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View Poll Results: Short works for promotion or sale?
Sell on host site 4 44.44%
Free on host site 3 33.33%
Free on your site 2 22.22%
Voters: 9. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-15-2012, 03:26 AM   #1
bigjantailor
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Short works, to sell or not to sell

I was thinking it may be best to give away short work free on my website as a promotion and for those that have not profesionally copy edit. However, would it be better to sell them cheap or give them away on a site like Smashwords (copy edited of course)? Thoughts?

Have fun, Jan Tailor

Last edited by bigjantailor; 07-15-2012 at 03:29 AM.
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Old 07-15-2012, 03:45 AM   #2
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Submit them to magazines first, then sell them. If you want, put a free coupon on your web site so people can download them from Smashwords.

But free basically means that a hundred people will download them for every one who reads them. And a few percent of the people who read them will post one-star reviews because 'this is a -- insert genre here -- story and I hate it because I don't read that kind of thing'.

Also, Amazon seem to frown on putting your stories on your own site for free and then uploading them for sale.
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:23 AM   #3
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Sell a collection. Put one or two on your site.

As a buyer, I am almost never interested in a single short work, even if it's free. It seems like a lot of "paperwork" - managing and organising the files in Calibre and/or on the reader - for a small return.

Something like Wattpad or Ether Books might work, I guess, but probably not for me.
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Old 07-15-2012, 09:40 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrNefario View Post
Sell a collection. Put one or two on your site.

As a buyer, I am almost never interested in a single short work, even if it's free. It seems like a lot of "paperwork" - managing and organising the files in Calibre and/or on the reader - for a small return.

Something like Wattpad or Ether Books might work, I guess, but probably not for me.
Yes, something along these lines. I'm working towards a couple of these. Have released a couple of short stories and will make some free when the collection is finished and available.

oh and certainly if your work fits a particular magazine and results in a sale, the money and publicity are both good stuff!
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Old 07-15-2012, 03:44 PM   #5
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Free anywhere you can put them, including pirate sites. But get the copyedits done first otherwise the people who do read it will just assume all your writing is like that. And the people who don't read it won't bother looking for an updated version before they "share" it.
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:55 PM   #6
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Good comments all, thanks.

The one other thing I forgot to put down a short story anthology?

I personally like individual short stories or articles. And I have a feeling ereaders will like the format too, once they get uses to it. Especially since it could a 1000 words or 40,000 rather than the size being dictated by the mag.

Thanks, Jan Tailor
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:08 AM   #7
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It honestly depends on your plan and strategy.

Cory Doctorow for example leverages the Creative Commonsto drive sales of his print and eBooks.

Alternatively, there's Dean Wesley Smith's advice on selling short fiction: http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=7143

What's questionable though with the OP's post is why would you publish an unedited story for free? (And then offer to edit it for the sale work?) As a reader, your stories, free or otherwise, is my gateway into your writing. If I see it riddled with errors, why would that entice me to read more of your work?

Second, there's a difference between anthologies and collections, and it's a pet peeve of mine when people interchange them. True, casual readers won't know the difference, but there is a difference.
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:51 AM   #8
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Thanks for the link Charlesatan, I got some ideas from it.

And yes I put anthology instead of collection, just happened to be in my mind as the writing group I'm in is think about making one.

As for not editing, I always edit everything that I put on my website myself as throughly as I can. However, I'm dyslexic and there is a good chance a mistake or two will make it through. This is why anything I try to sell I gets professionally edited.

I would love to be able to write error free but that ain't in the cards. And as much as I don't want to sour any reads to my writings, I wonder about the reader who gets something free and can't overlook a typo or two.

Have fun, Jan
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:46 AM   #9
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I agree with make sure it is edited. If you are giving it away for free, then it is advertising, and you need to look your best in advertising.
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjantailor View Post
I wonder about the reader who gets something free and can't overlook a typo or two.
Anything you give away free should be a good reflection of what you are charging for, otherwise it won't work from an advertising perspective. For most people what they read for free will be their first exposure to you, and they will form an opinion based on that whether you are worth investing time and money in.

I have never read an ebook that didn't have typos (or any print book first published in the last 5 years or so), but it depends how readable it is if I continue with it or not. If I'm stumbling over every paragraph trying to figure out what it is supposed to say you will need a very strong story to carry me through. Even then I'd be a lot less likely to try anything else you wrote.

If you can't afford a proof-reader, at least get someone else to read through it.
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:46 PM   #11
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I have had a free novella (19k words) out there for a few years now, and it has definitely driven sales. It is a prequel of sorts to one of my novels, and that novel continues to sell better than any of my other works.
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