Been meaning to write about my strategy for shorts. Forgot I even had this as a draft thing, but here we go. I’ll be short.
Well, this is easy. They’re shorts. 😛
Actually, because they are shorts, a number of things are dictated. No print or hardcover for obvious reasons (they end up being pamphlets if I do that). I do do audiobooks, but those are loss leaders.
In the long term, the idea is to collect all the shorts and put them into a single series led anthology, but that’s a long term project. I need a minimum of 10 such shorts (60k) to make it worthwhile. So… a bit of time yet.
So, pricing is weird. There are two prices – one when I have the product on retailer sites and one here, on Patreon. Patreon is all you can eat buffet (to drive more people to join!) at a $1 a month.
The idea is that eventually, those $1 a month Patrons might even become more. And if not… well, it’s a bunch of shorts. I’m not worried about giving them away.
Pricing outside of Patreon is $2.99 for ebooks, $3.99 for audio. As always, I have no say on audio pricing. But with ebooks, I’m almost forced to charge $2.99 due to Amazon’s 35% royalty policy. Anything less (like $0.99) would earn me $0.35 a short. Which, frankly, when my best short has only sold a couple hundred copies, would make no sense to release at all.
Distribution for most shorts are via Patreon. Those are the ones I write the most often. However, they aren’t the only ones I write. I also write short stories for fun (myself) or for anthologies. With anthology shorts, they are either on spec (sometimes) or by request (more often, but on request with the cavaet that they might turn it down is my current state. I’m not that big yet…).
Anyway. When it goes to anthology distribution, the shorts can take months, even years before they release. However, I do get paid much, much better for them in most cases. More importantly, since short stories have limited exclusivity dates, once they are done, I often release them to my Patrons again and then, eventually wide.
And yes, because I won’t put my shorts in KU (I don’t see a point in earning $0.10 a short or less); the work is wide. Which is kinda cool, because I sell to libraries, to individual readers and the like globally. It keeps me posting there, when I would otherwise disappear (because all my main series are in KU).
So, here’s the thing about shorts for the most part. The LitRPG crowd s completely uninterested in them mostly. I have my dedicated fans, and they’ll buy them (or join Patreon – hi!). Because I know this, I don’t do much promotion for my shorts.
They go up on the retailers once a month in the middle of the month, with pre-orders all set-up as fast as I can. I announce them on my fan page and my newsletter and website.
And that’s it.
Occasionally I might reannounce it all, but I don’t hit up the various groups because they aren’t interested. And I don’t promote to short story collectors, because well, it’s generally LitRPG and progression fantasy.
And really, the amount of sales I’d expect from that kind of promotion isn’t worth me writing the next book.
So, that’s my short strategy. Write them for patrons or anthologies. Get them out when I can in ebook and audio format. Eventually, publish them as an anthology myself. In-between, keep costs as low as possible (reuse covers, create them in-house, etc.)
Like the business blog post? Want to support me writing more of them? Want to read ahead (2 weeks) of others? Become a Patron and choose the $2-tier to be able to read the business posts only and ask questions about the business side of writing.