Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Long vs Short Stories: Size Totally Matters

I'm all about the length and the width, baby. The longer the better. Oh, and when they're nice and thick too?

Books, folks, I'm talking about books.

I write novels. Not shorts, not novellas, not that gray area of a short novel/long novella. I'm lucky if I can keep 'em to a mere 100,000 words. LARCOUT rings in at 145,000 words. My CP challenged me to write an Urban Fantasy with a mere 70k. I failed. I kept it light at 85k, but added another 7k after the first round of professional edits. It's in the throes of second-round edits now that'll probably tack on another 3k minimum.

Hey, I tried.

Thing is, as a writer and a reader, I like to spend quality time in a world. More than a drive-by or a quick cuppa. I want to escape and exult in the refuge of imagination. In spending my creative capital, if you will, short stories don't provide the necessary ROI.

Sadly, in the world of self-publishing where I own all the costs, the longer the novel the more expensive it is to produce. Plus, longer novels take longer to write, so there's risk of falling off the reader's radar if you don't release a book a "timely" manner. What is "timely" is up for debate, but it's definitely more than once a year. Think more along the lines of quarterly.

Yes, I fail miserably at the "ideal release schedule" too. 
Stop snickering.

Novellas are commonly used as a marketing tactic among series indie-writers. Releasing two to four novellas a year, the authors buy themselves time in-between novel drops. The theory is the novellas maintain a spot in the reader's awareness, provide a sales boost, and can be discounted for promotions without hurting the net revenue of the series. That puts the minimum production of a barely successful indie author at four novels a year, plus two novellas, and at least one anthology contribution.

My head explodes at the notion.  

Now, when we here at the SFF Seven take our turns at writing flash fiction for you all, that's the only time I write short. And, people, I'mma tell ya, it's HARD. I have to keep repeating, "Focus on the moment. This only about the moment."  My creative brain is all, "Yeah, but, the world we could build around this..."  "FOCUS ON THE MOMENT, DAMN IT."

~clears throat~

Words, I has them in abundance. Sometimes, they're even the right words.