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Actual Writing Stuff

October 22, 2012

I want to thank everyone for the kind words and thoughts about my dad. He’s steadily improving, but it’s a slow process.

And now for something completely different.

My writing has been…well, not sporadic, but certainly not as regular as I planned for it to be at the beginning of the year. I vowed to write 2000 words a day and have TOTALLY blown that. Some of it was the chaos from dad’s illness and some of it was purely burnout. I’m prone to that; once I get going on something and achieve a bit of success at it, something in my brain clicks off and I lose interest.

This is what is known as “a bad thing” for any kind of business that requires constant sustained effort. Like writing, say. In May I don’t think I posted anything. I wrote some, but didn’t put any stories out at all. Since then I’ve been better, posting two or three stories a month, but that May is still this sort of gaping failure that looms a bit in my mind. I’ve let it push me back into writing more, but I’m still not often up to 2000/day.

I plan to change this in November. I’ve enjoyed being a part of National Novel-Writing Month in years past, and I think it’s just the right thing to get my butt back in gear. The plan is to write 2000/day on my NaNovel and then another 1000 or so on smut. That’s 90,000 words in November, which should give me plenty to edit by December. If I feel myself burning out or getting complacent again, then screw all that. No more burnouts for this writer.

A reader named Lily asked me a question that I hadn’t really considered before:

If you don’t mind my asking, do you notice a difference in sales between your longer works and shorter? And, is it better to write two 20k word novellas per month, or four 10k word shorts per month?

Appreciate the question, Lily. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that I have a hell of a lot of useful information for you. I’ll do what I can here.

The problem is that I’m pretty new when it comes to professional writing. We’re not quite to the one-and-a-half year anniversary of my first post to Amazon as Maxwell. What’s I’ve found, though, is that my writing gets better as I go. Generally speaking, yes, my longer works sell better. My recent novella-length story, Breeder, is about 38,500 words and sells very well compared to others. However, that could easily be because of the three five-star reviews that I’ve gotten for it on Amazon. I like to think I earned those reviews, and it’s one of my personal favorites of my stories, but there’s no doubt that stars sell books.

My short-story collections sell fairly well, with Variations (two five-star reviews, 52,500 words) being the strongest seller. That might be because they’re a bargain. Most of the stories in those collections are 2.99 apiece. I bundle them together and sell the bundles for 4.99, and I’m probably going to raise that to 5.99 fairly soon. That said, my biggest collection, Multiple Variations (98,300 words, no reviews) is a low seller at 8.99. High price? Unappealing cover? People already own the stories? I’m not sure. Either way, I’m gonna make another set of bundles here fairly soon, and we’ll see how those go.

Short answer, I suppose, is that I tend to see more sales from my longer stories…as long as they’re well-received and there are some good reviews. Some of my recent ones are longer, but I’ve become better at writing as I go, too, so that’s probably a factor.

Um. Not to be arrogant or anything here. I go back over some of my early stuff and wince. I HAVE to be better than I was.

Okay, second question! If you are just starting out, and have nothing or very little available in the marketplace, I would focus on the shorter stories for now. This will allow your fans to find additional works by you if they like your stories and do a search for more. It also allows you to create bundles more quickly, which leads to more volume of available works for new fans to find. I’d give it a few months before taking some time out for the longer stuff, so you build some momentum. That said, if you think your novella is going to seriously win some awards or fans, hit it. This is just one guy’s opinion. Lily, I look forward to seeing you in print, even if it’s on my Kindle.

Checking my work:

Current story: Working on one about a voodoo tattoo. Political correctness ho!

Currently editing: Something that I honestly haven’t named yet (sci-fi body morphing deal), along with a book from yesteryear of NaNoWriMo that will be published under my actual name as an urban fantasy. Waiting in the wings is book two of Staying In Vegas.

One Comment leave one →
  1. mikey2ct permalink
    October 22, 2012 11:34

    Hi Max..i don;t think I have this situation with your bundling. I have a gripe about authors who publish stories then bundle them in different versions.

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