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Short story author publishing on Kindle... a little help? :)

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Showing 1-25 of 30 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 16, 2011, 11:04:28 AM PDT
E. Davies says:
Hello, everyone!

I'm a Canadian author currently writing short stories. (I've discovered that my novels fizzle out after 100 pages... but I can pack a heck of a punch in 8-16 pages!)

I'm pretty new to the Amazon community, but I decided to jump into the pool of Kindle publishing. Yesterday, my story His Story was published. Now I'm not sure what to do.

Do short stories sell well on the Kindle? I priced it at $0.99, which I thought would be a fair and pretty low price... thoughts?

Does promotion of short stories vary from novels?

Any useful things to point me to? Eg. links, resources, lists of things not to do when you're a newbie author to avoid having people send hordes of flying monkeys after you...?

Should I be giving away short stories, and if so, how? (I assume I get someone's email address and send them a PDF copy... I'll even autograph it, hehe. :D)

Thanks so much... looking forward to getting into this and actually understanding what I'm doing, haha.

Author of "His Story" and assorted other unpublished pieces. ;)

Posted on Mar 16, 2011, 11:24:58 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 16, 2011, 11:26:45 AM PDT
The Blade says:

Of course, this is just my opinion and there will be others with a different POV.

I don't buy individual short stories unless they are by a known author and part of an ongoing series. There are more books and authors to read than I have time for, so I make decisions based on various factors when deciding what to buy and what to leave. IMHO, individual short stories are not a smart economic buy. For that same $0.99 I can buy a full novel or a complete anthology.

I clearly understand that a short story can be of better quality than a novel, but there is no way to really know if that is the case pre-purchase, so I play the odds and economics.

My advice would be to save up your short stories until you have enough for a full sized book of them. Start a web site and/or blog and make one short story available free of charge and then direct potential readers to your full sized work here on Amazon.

Again, just my opinion. Best of luck with your work. :-)

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 16, 2011, 11:25:37 AM PDT
Dragi Raos says:

I suggest that you use other channels for promotional give-aways of your story (your blog, sites dedicated to self-published authors like The Indie Spot etc) - reaction here can sometimes be adverse. Don't send PDF's - either send a book(let) as Amazon gift, or publish it not only on Amazon but also elsewhere (such as SmashWords, where they let publishers give they work away).

Keep another thing in mind: international customers pay $2 (or $2 + 15%) surcharge per title on all e-book purchases from Amazon. So, alternative channel or, eve, better, a reasonably priced collection will be more effective with us foreigners (including your compatriots).

Good luck!

Posted on Mar 16, 2011, 11:26:02 AM PDT
D. Chippett says:
A lot of authors will give away some copies, hoping for reviews in return. You can give away PDF copies, though the reviews won't have "Amazon verified purchase" if you do and many people don't give as much credence to those. Alternately, you can buy copies of your own book and gift them to readers, the amount authors give varies from five to 250. It all helps to get people talking about your book. I'm a Canadian, too, by the way.

Authors will post their email address, sometimes a throw-away set up just for that promotion, and ask readers to send a request there. Many of us don't like to post our personal addresses on the forum.

Posted on Mar 16, 2011, 11:31:54 AM PDT
Hi Zabrina,

As someone in a similar boat as you, I'd say you have to work harder to sell single short stories. But there is a market, and more people will probably read it than if you'd submitted it to a little magazine...

I'm probably not the best person to advise on promotion tips, but for what it's worth:

Start a blog and find others to comment, follow etc. particularly if they're about short stories too (mine is
Participate in the forums here as a reader as well as just a writer...
If you're selling in the UK too don't forget the forums (I'm British myself, so this one is very important...!)
Kindleboards and Goodreads websites might be of interest...

I'm not sure about giving away free copies, I haven't tried. I think as long as you don't ask for good reviews, but honest ones, it can help.

I'll check your story out; good luck!

Feed the Enemy

Posted on Mar 16, 2011, 11:33:20 AM PDT
p.s. oh, and create an author page on Amazon....

