On Short Stories, And Whether It’s A Good Idea To Publish Them So That They May Act As Samples To Readers

I’ve noticed a few authors putting up individual short stories for sale. I think I’m in love with this idea.

I’ve been debating whether $.99 is too cheap for a full-length novel, and I think I’ve come to the conclusion that it is. Considering the time and effort put into a novel, if it is worth reading it should probably be priced somewhere around three dollars or more. Short stories, though? Novellas that are 30k or under? Heck, man, I’ll totally buy a $.99 short story just to check out a writer’s style. In fact, I have done so several times now.

The Benefits:

  1. You get what you pay for.
    • If you any money at all for something, you should be able to expect a work of art that has had at least some effort dumped into it in order to create something worth selling. Anybody who has written a novel-length work and given it the editing attention it needs to be salable at all deserves to be able to charge $2.99 or more for it in order to make a reasonable profit off of each sold copy. (With the percentages self-published authors receive from their sales, this amounts to somewhere near $2 per copy when priced at $2.99.) Conversely, a work that has taken considerably less effort to put together and edit and prepare for sale could reasonably be priced at $.99 (with the author gaining something like $.30 per copy). The author needs to do less work, the reader receives less, the author receives a smaller percentage for what he/she has sold.
  2. It’s a solid, cheap way to get a feel for a writer’s style.
    • True, the sampling process available on all sites that allow ebook downloads has made it possible for the reader to see what a writer is capable of. However, I think that I’d rather pay a small price for a small work with a beginning and end to gauge a writer’s skills rather than read the first few pages of a longer work. (Actually, I’d probably do both, but I still feel that a short story can be enlightening when deciding which authors to really pay attention to in the self-publishing market.)

The Downfalls:

I actually can’t think of any right now. Somebody help me out here. Are there any?


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