Why You Should Publish a Short Story In-Between Novels

The winning cover on FB

The winning cover on FB

I was in a quandary. Book #1 in my fantasy series came out last year. Book #2 came out earlier this month and I’m deep in the edits for an adult thriller that I’m hopefully going to launch in January or February. But what do I do in the meantime?

Besides social media and promoting the heck out of the books, I was advised to publish a short story to Amazon. The results would do many things. It would boost the amount of titles I have on Amazon and boost my search statistics. In addition, I could use the short stories to promote the other books by including excerpts and links in the back of the file.

I hadn’t thought of that idea and jumped at the chance to try it out. I had a YA science fiction tale, THE SUN AND THE STAR, that had been published in an anthology that is now out of print and rights had been returned to me. So, that book had already been professionally edited. I simply updated the dates and changed some character names.Then I was going to pay for a professional cover, but I decided to try my hand at making one myself on Amazon’s Cover Creator. I made two and then appealed to Facebook by doing a poll, asking my followers which one they liked better. (thus increasing my activity on FB analytics, as well as engaging my readers). Then, rather than paying someone to format the short story for me, I learned to do it myself, uploaded it myself and priced it at $0.99. Lastly, since this is a YA tale about young love, I included an excerpt from THE WORLD OF KAROV, specifically highlighting a scene about two teenagers in love–and then included the link to buy the book.

This endeavor cost me nothing but time and now I have a great little short story up on Amazon with a very cool cover. Only advice? Make the short story meaty. I’ve heard readers feel short-changed if you give them a flash fiction piece and make them pay for it. I’d recommend a story over 4K at the least. (just my two cents) If you’d like to grab your copy to see how it came out, please see below:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/172kooL
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1bDY9Ff

I’d like to thank Dana Beth Weinberg for the great idea! She’s a social scientist whose newest project is exploring the experiences and careers of writers during this incredible digital revolution. She can be reached at http://www.danabethweinberg.com (don’t think I won’t be hitting her up for more awesome ideas! 😉 )

20 thoughts on “Why You Should Publish a Short Story In-Between Novels

  1. Another plus for the short story: I sometimes want to try a writer but not invest my time in a while novel I might not enjoy, so I choose a short story or novella. This is a 360 turn for me because in the past I never read short stories.

    • I heard this idea, and it just had never occurred to me, but the more I thought about it, if I made it clear that it’s a short story, then folks won’t be disappointed if they buy it.

  2. Any method available that will get your name in the public eye – in a good way – is worth the effort. This is definitely a good way. Yes, a meaty story is preferable. For a while, many of the short stories were not being properly advertised and people were upset when they bought a $.99 story and it was only about 1500 words. Now the authors are stating up front that it is a short story. I would definitely make sure to have at least 4k or more. And make it a solid, well-written story to showcase your talent.

  3. How interesting. I never even thought of this as an option. I love it when authors share their insights and experience to us writing-newbies (smile). Thanks Elyse 🙂

  4. This is a great idea. I found a lot of my audience through short stories. Oddly enough though, when I started releasing them a couple of years ago, people did complain about the length. They were 50 to 60 pages long back then. I release one not too long ago that is only 10 pages and have not heard anyone complain. I think since indie novel prices have gone up the length expectations have gone down for a .99 title.

    • Wow, they complained when they were 50 pages! I’m making it clear that it’s a short story and I’m going to try to make sure none are less than 4K – and if they are, to compile them in an anthology. Glad to hear you got a lot of your audience this way – thank you for sharing.

      • Yes, they complained (and they were clearly marked). But that was when most indie novels were .99. So I guess they figured .99 should by them more than 50 pages. Now that most indie novels are more I guess the price seems fair.

        Also, it broadened my audience. My books were post-apocalyptic and action adventure comedies. I wrote a short story called Dumb White Husbands vs the Grocery Store to reach a different target. They went on to buy my books as well. I never planned to make any money off of them. I used them strictly as a marketing tool.

      • I guess more like a means to an end. I didn’t see them making any money. I wrote them because I thought they would be fun and I knew I could place them in other genres to gain more visibility and different readers. I thought that the person who would never pick up a book called Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors was the exact same person that would pick up Dumb White Husband vs Santa.

        I never promoted them as much as my novels but they took on a life of their own. The Dumb White Husbands story grew into a series of shorts, a novella and finally a novel-Dumb White Husbands vs Zombies. I’m probably “known” more for those short stories than anything else because they were written with a broader appeal for that specific reason.

  5. This post is like a friend telling you you’re on the right track… I will add that not only does it turn out that writing a short story is good strategy, which I learned here, but it’s good writing exercise! Different story muscles. Now I feel refreshed getting back to revising my novel.

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