Jul 232012

Rosie is a writer I admire the hell out of.  She asked a question on Twitter last night and my inner superhero wanted to swoop in and solve all her problems.

She asked, “Anyone have thoughts on optimum length for kindle/print story collections?”

That is a perfectly reasonable question.  My first reaction was “Fuck if I know.”

Thinking about it, I realize the right answer is, “Fuck if anyone knows.”  Self-publishing erotica is still a new and scary beast.  As writers we have this fear that our work will come across as amateurish and wrong.  We desperately want to come across as all-knowing and cool.  We desperately want to know how to do things right.  The hardest thing to accept at the moment is that there is no right.

I use my own personal tastes at the moment.  These boil down to two principles. 

One, I am a cheap bastard.  I don’t want to pay $2.99 for 8 pages and one sex scene.  Shit, I am not sure if I will pay .99 for that.  Money is precious and if I spend money, especially on an author I don’t know, I want to feel like I am getting value that off sets the possible shittiness of the new author.  For 2.99, I want at least four stories.  If it is one story, I want at least 30 pages.  Give me something I can sink my teeth into.

Where did I get that number?  Nowhere.  It is just a gut feeling.  You gut may differ.

Two, I like themes.  You could have ten one page stories but if they share a common theme, I will pay out of scale prices for it.  Ten stories about damsel in distress stories?  Here is my $3.  Six stories barely a page long about office oriented BDSM sex?  Okay, here is my $3.  Maybe I am unique that way, but the individual length of the stories don’t matter as much as the fact that I am getting a assortment of stories that share a theme I am interested in.  By theme I also include periods of time.  You want to bundle a year of your blog posts, or maybe a few months, I am down with that.

That’s it.  It is not terribly scientific but it works for me.  Other writers may disagree and I would love to hear their opinions because at this moment, no one really knows what to do.  Imitating what large publishers do would be silly.  This is new shit and we are just going to have to try and experiment. 

  2 Responses to “Size Issues”

  1. Yeah, that is a really big “if”. Right now, I have Mummy’s Girl at $2.99 because of its age. And probably $1/50k words (because I’m very verbose). That means most of my stories would have to be bundled about $1/5 stories.

    Though, I was considering $1/10k for the four stories I’m putting up this year.

    But, I agree, I’m complete making up everything. Plus, I have to *finish* stuff. *sigh* No idea if that would work.

  2. I’m with you on the idea that money is tight and I can’t see any reason for paying the .99 or 2.99 for the massive proliferation of stories under 10k words. I like long stories that don’t end before they’ve even had a chance to get started.

    So for me, the optimum length, whether it be a stand alone novel or collection of stories, is 100k+ words, but I would happily pay 2.99 for a shorter collection if the author is excellent or the subject matter is interesting to me.

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