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The benefits of short read fiction for indie-authors!

Hey everyone, Neil here again. Welcome back to HQ. And what I want to talk about today is the benefits of writing short little fiction books as opposed to writing the full traditional length novel. Now the problem with the full traditional length novel it’s between 80,000 and 120,000 words in length. And whatever way you look at it, that is a shedload of work. One hell of a lot of writing. And then of course, when you’ve finished it you’ve got all the costs associated with the editing process as well that go into that. So that means that even before you put your book to market, you’ve invested a lot of time, a lot energy and probably a lot of money in this book. The problem is, if your marketing then falls flat on its face, you’re left with nothing. But you’ve invested all that time, energy and money, and you get nothing back back in return.

Now wouldn’t it make far more sense, to take that same time and energy, and spilt it up into smaller chunks. So as opposed to writing 100,000 words in one book, write five books with 20,000 words. Wouldn’t that make far more sense? Of course it would? You’re spreading the risk!

***In the video I now burn my mouth on a coffee***

The casino analogy

It’s always best to spread the risk, so that means you don’t drink a hot coffee as soon as it arrives. Think about going into the casino with 100 dollars and going on the roulette table. You can take that 100 dollars and you could slap it all on 17 black. Now you may win, and if you win you’re going to win big. Problem is, the chances are you’re probably not going to win, yeah? The ball’s going to land somewhere else. If you took that 100 dollars though, and you spread it up over a number of different numbers, the chances that you’re going to win are going to increase considerably. It’s exactly the same with books. It’s exactly the route you want to be taking.

The outdated idea

So this idea that short books are somehow inferior to novels is a little bit old-fashioned, a little bit outdated. The reason I say that is that, firstly, Amazon have got their own short reads chart now so they are recognising the importance and desire from their customers to actually want to buy these short read books. And I’ll come on and talk about that in a little bit. But these short read charts they vary from … something that’ll take about 15 minutes to read all the way up to two and a half hours, I think is the frame. So Amazon are recognising that more and more of these short books for fiction are coming out there into the market place. The other people that are recognising that these short books are taking off, are big name authors.

Big name authors WRITE short reads!

There are so many big name authors now that are producing little books in between their main novels. Because they know it takes such a long time to write a novel, they don’t want to keep their fans waiting, yeah? So they produce a little book.

Alison Weir, she’s a historical fiction writer. She’s running a series about Henry the eighth’s wives. Each of the books is, you know, big and chunky. I think she releases about one a year in this ¬†series, but in between each she writes a little story, a little short one that is like a bridge between the two books in the series.

So if the big name authors are getting in on this, if Amazon are already producing these charts because they know it’s what readers want, then why aren’t you doing it?

People read book after book after book

The vast majority of what we publish are short read fiction books. And if you do your research in the first place and start working in genres, niches that have a high demand where the customer base are hungry, you will find that as you start releasing these books immediately you start getting emails in from readers demanding to know where your next book is.

Actually, I was pretty astounded by the number of books that some people seem to read. In one genre I choose to do a little bit of research. It’s a very small, very niche genre. And I actually wrote to our email list and said, “Hey guys. I’m just doing a bit of research. Can you tell me how many books that you read in a week?” And literally about 10% of the email list replied, it’s not a massive list so I got back 70-80 responses or something along those lines. I was blown away by the number of books that these people read. I think the highest number of books that were read in a week was something silly like 33 books

What has driven this phenomenon?

The point is because these books are so short, they can be read and enjoyed in one sitting. So somebody can go to bed, they can read for an hour, an hour and a half and finish the entire book, yeah? And they love it and then next time they start a brand new story. ¬†They start something new. What has driven this phenomenon is the Kindle Unlimited programme, where people pay Amazon a set sum every month, I think it’s around 10 dollars, and they can read any book that’s enrolled in the Kindle Unlimited programme for no extra cost.

The way you get paid is that you get paid per page read. And that is where the vast majority of our income comes from. It comes from these page reads. Every single month we have about two or three million pages read of our books. Plus, of course, the money from the sales as well. But the vast majority of the money comes from these all-important page reads. So if you’re not doing short fiction, if you’re concentrating on the longer format and it isn’t working for you, then switch. Start doing short little books, get the books out there.


The other thing of course to consider is that if you’ve only written one 100,000 word novel, you’ve only got the visibility … or in other words pairs of eyes, going on that one title.

If you’ve got written ten 10,000 word short books, your presence online is going to be far greater because you’ve got ten books that people might end up stumbling across.

The other great thing is that people when they’ve read one of your books, then immediately go and download the next one in your series or in your collection.

So give it a go. If longer format fiction hasn’t worked for you, have a blast at short read fiction and let me know how it goes for you.

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