The book industry is undergoing changes like never before. It’s a brave new world for first-time authors who are finding more and more opportunities to put their work out there for all to see.


Self-publishing and the explosion of e-reader gadgets mean that old market-entry barriers are crumbling for wannabee writers. The sky appears to be limitless


As a result we are seeing all manner of books hitting the e-shelves with new genre descriptions and classifications constantly entering the publishing lexicon. The last time I looked Amazon has 1,384,268 books listed in its Kindle section, of which 833,279 are labelled as non-fiction and 551,963 as fiction.


Don’t ask me what accounts for the missing 363, but if anyone knows I’d be grateful for an answer!


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It matters, but it's not a dealbreaker. If a book is short and the price reflects that, I think readers might be more likely to pick it up as it isn't a big commitment. I think readers will give big books a shot too (especially if they are reasonably priced), but it's a bigger commitment, so it's harder to sell it if there's no recognizable name attached. But I think a short book can definitely sell. You just can't expect to charge the same for it as you would a 500 pager.

In the "real world" of publishing houses, I couldn't sell my short stories.  I offered them a collection, and they all said, "Short stories don't sell."  My stories had their one brief chance, individually, in AHMM, a lifespan of two months, and then they were dead.

But I notice that as electronic books, singly and in the collection, they outsell many of my novels.  And that after I raised all of my prices.  I don't sell anything for 99 cents.   Who knew?

I'll predict a short story renaissance is coming thanks to ereaders. (I'm not the first.)

I think the big surge will be in novellas, or whatever you'd like to call the "tweeners:" too short to be novels, too long to be called short stories. There is no longer an economy of scale in how many pages are to be printed for an e-book, and many more price points. With e-books, size does ot matter at all.

I expect an onslaught of novellas too, Dana, if it hasn't already begun, but only sort of. What they'll mostly be are short novels (complete with subplots and other qualities novellas aren't supposed to possess), short because they won't be entirely fleshed out by the newbies and unskilled authors who'll write them. Not enough attention to character, description and atmosphere, etc., leads to short novels.

At the same time, skilled authors will write them too because, yes, size doesn't matter when digital publishing becomes dominant.


I agree there will some issues wityh writers who don't know how--or when--to flesh out characters or subplots. The good news is, there will be no need to pad a story to get to an "acceptable" word or page count. Ray Banks is writing the hell out of these kinds of stories.

And thank goodness for that. I had to squeeze blood back into the proverbial stone for an agent once only to appease word count. A good reader knows padding when she sees it. A good writer knows how to hide it.

As for me, I threw it all out after the agent said no. I can't hide it from myself. I know what it is underneath.

Alas, my novels are too long to make money.  I have multiple plots going. No padding.  I had to do painful cutting in the past.

My wife just created a novella publishing company -- Spout Hill Press -- because she saw the possibility of bringing the form back. So many writers have great novellas that they have never been able to sell, but it is an absolutely wonderful form. She just put out her first book, In the Footsteps of the Silver King, by Paul Kareem Tayyar, and it looks great. It's not just on Kindle too. There are a number of ways new technology has made the shorter forms possible.

Absolutely.  Its great.  People have come to think that there is something special and intrinsic about certain lengths, but they are really just based on economics of printing on paper.

I was looking at an epublisher called 40K Press... All there stuff is that length.  

It's wide open any more.  Good luck to your wife's project


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