Partners and Crime: Your Opinion?

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Several of you have commented upon and ‘liked’ the little bit of unfinished serial flash fiction I’ve published on this blog, Partners and Crime. That is actually quite gratifying, considering I started it on a whim, with no real concept of where it would go. Eventually I stretched it to three ‘parts’ and roughly 3,000 words, and of course it’s still unfinished, ending on a little bit of a cliffhanger. Partly that is because I’ve been working on other things, and partly it’s because the next natural step in the story seemed likely to get somewhat more explicit than I thought I could get away with on a blog not flagged ‘mature.’

Actually, that’s another thing I’d like to get some opinions on, too. Namely, just how awful is it to have WordPress flag your blog as ‘mature?’ From the documentation, it seems like it would make it essentially unsearchable and unfindable except for those who know the URL exactly (i.e., no Google search will find it, and it won’t show up in WordPress Reader — is that true?). Since that seems like it would be death for a blog in which an author is trying to promote her work, I don’t think I want to go there, but it’s certainly possible I’m misunderstanding how this works.

So, for now at least, while I certainly do get a little bit steamy here (or at least I hope I do), there’s a blurry line I’m trying not to cross.

The main question I have at the moment, however, is about publication. Although I am working on a longer story, in novel format (a little bit of which I excerpted for you earlier today), I am considering taking a little bit of time to finish up Partners and Crime, perhaps rounding it out ultimately to about 8,000 or 10,000 words, and then publishing it. Really publishing it, I mean, as in making it available for purchase on Amazon as an e-book.

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Would you pay 99 cents for an 8,000 word story? I know plenty of authors have short pieces out there, and they seem to do very well. Personally, I’d be fine with that, as long as I knew I was buying a shorter piece up front, so yes, it would be clear to everyone just what they were getting.

Another option is to enroll the story in Kindle Unlimited. This would mean that Kindle Unlimited members would be able to read the story for free, but for everyone else it would need to be priced at Kindle Select’s minimum of $2.99 (not counting the five free days per quarter). Matthew Kadish wrote a very interesting article recently about author marketing strategies around Kindle Unlimited, and from his findings, it seems like Partners and Crime could be a good fit.

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It’s hard for me to justify charging $2.99 for an e-book that isn’t at least novella-length. So, this would really be marketed at Kindle Unlimited readers. Of course, I would make a point of highlighting the free days for everyone else.

Kindle Select also requires exclusivity, but that shouldn’t be a problem. Some have interpreted this to mean you can’t even have excerpts on your website, but I don’t think this is what was intended by the clause. Even if that’s true, the story will no doubt change a bit in editing to make it a little less episodic than its present form, plus about 70% of it isn’t even written yet.

What do you think?

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15 thoughts on “Partners and Crime: Your Opinion?

  1. 99 cents for an 8-10k story sounds reasonable. There are people who don’t do the Kindle Unlimited thing (myself included), so pricing it at this point would allow you to reach the widest audience. I’m very curious to hear people’s thoughts on the “Mature” flag, as I’m considering a major blog content and organizational overhaul for the near future.

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      • Besides streamlining the way I organize my short stories (adding menus, categorizing them by length, etc.), I’ve been thinking about the sort of content I want to have available for visitors. Like you said, having one’s blog tagged as “Mature” can be detrimental. I’m also planning on removing the taboo story I have posted, since it isn’t along the same vein as my other work. Some people rock those controversial niches and that’s great. While I felt like I had to write that story and love the characters, I don’t consider it my canon.

        At the same time, I’ve been reading articles about aspiring novelists who spend a lot of time writing short stories as a “warm up” to longer work (here’s one blogger’s opinion: http://mykecole.com/blog/2013/03/why-i-dont-write-short-stories-except-when-i-do). Apparently, it’s the equivalent of training for the hundred meter dash when what you really want to do is run a marathon; they require different skill sets. If my goal is to be a professional author, then I’m wondering if that’s where I should be putting my energies, not chasing anthology calls or writing shorts for online publishing credits. I could spend the next five months working on 5-7 short stories for various outlets that I could then list on my blog and which *might* look good to agents, or I could get to work on a book I actually want to publish.

        The direction I choose to take will decide the fate of my blog. If I decide to write shorts, I’ll have more content to post on the site. If I decide to focus on novels and just write the occasional poem or blog post, there will be less web content, but I’ll have a finished piece a lot sooner (the characters for my next book are starting to encroach on The Cabin). Maybe it’s about finding a balance: working on fewer short projects and taking an extra month to flesh out novel-length work.

        So much to think about. 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I was actually going to ask if you’d talked to Tamsin about it! She’s got the knowledge on the publishing end. As for the “mature” flag on WP, I spent a great deal of time weighing the same question, (as are a lot of sex writers and erotica authors right now). My site was never flagged, but I was often worried that it would be. Ultimately, I decided to move to self-hosted to avoid the entire issue, so now my site is on Wordpres.org, with a hosting company that is friendly to adult content. If you’d like more info on that end of things, just drop me an email and I can tell you what I know!

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    • Tamsin sent me a very thoughtful email, in which she laid out a few options to consider and the advantages she saw in them. She also said the same thing, pretty much, that you just did about the move to self-hosting. I don’t think that I’m ready for that, or really in need of that, at least not just yet. For now, I’ll play within the boundaries and enjoy the easier management, ready-made community, and SEO that WordPress.com can offer, and if later it starts to feel too restrictive, then I’ll reconsider. One thought I had would be to have a secondary “sub”-blog, which could be appropriately flagged as mature — or self-hosted — and with a landing page with all the warnings, and put the more risqué stuff over there with a link to it from here, the “main” blog. Maybe this would be a way to get the best of both worlds? However, not unlike Rachel above, I could do with getting this blog better organized first before adding another to keep under control. 😉

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      • I think a mature sub-blog sounds like a great compromise. There’s so much to play around with even on WP.com that it makes a lot of sense to take your time and only make the self-hosted move when, and if, you want to take it on. I’ve got to admit that I’m happy I made the move, but there’s no way I would have wanted to even a year ago!

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  3. I won’t pretend to know anything about publishing or novella length things… I do know that Bree self-published short stories on Smashwords. They are currently free because it’s too much of a headache trying to organise IRS stuff to get paid in real money when you live in NZ…
    Side note, you can write the filthiest things inside your book you put on Smashword but god forbid you put a tasteful shot of a butt on your cover!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Partners and Crime: Status Update | Lace Winter

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