Posted on Mar 16, 2011, 11:35:55 AM PDT
Hello, I have two self-published novellas on kindle and a published novel/novella. I like writing novella's and there is an audience for it, but I do think it depends on the genre. I mean book length and genre come in and out of fashion all year around. My novella's have done very well on kindle. One held the top twenty-five spot on gothic romance in the U.K for a good month and my other one climbed into the top 100 for suspense, which is very good for a self-published book. It is hard work, but I love writing novella's as much as I love writing novels. Don't give up. Just keep plugging away. The free book idea is a good idea. I have a free read on smashwords that has had over 3000 downloads and that didn't harm the sales of other books in the slightest. So it is a good thing to have. Good luck with your book!

Under The Midnight Sky

Posted on Mar 16, 2011, 11:36:30 AM PDT
I'm another reader who doesn't buy short stories, unless they are in a collection and I know the author. .99 cents for a 8-16 page story is just not that appealing to me when I can buy full books for a few dollars, or get them for free.

Posted on Mar 16, 2011, 11:45:42 AM PDT
Kindleista2 says:
I'm not a huge fan of short stories but I'd pay 99¢ for The Lottery or for a Salinger short story I like. I doubt I'd ever pay that for a story by someone whose work I don't know. So I agree to keep writing and offer a collection.

Posted on Mar 16, 2011, 11:49:38 AM PDT
E. Davies says:
Oh my gosh, what a fast and helpful response -- thank you, guys!

How do you think would this work?

--I publish eight or ten short stories at $0.99 each, over the next year or so.
--Next year sometime when I've written enough high-quality stories, I compile six or eight of these stories, the ones people like most, into an anthology and add a couple of original new stories. I publish this for... $2.99? Perhaps $4.99? What's a fair price?
--Rinse and repeat. :)

Also... does this pattern of people preferring anthologies apply to every genre? I keep thinking about romance and erotica and wondering if people make their decisions the same way for these genres, or if it's more... impulsive, haha.

Posted on Mar 16, 2011, 11:50:12 AM PDT
The Blade says:
>>>>"Should I be giving away short stories, and if so, how? (I assume I get someone's email address and send them a PDF copy..."<<<<

An additional comment:

Instead of giving away a PDF, I would use Calibre (a free software program) to create epub and Kindle compatible versions. JMO.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 16, 2011, 11:53:55 AM PDT
Most people aren't going to pay 99 cents for a 16 page story. Those who do, won't pay again to get those same stories in a collection.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 16, 2011, 11:53:56 AM PDT
The Blade says:
>>>>"I publish this for... $2.99? Perhaps $4.99? What's a fair price?"<<<<

$4.99 is a bit steep for an unknown independent author. $2.99 is more in-line with what Indies are asking these days, unless they have broken through and developed a following. :-)

Posted on Mar 16, 2011, 12:09:23 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 16, 2011, 12:09:30 PM PDT
E. Davies says:
Good to know, Kindle is totally new to me! :)

Also, I should mention that I'm talking about 8-16 8.5x11 sized pages, do people usually refer to the page count in that format or page count once converted to Kindle format?

Posted on Mar 16, 2011, 12:09:35 PM PDT
Zabrina I agree with the precedent posts, I like short stories but for me foreigner an US 0$99 story is priced 3$44, which is expensive for a few pages.

Another detail : I looked to your presentation of your story and was really surprised you explain all your storyline till its end ?! What for the surprise ?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 16, 2011, 12:17:18 PM PDT
E. Davies says:
Wow, it's good to know that there's an extra fee for foreigners -- that definitely is a lot more than I expected.

Perhaps I'll simply keep this story up for the year or so it will probably take me to have a properly-written anthology ready and not really do anything with it.

Good thought about the story summary... it was originally written for the academic conference which I was invited to present the story at. Perhaps the last sentence about how the story ends should be taken out. Even if the summary doesn't really give the explanation of the whole story, I can see how people would think it did!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 16, 2011, 12:21:28 PM PDT
I downloaded the sample to your book. It was less than 1½ pages on my Kindle DX. That translates into about 15 pages on a larger screen DX set at the 4th font size. (4th out of 8) I could easily read 15 pages in about 10 minutes.

