the heroine choose between two heroes of opposite character. It is not an alternative ending as the OP wrote. M & B published a new story using the not-chosen hero in his own romance with a new love-interest that he realizes was the only real one. Sometimes it belongs to a series (three books usually) where you find characters from the first and then second books.

Mills and Boon (purchased by Harlequin n 1971) made a fortune on single title romance novels with the classic formula boy meets girl, boy/girl looses girl/boy, conflict resolved, HEA (happy ever after) ending. Authors began writing series as romance novels exploded late 1980s early '90s challenging Harlequin monopoly with novels that were not written to the formula.

message 9: by Mat (new)

Mat Blackwell | 33 comments I love the idea of having two endings. As people going through life, we constantly have to make choices that we can never undo, and I love the idea of exploring the consequences of those choices. It could be argued that a compelling novel could be made out of just exploring the different options that result from making choices - the novel starts as a short story, then branches off into all sorts of "possible worlds" scenarios that all stem from the choices made in the initial short story...

message 10: by Jenna (new)

Jenna Thatcher (jenna_thatcher) | 132 comments A Choose Your Own Adventure...I used to love those but get all stressed out about my options. My favorite was the Superman one.
I think alternate endings would stress me out though, so that actually would talk me out of buying a book.

message 11: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1126 comments I'm late on this one too. Probably already decided!

Alternate endings sound more like a workshop idea. Or if you have a following on social media it could be fun to say which do you like? And let them choose.

Other than that, it could work. For me as a reader though I'd better be warned ahead of time: Reader beware: this has alternate endings!

message 12: by David (new)

David Dennington | 46 comments Sounds like fun for a book of short stories.

message 13: by David (new)

David Dennington | 46 comments J Fowles used to pop in and out of one of at least one of his books as the author. He'd say stuff like, 'I'd thought about doing this, but decided I'd do this.' It was a bit unnerving and risky I thought at the time, many years ago. But who could argue with John Fowles?

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