Partners and Crime: Status Update

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You may recall that I decided to expand upon the flash fiction story Partners and Crime with an eye toward publishing it as a short novelette (Partners and Crime: Your Opinion?). Earlier today I finally finished writing the rough draft; yes, I know, I’m a horribly slow writer!

Partners and Crime started as a standalone piece of flash fiction, intended to be roughly 1,000 words. Somehow, though, the story just grew, ultimately expanding to three installments, or roughly 3,000 words, and it still wasn’t finished (you can still read those original three installments here, here, and here). It was then I thought that perhaps I should do more with this story, perhaps bring it up to about 8,000 words, and make it available on Amazon.

The rough draft finished at 11,761 words.

I am still undecided about the exact strategy I will follow. In the poll I presented earlier the votes were strongly against going with Kindle Unlimited and instead for making the story 99¢ on Amazon. However, a grand total of six votes is probably not statistically significant. 🙂 That poll is still open, by the way; you can find it via the Your Opinion link near the start of this post.

Why not publish the entire thing, like I was doing before, on my blog? Well, let’s just say that after Part 3 it became obvious this story was going to get considerably more explicit, and I wasn’t quite sure I was ready to do that on the blog. It still remains possible I may decide to keep it free, perhaps posting it to a site like Literotica or Wattpad (neither of which I have any experience with), or by making it free on Smashwords/B&N/Kobo, etc, which then by extension can allow it to become free on Amazon (normally Amazon requires a minimum price of 99¢, but they will price-match other sites if it’s found to be lower, including if it’s free).

However, part of this is an experiment and a learning experience on my part. I have a longer, novel-length work that I’ve been working on (which I’ve discussed here previously), and before I’m ready to publish that, I’d like to get my feet wet, so to speak, and make sure I understand the process. A shorter-length work seems like a good way to go about that.

With that in mind, I may use Partners and Crime as a vehicle for trying different strategies, which could mean that it may spend time in KU as well as time not in KU, and it may spend time at different price points, including free, 99¢, and $2.99 (though it would never go higher than this, not for a work this short). It may variously be available on multiple platforms, and it may at times be available only through Amazon.

Rest assured, however, that as a reader of my blog you will always know in advance when the story is going to be free or at a discount.

So, when is all this going to happen, and what’s next? Well, what I have now is a rough draft. I need to go through it, start to finish, in detail, and probably in several passes. There will be revisions. There may be some rewriting. I will have another set of eyes look it over, and that will probably result in more revisions and rewriting. At the same time, I have to explore options for a cover design (no idea, yet), and, of course, determine my publication and marketing strategy as outlined above.

Short answer: I don’t know. Hopefully not too much longer, but obviously this is still going to take a bit of time. My guess is it won’t take as much time as it took me to write (three months for 12K words? Really?). At least, I hope not.

Ah, some of you clever readers caught on to something else I said, and I hear you clamoring for more details. I said explicit. How explicit, you ask? Heh. Well, to find out, you’re going to have to buy the story. Or download it. Or whatever. Let’s just say that while I have gained a bit of a reputation for sweetness in my stories posted online, P&C is, um, less sweet. More spice.

But still romantic, I hope.

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In other news, I will be traveling for the next week, and will be mostly unplugged during that time. Be good, my dears, and I will see you upon my return!

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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?