Wednesday, July 5, 2017

IWSG: The Long and the Short of It


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This summer, I'm considering working on a longer project, most likely either a horror novella or a collection of linked scary stories. This in itself is a challenge for me since my work tends to be on the shorter side. But I want to push myself. I want to set another goal AND achieve it.

That being said, I have a second goal - to take this new project and either self-publish it or submit it to smaller, niche publishers. Even though I self-published my two flash fiction collections, it was only in ebook form and it was more years ago than I care to think about. The publishing and reading world has since changed.

This is where you all come in. The depth and breadth of publishing and reading experience in this group is amazing, so I would love to hear your thoughts: Novella or linked stories? Self-publish or traditional? Ebook only or ebook plus?

Your advice, recommendations, suggestions, thoughts are all appreciated!

60 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

While my short story is only in eBook form, I'm glad my four novels are in both. I couldn't have done that on my own.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I'm considering putting my ebook collections in print, but that's a project for another day. :)

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Madeline, try traditional publishing first, maybe even a smaller publisher,if it doesn't work, then go for self-publishing in the eBook form.

Jennifer Hawes said...

I agree with Alex. It's hard to do things right on your own when it comes to publishing. I went with a small publisher for my first book. But not for my other three in waiting. I'm after an agent. They can do a lot of things we can't! Good luck!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks for the advice, Rachna!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I totally agree about how much an agent can do! I don't think most agents rep novellas, though. Maybe linked stories....

Pat Hatt said...

Having them available in both forms are nice, but I've found more ebook sales than print form for longer books.

emaginette said...

When I decided to get something published I went for an indie publisher that was doing a call of submission.

I landed up at Roane Publishing--a great group of people. Looks like Carina Press has a call out, but I didn't check what they were looking for. Good Luck!

Anna from elements of emaginette

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks for the info, Pat!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks, Anna! I'll definitely check those out if I decide to go that route.

Crystal Collier said...

It's all about what you want out of your publishing experience. I have a project that's a series of related flash fiction stories which is out of my usual genre (comedy), and one day I'll put it out there, but I have no idea what the market is like for that kind of thing. (which is why I haven't taken the plunge.) Publishing is a strategy--whether traditional, small pub, or indie.

M.J. Fifield said...

Well, after a lot of time, research, and consideration, I did decide to forego a tradition press for the self-pubbing path. My book is in both e-book and paperback, and doing it on my own was a lot of work. (And I'm truly terrible at the business side of all of it, so I'm not exactly swimming in profits here.) But I thought (and still think) that was the best thing for me...because I am a control freak who wants to be in charge of everything. :)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I think that's why I'm torn. I had one strategy for my flash fiction collections - publishing as ebook only - but I'm ready to maybe try something new-to-me this time around.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

The control issue was one of the reasons I liked self-publishing my collections. I could kind of do my own thing regarding choosing the cover artist, etc.

Loni Townsend said...

I think it depends on your skill set and goals as to whether or not to self-publish or go traditional. I self-publish, but that's because I like putting it all together myself. I enjoy it. Sales and marketing suffer, though. It's the after-publish that sucks for me. If you're unsure, I'd recommend looking at traditional first.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Marketing is not my strength either, as my ebook sales show. :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I like longer works so I think I'd go with novella and try those niche publishers. Lots of time those small presses have dedicated customers and you'd be surprised at the sales.

Christine Rains said...

I agree with Loni. I've had a couple of publishers but neither had helped with marketing. Not many do nowadays. For those uncertain, I always suggest trying your story with publishers first. Self-publishing is more work, but you do get all the control.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks, Susan! From just casual researching, it seems there are a number of small presses that might be interested in horror.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks, Christine! With all the control comes all the work, right? :)

cleemckenzie said...

Try traditional--small press or agent. Go novella. Now that's my take and this business isn't a one-size-fits-all. Whatever you choose, do it with passion and enjoy it. Let us know what happens, too!

Tyrean Martinson said...

I think that self-publish or small press depends on how you answer the first one. A novella could work either way. Linked stories might be best as self-published projects -especially if they come in batches. However, there are some interesting small presses who have cropped up in the last few years. There might be some interested in linked stories ... it's hard to keep track of the market.
Happy Writing and Challenging Yourself!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Love the part about proceeding with passion and enjoying it! And I will! :)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I was thinking along similar lines, Tyrean. I have ideas for novellas and linked stories, so I'm also trying to see if one particular idea has more teeth than the others.

Pat Garcia said...

I can't tell you which is the best way. I think you should just start writing it. Maybe, it won't be a novella but a novel. Take it easy, breathe, and just go for it. Don't limit yourself.
Shalom aleichem,
Pat G at Everything Must Change

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I've gone down the novel route a number of times and pretty much always get stuck. I thought a novella or linked stories might be less intimidating. I do like the idea of just going for it, whatever it ends up being. :)

Lee Lowery said...

I love the idea of the linked scary stories. I'm no expert in the publishing/marketing arena but maybe the novella would find a home in one of the magazine markets or you could self-pub the shorter work. Or, bundle two or three novella's together - maybe link them, as well? Whatever you decide, enjoy yourself!

Juneta key said...

I'll be going with what feels right, but I like the answer everyone gave. My fave go with your heart. Ditto that one.
Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks, Lee! I am considering possibly putting a novella with the stories, linking them all. So many choices! :)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I trust my gut and my heart, but right now they're both keeping mum. Hmm, maybe they can't decide either? :)

Anonymous said...

