Longing for the halcyon days of self-publishing? A few years back, you could publish, and sell, without concerning yourself with pesky activities like book marketing.
Boost your self-publishing business with novellas and series
Last week a coaching client and I were going over her proposed publishing schedule for 2019. She suddenly said: “I’ve no idea what’s happening these days. Novels that I’m sure will sell struggle… It’s just lucky I had one good seller this year — and that was unexpected.”
I couldn’t help it; I had to chuckle at her woebegone tone. Then I suggested that since she’s changing her business model, she consider writing a couple of novellas.
How has her business model changed? She’s going wide, rather than all-in with KDP Select, and is focusing more on selling directly to readers, via her website.
Novellas have this BIG benefit: they’re short. Any fiction over 10,000 words is wandering into novella territory. Novellas which sell (depending on genre) tend to be between 15,000 and 30,000 words.
Not only can you publish two novellas in the time it takes you to publish a novel, you can also bundle two novellas. This means that hey presto, just like magic, you’ve now got three books which you’re selling.
Here are some tips for writing novellas which will boost your self-publishing efforts.
1. Writing a novel? Write a novella first, to test your idea
Because of the changes in self-publishing in 2018, I’ve been suggesting to clients:
- Write novels in series, and publish at least one serial each year. When you write in series, you’re making the most of each reader: rather than buying one novel, he might buy three or four, if he enjoys the series;
- Before committing to a series, write a novella as a prequel.
2. Consider your pricing structure: price so that you can afford advertising
If you’ve been self-publishing for a while, you know that the 99 cent price point has few benefits these days. You might consider the 99 cent price if you have a long series. When you’re getting a good read-through at $4.99 for each novels in a series, you can afford to advertise on AMS and Facebook. Your 99 cent ebook is a loss leader.
Many authors automatically price novellas at 99 cents or $1.99. Unless you have a good reason to do that, don’t. Your pricing on novellas needs to be on a par with your novels.
3. Entertain: each novella must pack a punch
No matter the genre, ensure that each novella packs a real emotional charge for readers.
When I’m coaching authors in writing novellas that sell, I suggest that they trim the number of characters, as well as heightening the tension.
In Indie Author Advice: An Essential Ingredient For Your Novel we looked at suspense in novels. The tips in that article are doubly essential for novellas. Try something like the ticking clock device:
I love the ticking clock device because it’s so simple. You set it up, and away you go. You’ll find ticking clocks in many novels, because a countdown keeps readers reading. Your clock doesn’t need to be a countdown. You can time the aftermath of an event.
The more entertaining you can make your novellas, the more likely it is that you’ll win readers who’ll read more of your fiction.
Add a novella or two to your 2019 self-publishing schedule
2019 is almost upon us. Consider adding novellas to your self-publishing schedule. You’ll be pleased with the results.
Happy writing. 🙂
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