Sunday, June 17, 2012

Should you self-publish short fiction?

I only have half a dozen published short stories to my name, mostly because I'm too lazy (busy) to finish off the hundred or so gathering dust on my hard drive. Those six published stories earned me a one-off payment of $50-$100 each, which varied depending on the length and the particular market.

However, in October last year I put an original 8000 word Hal Spacejock short story on, and Smashwords. Was it worth it? Read on.

I've just been putting the finishing touches to a nifty little program* which takes those monthly Amazon sales spreadsheets and allows you to extract all the data and generate new (and much more useful) reports. For example, I had no idea how many copies Hal Spacejock: Framed had sold, nor how much royalty it had earned me. Now I do.

Since it went up on Amazon, last October, Framed has sold 252 copies at 99c each, plus another couple of dozen via Smashwords. My royalties work out to a smidge under $100. In other words, about the same as all my other short stories. Whoopie-doo.

But hang on a minute. What about the next six months? The 12 months after that? The next five years? What if I finish off 50 short stories and put them all online? Offered them in collections, both ebook and paperback?

Bear in mind I have almost one million words of unused, unfinished Hal Spacejock scenes sitting on my hard drive, many of them self-contained vignettes which I cut from the novels. I love writing new stuff, but turning a few of those scenes into short stories and novellas makes sense. First, because it gives fans something new, second because Amazon and Smashwords are the perfect market for shorts and novellas, third because it increases my Amazon footprint, and finally because they're not making any money sitting on my hard drive.

You'll find my Amazon footprint here.

* I will be making this program available soon

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

1 comment:

Boddaert said...

I agree Simon. The more your name is out there, the wider your readership is likely to get.