This is related to self-publishing. I'm going to self-publish an eleven story anthology based on a single character. I'm also currently working on publishing one of my novels.
I pull most of my personal reading off of kindle and observe authors who have pulled apart chapters from his/her books and has three or more titles for a single story line, where each volume is NOT self-contained.
This sort of thing gets an author more titles, but does the continuity get broken? If the books are at lower prices (for example, the first free, the rest 99 cents or so.) do you object to having to purchase the things?
Example: I've split my novel into six logical pieces. The whole thing is 93,000 words, but the parts range from 12,000 words to 27,000 words. I'm doing it so I have more titles out in the ether. Does it frustrate you to have to purchase all six volumes for a price that ends up being 4.95 (one free)?
Another Example: My anthology has eleven stories ranging is size from 1,000 words to 13,000 words. I intend on publishing the anthology as one volume, with a story from the anthology also available for free.
Right now, I'm leaning on serializing the novel and leaving the anthology intact. (admission: I don't buy 'singles' of short stories for my own personal reading.)
What is your opinion breaking apart books?
[This message has been edited by Owasm (edited September 19, 2011).]
In my opinion, if you split the story up, make sure each section is a satisfying piece that can stand alone.
I know someone who is doing this, but she is rewriting each section completely so they are stand alone stories that carry on the whole story curve of the bigger works.
In the later ones, you will know something happened before, and something will happen later, but the story will be good in and of itself.
Even if you write it with the same characters in every story, if you write it as if you were writing different characters in the same universe, it will work even better. In that case, the world will become familiar and comfortable even if the stories are read out of sequence.
If your whole novel is 93k, which is spot on standard novel length, then I'd say sell it as a whole. If I had to buy something that length in six parts it would annoy the crap out of me. Also, if even one section seems to be losing someone's interest, a break that forces another purchase gives the reader the opportunity to put it down and never come back. If they have it whole, they might push through that momentarily slow bit and finish the story.
And beware of the anthology. It's not that it's a bad idea, but it seems that even for more extablished authors, anthologies are not great sellers. Maybe you can compile those into mini sets of three, or something.
I don't understand the strategy of breaking it up. You make a lower commission at $0.99 and I don't think you are really creating the illusion that you have published more stories.
Serial fiction may find its place in the market, but I think for new authors, the novel will continue to rule.
I personally would be more apt to take a chance on a novel for $2.99. You get double the royalties and will actually make more money than charging $0.99 x 5. It's a lose - lose (author and reader lose more money).
I've never bought a short story on e-book. I have no intentions of doing so either (unless in a magazine or anthology). Obviously, I'm one data point, but I bet I'm representing the vast majority of readers.
I think it's like the music industry...at first it was dominated by singles, then with advanced technology the album became important...only to see further technological advance in the form of downloading and the single reasserting itself.
I've only recently taken to buying any sort of e-book or e-story and it's all new to me, but...I generally prefer stuff I buy to be complete in itself, without need to buy any other part to figure out what's going on. If each part truly stands alone, it could go over...but if it doesn't, if they don't, you risk loss of goodwill on the consumer's part and failure.
Unless you have the name recognition to pull down large fanbase followings, this story won't sell much unless people start to enjoy your writing and spread it by word of mouth/reviews/etc.
One thing I have noticed on my ereader is that anything priced $0.99 is subject to impulse buying.
With absolutely no authority or experience on this subject other than my own impulse buys, I would suggest giving away the first part for free so that people can get involved in the story, and then all the rest for 99 cents. And I don't mean different installations of 99 cents, I mean the entire novel for that. Then, each subsequent novel you can sell for an additional 99 cents until you gain a following and can start charging more. Otherwise, you run the risk of nobody reading it and becoming a fan because they won't shell out the extra money. Remember, your competition is everything else being offered for 99 cents and people would probably rather read a whole novel than installments. There is certainly no shortage of selection...
My own personal experience is similar to Wordcasters, although I will buy a 99 cent book if it's serialized if there are more volumes available. And, as I mentioned, no short stories. I think the only way those succeed is if you have an established following.
I read a series that I liked, but each volume was 2.99 and there were six small parts. I spent nearly eighteen bucks to get a normal sized novel and I did feel ripped off.
The 99 cent-level royalty is a consideration, however.
Why not offer both? When I get enough of my short stories set on the moon together, I'm going to bundle them into a Luna series and offer them as a set, while still continuing to sell them as individual stories. I figure it's just part of the packaging, and will offer "one free" or some kind of bonus content with the packaged deal (to incent people to buy the higher-priced item which pays a higher royalty.)
Stackpole talks about how his "deluxe edition" of one of his ebooks outsells the standard by 5 to 1, when the only main difference is an essay or two about the creation of the novel (and a $1 price increase.) Definitely worth playing around with way you package and what you offer and what prices you charge and all that. But yeah, stay away from that 2.99 per small piece where the whole novel would cost 20 bucks or whatever, that's the kind of thing that will sour readers fast. :P
Of note is the fact that smashwords permits you to download the ebook in whatever your preferred file format is, so you could purchase via smashwords a file that works well on kindle, then you just have to "sideload" the file onto your kindle (meaning: connect your kindle to your computer and copy the file over.) Same goes for nook, sony ereader, kobo, diesel, etc. But I do still choose to list my books individually on amazon and bn.com as a way to stake my claim to some digital shelf space on those channels.
Just wondering. Sorry about the slight derail, Owasm. I'm just thinking of getting my feet wet in the digital publishing world and I'm not really sure how to go about it.
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