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Single Short Story Or A Collection?

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Chessie, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    Hi friends, so I have decided to go the self-publishing route (e-book). I have some short stories I'd like to share with the world while I work on my novel. But I'm unsure of how to do this. I wonder, would it work best to sell the stories as singles and price them at $0.99, or compile 3-4 together and have them at $2.99-3.99?

    They're fantasy with a dark twist and a bit weird, so my audience is up in the air. They do have a common theme so it could work either way. I would like readers to get a bang for their buck, but still have it be fair to the work I've put in. I know more than just pricing matters but I am open to suggestions. Also, if anyone has experience publishing short fiction please feel free to share.

    Thank you! :)
  2. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

    I'm of the opinion (and this is just my opinion), but unless I know a writer pretty well and I really, really like his or her writing, I'm unlikely to buy one short story. A collection? Yes. That's just me though. I won't go into a price points since I don't take that into account too much.
  3. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Auror

    I'll give my opinion based upon my experience, which isn't very extensive in this arena.

    I wrote and sold about a dozen short stories to various markets, mostly semi-pro magazines, ezines and anthologies, earning varying amounts of cash, from $5.00 to $25.00 to 1/2 cent a word, and a couple were republished, earning a bit more, and a couple went to non-paying markets.

    Then, when the rights reverted to me, my publisher put them together in a collection. It does not sell very well online, but at book signings (print) it does very well, sometimes outselling my other novels.

    Even with well-established authors, their short story collections don't sell well--at least not as well as their novels.

    I can't speak to short stories individually as ebooks, as I've not tried that. I will say, that for me to consider paying even 99 cents for a short story, I'd want it to be a longer one, definitely more than 5000 words.

    The advantage of bundling them would mean less work/effort/cost in obtaining a quality cover as I believe that impacts attention garnered, leading to potential readers.
    Philip Overby and Svrtnsse like this.
  4. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

    TWErvin makes some good points. The cover art one especially. I think if you're trying to sell multiple short stories at 99 cents a pop, you're going to have to find decent cover art for each one or people are just going to skim over it. I have also heard that short story collections are a hard sell, but I'd imagine they'd do better than single stories. That's just my guess.
  5. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    The cover art is a good point, thank you for mentioning it. I'm lucky. I have an artist friend who is willing to work on my covers in exchange for private yoga classes and some herbal oils I'm making her. Her art is just what I'm looking for so I'm covered in that area, pun intended. :)

    Maybe I could do an experiment and have one offered as a single and put others into a collection. See how that goes...
  6. buyjupiter

    buyjupiter Maester

    From a reader's perspective: I love short stories. However, I've passed up even $.99 short stories because I feel like that's not enough of a story for that kind of money (and since I have to scrimp pennies these days, I have to be especially choosy in my ebook purchases). I will (and have) purchased novellas at that price point.

    At $3 and $4, I would probably pass up a collection of short stories, especially if there are only three or four in the collection. I would buy a short story collection at that price point if it contained close to ten stories.

    The only other reason I'd be able to justify buying at that price for that quantity is if the page count suggested that the stories are lengthy enough to get lost in for a while.

    All this to say, if the stories are variations on a theme would a fix-up novella work at all? Without knowing the world or stories you have in mind, is it possible to have the different stories just be different perspectives to the same issue in a larger story?
  7. C Hollis

    C Hollis Troubadour

    For myself, I won't pay money for a single short (not even from a major author). If it is an author I like, I will pay for a collection, if the collection is of novel size (65,000 + words).

    I release my shorts as freebies. I strongly believe the exposure is worth future $$, so I don't have a problem giving them away. Eventually when I have released enough to fill a novel sized collection, I will probably put them together and sell the collection for 99 cents. Assuming they all have a common link, which they do so far.
  8. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    Yes! This is exactly what I was thinking! After much consideration and some research, I've decided not to charge for them. I'm working on a novella based in the world I've created for my novel, so I'm thinking of making it a free download for a bit then charging $0.99 afterwards. I love short stories and I'll read them, but mostly if they're free as well. Thank you everyone for your comments and suggestions, its been very helpful.

    C Hollis, I agree that the exposure is worth the free of charge. I rather have my stories out there anyway. Making money would be great, but I write because I love it and its not like I'm starving. ;)
  9. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

    Both. There's no reason not to. This gives readers the greatest freedom of choice to decide how they want to purchase your stories.
  10. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    The new Mythic Scribes article has brought an interesting perspective on this for me. Its good to see things from a different angle.

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