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Old 06-08-2013, 09:18 PM   #1
BeccaPrice
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Putting my best foot forward

In addition to the collection Dragons and Dreams, I have 3 short stories that I'm going to put up, one of which will be free, and all of which will have a D&D teaser in it.

One, Heart of Rock, is 3500 words, and in quality is just about as good as anything in D&D.

Another, Bridge of Seven Stones, is 3500 words, and probably will only appeal to a narrow(er) group, as it is an alternative to the Tooth Fairy story. I think the quality is fairly high.

The third, The Snarls, is 1000 words or so, and is a story about combing out snarly tangled hair. It's a thin little story, more off-the-cuff and light-hearted.

Which one should I make free? I was going to make it Heart of Rock, as appealing to the widest audience, but now I'm tempted to make The Snarls be the free one.
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Old 06-09-2013, 02:19 AM   #2
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I'd stick with "Heart of Rock" for the reason that it is both the longest (and most complex sounding) of the three. Therefore it will be the best to use as the 'free sample' of your writing as a means to entice potential buyers of the other stories.
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Old 06-09-2013, 04:14 AM   #3
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This is an interesting dilemma and I'm not certain there is a good answer.

Yes, the idea of offering something for free is to "show off" and appeal to people in the hope they might be willing to buy your other work. In this light it would make sense to offer your very best for free in the hope of appealing to the most people.

But I do think there is another side to this. If people turn from a 3500 word freebie and pay for a thousand word one - and like it less - there may be a backlash. Whatever the marketing lessons say, people have different expectations for freebies than they do for paid things.

And then there's just how it feels to you. I would feel better being paid for my best work than my lesser work.

Sometime in the not too distant future I'm going to have three books of a series available. The standard recommendation in this situation is to offer the first for free - that's something I'm still considering - and realistically, if I want to offer a freebie, there is little choice - the first book in a series is the first one you want read so there is little point in offering the second or third. BUT, the first one is not actually the best (I presume most authors hope this is true, I believe most readers expect/hope so too).

And the previous paragraph, I think, reinforces the idea that freebie need not be your best work. (Even though, when not presenting a series, you have more choices.) It needs to be a good work (we, of course, hope we are only ever publishing quality work), but I don't think you need to choose best and suspect that doing so could possibly backfire.

I recently wrote a short story (4300 words) - such brevity is very unusual for me. I like it a lot, but it's a little peculiar. I've been wondering whether to offer it for free off my website, but also wonder if it might put off more people than it attracts. No idea. For now I'll sit on it and wait to see if any others show up in my head.

Last edited by gmw; 06-09-2013 at 04:16 AM.
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Old 06-09-2013, 06:27 AM   #4
VydorScope
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I do not know the short story market. If I was to write a story that short, I would make it free... but since I write novel length (100k words), that is an easy choice to figure out. If I were to apply that same logic to your short stories, I would make the shortest one the free one... but again I do not know the short story market so that might not be valid.
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Old 06-09-2013, 08:00 AM   #5
BeccaPrice
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Maybe I should make both Heart of Rock and The Snarls free. I certainly can't see asking anyone to pay 0.99 for a 1000 word story plus a 750 word teasesr. certainly the two of them would get a good cross section of how I write to people, and maybe steer them to looking up Dragons and Dreams - which is the whole point of the exercise.
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Old 06-13-2013, 01:56 PM   #6
Alex Bleach
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VydorScope View Post
I do not know the short story market. If I was to write a story that short, I would make it free... but since I write novel length (100k words), that is an easy choice to figure out. If I were to apply that same logic to your short stories, I would make the shortest one the free one... but again I do not know the short story market so that might not be valid.
I make all my short stories free, that is all I have written so far. If and when I do write a novel it will have a price because it takes longer to write, I think that is fair.

As other authors have mentioned with prices there is no wrong or right pricing, as long as it is competitive (i.e. not too high). You always have the option offering promotions such as a free book later on or on quiet months.
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Old 06-13-2013, 02:34 PM   #7
BeccaPrice
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If I made all the short stories free, no one would be inspired to buy the collection.
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Old 06-14-2013, 12:00 PM   #8
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I recently read the Kindle edition of "Titles & Covers That Sell - How to Create a Killer Title and Captivating Cover to Maximize Your Book Sales". It was $2.99. Since it was only 51 pages (according to Amazon) it was short for a book. Real short. I think there was one page that discussed covers for fiction, everything else was for non-fiction. And of course I'm at that phase with my almost-finished fiction that I need a cover.

When I was done reading it, I felt like it was overpriced. Why I gave it three stars is a mystery.

If it'd been a 51 page gold mine I would have been fine with the price. I hope my reaction illuminates your solution a bit.

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