I enjoy novellas because they don't take up my entire day reading so I can get a good story in but still get my daily chores done too. I'm a fan of self publishing because I like the control it gives even.

Olga Godim said...

I think we all struggle with the same questions. I could only give you one personal opinion. I've had 3 novels published with small publishers. I've got no sales, no satisfaction, and no control over anything: from covers to the final text. I got my rights back for two novels, and the third one's rights will expire next year. I'm going the self-published route from now on, except for short stories. Those I'll keep submitting to magazines. But other people might have better experience with their publishers.

Tonja Drecker said...

Sounds like a great goal. I'll cheer here from the sidelines. The market has changed drastically over the years. The self-publishing world is more accepted and does terrific, but I've also noticed that self-publishers put the effort in now too (good editing, great covers, etc.). I think it's turned into a 'go where the wind blows you' between traditional and self.

The Cynical Sailor said...

I wish I helpful advice about how to proceed, but I'm still so new to all of this and have never published anything. I have to say that I'm really intrigued by the idea of interconnects short stories.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

That's what I was thinking re novellas - the reader gets a full, complex story but with less of a time commitment.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Olga, thanks so much for sharing your experience. I'm sorry it was such a rough road for you. I'll definitely keep your words in mind as I continue thinking about all this.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Yeh for cheerleaders! :)

The publishing world has changed even in the few years since I self-published my ebooks. And I doubt it's going to slow down any time soon.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I've seen them called linked stories or novels-in-stories. If you Google those terms, a whole bunch of titles will come up. :)

Julie Flanders said...

I love the novella idea but think the linked stories would be awesome too. Wow, aren't I a big help??
I am terrible at giving any sort of advice but I will be cheering you on whichever path you decide to take.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Ha! :)

I'll definitely take the cheering. :)

Patricia Stoltey said...

I guess novellas are becoming more popular these days and there are publications actually looking for this length story. Google "where to get novellas published" and you'll find some helpful articles.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Patricia!

Gina Gao said...

I'm not that experienced in terms of publishing, but my advice is to try traditional publishing first and see how everything goes from there.


www.ficklemillennial.com

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Novella, self-publish. Go! :)

Donna B. McNicol said...

If you want to push yourself, go for the novella. You might surprise yourself and end up with a novel.

In 2012, I started writing flash fiction. When I did CampNaNo that August, I didn't know if I could manage enough words for a full novel. Well, I did... I do know that I write bare and my first edit adds a lot, rather than cuts a lot. But it works for me.

Good luck whatever your decide!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks, Gina!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Short and to the point, Lynda - I like it. :)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Donna, I'm the same way re adding as opposed to cutting. All of my novel drafts needed layers of muscle over that skeleton. :)

Annalisa Crawford said...

Have you seen this competition? Indeed, have I mentioned it to you before? It seems like it would bridge the gap between the two. https://bathflashfictionaward.com/novella-entry/

Even if you don't enter the comp, the format sounds interesting. I'm considering it myself!

Nicki Elson said...

I think your own creative wave will lead you to decide between novella or linked short stories. I say submit to a few niche publishers but if no one bites right away, go directly to self-publishing. The e-book or print issue depends on what you personally want - is it important to you to hold a paper copy in your very own hands? If not, start w/ e-book only and you can always add a print version later.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I'll check it out, Annalisa, thank you! And good luck to you if you decide to enter. :)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

The ebook only version is what I did with my two collections, and although I'm still fine with that decision, I did kind of miss holding a physical copy in my hands. Might look into publishing them in print form one of these days.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all answer to your questions. For me, self-publishing worked well, but if a traditional publisher came knocking on my door, I'd certainly invite him in for a cup of tea. Although I've sold many more e-books than paperbacks, I still like having both options. Seeing my book on someone's shelf or in someone's hand makes me smile.

As for novella vs. linked stories, I've read both and have enjoyed both. It's whatever you enjoy writing most. When you're enjoying what you're doing, you'll do it well. Heck... why not do both?

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Susan, I love the image of someone holding my books in their hands or seeing my words on their Kindle, etc. :)

I definitely like the idea of both novellas and linked stories and I probably will try both at some point - so. many. ideas. :)

Nick Wilford said...

The good thing about self-publishing is you're free to do whatever you want - you're not bound by any traditional rules. So I published a novella that was accompanied by short stories. They weren't particularly linked, but you could maybe write a novella and then do short stories that explore more about individual characters or themes. Small presses might be open to different ideas too, but I don't have experience of that. Good luck with whatever you decide!

Cynthia said...

Good luck with whatever you decide to do, Madeline! I myself would be curious to see what you do with a novella.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks, Nick! I'm definitely open to doing some sort of combination of novellas and stories.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I'm curious, too. :)

J.H. Moncrieff said...

Novella. If you pub them as short stories, people will just complain they're too short. Some will complain about that with a novella too, but not as many.

Self-pub: It's extremely difficult to find traditional presses willing to take on a novella or short stories from an author who isn't Stephen King. Some small presses may be interested, but you'll keep more of the money if you do it yourself.

Ebook: In my experience, people are way more likely to buy an ebook from a new-to-them writer than a print copy.

Hope this helps! Good luck.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I made sure my flash fiction collections say what they are - very short stories! - right on the cover so there's no mistaking them for anything else. :)

I'm still on the fence re the publishing aspect, but I know I will definitely do an ebook. Just not sure I want to do print also. I like the idea of holding it in my hand.