I'm not saying that we set a value by the length of a book, but with all the freebies and under $4 Indie offerings, it is tough to pay a dollar for a short story by an unknown author. Amazon is selling "shorts" now, and the response here has been less than enthusiastic.

Posted on Mar 16, 2011, 12:55:42 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 16, 2011, 1:14:51 PM PDT
I've seen many conversations on various forums about whether 99c/75p is 'fair' for a single story. My own view (and it may well be a minority one) is that the main price I pay for a book is time... There's so, so many books out there I want to read, that slugging my way through a novel even if it was free/cheap is pointless if I don't like it. With a short story, I'm more likely to take a chance. I may not like it, but little time lost; if I do like it, I'll probably reread it - I love short stories, and seeing how they 'tick'.

At the end of the day, I'd tip a busker £1 if they were playing something good in the street; I'm quite happy to give an aspiring author that for their work if I think they deserve it....

As I said, my view point is probably not the majority one! But, as I said in my first post, there is a market. Building up to an anthology is not a bad idea.

Also, Zabrina, you might want to check out this blog (nothing to do with me) which features indie short stories on it.

Feed the Enemy

Posted on Mar 16, 2011, 1:00:40 PM PDT
My advice would be to package eight or ten short stories into an anthology. That way people don't feel like they're cheated when they finish your book in about ten minutes.

Implant: Top 20 science thriller, 99 cents.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 19, 2011, 12:28:36 PM PDT
I am with Michael. I re-released one of my books last year with an extra 15,000 word story because I felt that the original story was too short at about 20,000 words. Also saying "Bonus Story" works as a great marketing tool. I think writing out several short stories and placing them in one anthology is a great idea. If the stories are similiar in theme or perhaps different characters in the same world then it gives the reader the feeling they are reading a novel rather than a collection of short stories.

Under The Midnight Sky

Posted on Mar 19, 2011, 8:48:50 PM PDT
You can also try to get an invite into Amazon Singles.

Here are my shorts:

Austrian-Accented Action Guy: An ARHNULD BRAWNSWAGGER Action-Satire Short Story (RED BAND: Extreme Content - Ahrnuld Brawnswagger) - Action-comedy short story about vicious gangsters getting terminated by a muscle-bound Austrian-Accented Action Guy. Extreme content, pitch-black humor. For fans of dark comedy, Garth Ennis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger movies.

The Demo Tape - a compilation of my various works.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 19, 2011, 9:39:56 PM PDT
I'd say charge 99 cents for the collection. You may find a market for 99 cent novellas, but not short stories. At the most, I would charge 2.99 for the collection.

Really though, most readers do prefer full length works.

Noah Mullette-Gillman
Luminous and Ominous

Posted on Mar 26, 2011, 3:16:14 AM PDT
Hi Zabrina - read your story and have put a review up here and on UK. Will probably add it to my blog at some point too - Good luck!

To everyone else other than Zabrina; her story's good and worth a punt.

Feed the Enemy

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 30, 2011, 10:37:55 AM PDT
E. Davies says:
Thank you kindly! :) I appreciate your review, and you're right with your guess that this was one of my first short stories. I think (hope!) that I'm getting better with each story!

Posted on Feb 15, 2012, 7:25:25 AM PST
I am also new to Kindle. I have sent in anything. Here is my problem: I have had to leave my job because of a stroke disability 1.5 years ago. So, I collect disability. I am allowed to earn money, but restricted amounts (about $1000 gross / per month). Not that I think I will start right off with a best seller or anything, but I wouldn't want to take a chance at earning $1011 the first month on a collection of shorts and losing my disability only to find that that's all the money and now I am without. Make any sense?
Would love any suggestions?
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Discussion in:  Kindle forum
Participants:  17
Total posts:  30
Initial post:  Mar 16, 2011
Latest post:  May 17, 2015

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