Traditionally these have been sold to magazines (first in print and now a days online) and very genre specific. Often they are collected into anthologies and sold at the price of a full length novel. Historically anthologies don't sell very well.
I think "shorts" have a tremendous opportunity for indie authors especially those that think ahead. I'm turning my attention to Michael's big six release and one of the things that the publisher is going to be doing is making a Riyria Revelations Facebook Page. As it will start from zero I've been thinking what I can do to get followers which will be a signal to Orbit that Michael has a platform and is worth further marketing investment...enter a short.
I've asked Michael to write a short story with his main characters of the Riyria Revelations that I can give away to people who sign up to the Facebook Page. It will be a bit of back story of when Royce and Hadrian met Albert Winslow. For those that don't know Michael's work Albert is kind of their "front man" that operates in the world of the nobles finding jobs of intrigue to be performed for our pair of thieves for hire. This little piece of fiction won't take Michael long to write but gives me a lot of marketing opportunities for new readers to his world.
But...let's take it a step further. This short story, if written properly can also be the start of a longer work a little standalone story within the Riyria Revelations universe. No it won't be tied into the carefully constructed six-book story arc, but it will be a nice little stand alone going on another adventure with two characters that many fans have come to love. So when that novel is released I can use the short story as a $0.99 low priced entry into the $4.99 full length novel.
Many people use $0.99 to get eyeballs, and it definitely works. But if that $0.99 takes you six months or a year to write you're significantly impacting your revenue stream. Writing it in a week or so makes a lot more sense.
Moses Siregar has done something similar with his The Black God's War. It was just launched a few days ago (July 31) at $2.99 and is selling well. It is on at least two Best seller lists:
- #89 of Kindle Epic Fantasy
- #35 of Hot New Epic Fantasy Releases
So, as an indie author I want you to think about how you can use shorts as your "low price leader" and keep your longer, more time invested works at a higher price point. If you do write some shorts here are a few tips:
- Make it CRYSTAL CLEAR that this is a shorter work. That means putting a clear indication on the COVER as well as mentioning it in the description. If a reader thinks they are getting a full length novel then they will feel cheated.
- Think about branding them. Ridan will probably come out with a "shorts" line in the future and we'll come up with a "brand" (Name and layout) that identifies all our shorts together. Orbit (who is Michael's big-six publisher) has an Orbits short line - further proof that they are smart cookies over there and know how to maximize their income in the digital world. Amazon of course has their Amazon singles line further proof that there is some good business sense in utilizing this venue.
She's even turning this into a kind of a franchise. I don't know all the details, and hopefully I'll get her to do a guest post on this. But I recently saw one of the Ridan authors, Nathan Lowell came out with a Novel Nibble with, A Light in the Dark (Tales from the Deep Dark). It has the Novel Nibble brand but I noticed the publisher is listed as Durandus which I know is Nathan's own entity.
In any case, this title was released July 22, 2011 and I stumbled across it just a few days after its launch when I found it on a best seller list. It is currently ranked 674 and is on:
- #17 Hot New Release in Books Science Fiction and Fantasy
- #5 Hot New Release in Books Science Fiction
- #3 Hot New Release in Books Science Fiction Adventure
- #2 Hot New Release in Books Science Fiction Space Opera
- #75 Bestselling Books in Science Fiction and Fantasy
- #20 Bestselling Books in Science Fiction
- #5 Bestselling Books Space Opera
- #11 Bestselling Books in Science Fiction Adventure
- #2 Hot New Release in Kindle Science Fiction Adventure
- #3 Hot New Release in Kindle Science Fiction
- #85 Hot New Release in Kindle Genre Fiction
- #15 Bestseller in Kindle Science Fiction
- #9 Bestseller in Kindle Science Fiction Adventure
To maximize income your "low price leaders" should be something quick to produce. Think about your writing and how you can generate a short to lead people to your bigger, more expensive works.
Okay I'm way over 30 minutes but yesterday's post was shorter and it still took less than 1 hour.