How Long Should Your Novel Be?

I’ve written about this some years ago, but I ran across a great article detailing the history of novel lengths by Dean Wesley Smith. I’ve also praised the work and website of Dean Wesley Smith so check out his article here.

With the source being acknowledged, I would also like to add my two cents about novel lengths. In this new world of publishing digitally I feel that novels don’t need to be the lengths that you find in the brick and mortar. The reason being is you really have no reference of length from device to device. All you have is the speed of the reader. Sure, there are stories that are extremely short, but I am referring to a written story that has the intent of being a novel not a short story. In a way it is all about perception. “Am I getting my monies worth when I buy this book?” And for the publisher it was all about that…how they are going to justify the novel price. We as consumers also feel that we want more for our money. Am I going to buy this 300 page fantasy, or this 700 page fantasy adventure? More, in most cases, is better when we are holding it in our hands and our eyes are drawn to the magical art work on the cover. This, as Dean Wesley Smith pointed out, caused the story to suffer as the publisher would cause the writer to fill space in order to meet the word quota.

Now I’m not suggesting or saying that long novels are bad, but what I am saying is that a 40K word novel can be just as good as a 100K novel, and we as writers should not allow the old way of thinking guide us to writing a story that isn’t as good because of all the word padding. Dean lists in his article a number of novels that were around 40K words that would not have been published if they were held to the modern publisher demands. I never imagined that some of those stories were indeed so short! It just proves to show that it’s all about substance and not quantity.

Michael A. Stackpole has also written about this in his past posts and he laid out a brilliant pricing structure to help the buyer/reader understand what value they were purchasing. This is not his exact structure, but for the sake of this post: 5-20K word story might be .99cents. 20K-50K might be 1.99$, and it would scale up that way to any story over 100K would be 5.99$. Now this was just an example, the beauty of self publishing is you have the full control of what you price your work. However, the patron has a feel of what value they are buying when they purchase a story. They can expect a lower cost to match the quantity. Value, however can have no price, as no word limit can equate to the quality of a story. There are plenty of good and bad stories out there at all price ranges.

Pricing structure has been blogged about by many authors and there are many ways suggested to work out a price for a novel, but I must add that many authors (Indie Authors), in my opinion, have ruined it for the rest of us. Too many novels for .99 or 1.99$! I’ve also written about this in the past. Sure a good story will rise to the top, but most of us, if we are honest browse Smashwords, or Kindle bookstore and look for ratings and price to determine if a buy is worth our money. Established authors from the old publishing have an established following, if they were successful, and many are willing to pay the 6.99 or higher for their work because we love that writers stories. I do this with Terry Brooks. But if I were to come across my name on Amazon and see Dark Moon Shadow for the same price I might not buy it due to the unknown aspect. I don’t blame anyone who would do the same because I am also hesitant to spend a higher price for an unknown. But what has happened is that many of us unknowns need to get noticed so we low ball our price as a way to get someone to take a chance on our work, and what we really have done is establish a new mark for unknowns. Unknown Indie Authors are now 1-2$ products unless we can justify a higher mark with a ton of 4 to 5 star ratings. Way to go Indie community!

I bring this up to say a good pricing structure helps set a great standard for everyone, and allows us to break away from the low to high word bondage and just focus on good story writing no mater the length.

Star rating is a whole different topic I will tackle soon. So stay tuned.

Check out my short stories for YA, and my short Paranormal stories in my bookstore and maybe take a gamble on my Fantasy novel Dark Moon Shadow.

Happy Reading my friends.

Vampire Down by Steve Montano

Today is the release of the final book in the Blood Skies Series titled Vampire Down. If you are into Vampires, but seek a fresh and unique approach to this genre, then Steve Monatano’s Dystopian apocalyptic world will feed your desire for a thrilling Vampire story. Get your copy today! vampire_down_final_rgb (1) AMAZON NOOK SMASHWORDS STEVE MONTANO If you love fantasy as well as Vampires then check out DARK MOON SHADOW by Robert Penner. Plenty of Wizards, Magic, Elves, Gnomes, and fantastic fantasy adventure!

Fantasy Creatures Part 2

In part 2 of Fantasy Creatures we are going to study an often misunderstood legend:
FAERIES

Once again I am going to plug and refer to The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythical Creatures for much of my learning that I am passing on to you. Of course who hasn’t heard of a Fairy? So parts of this are from my own understanding.
Beautiful, female, wings, and tiny. Can anyone say Tinkerbell? Sure the fairy is a main part of many fantasy stories and lore, but much more than the Peter Pan’s Tink that many of us grew up understanding a fairy to be.
Able to step back and forth between worlds the Faeries pay many visits to man, but if you are man, be very careful not to enter into their world. For if you do and are lucky enough to return it is believed that you would lose all desire for earthly things and fall into a massive depression resulting in death. Or you might find that but for a moment in their world could result in a chasm of time passing in our own world finding that all your loved ones have already died of old age. Legend has it that one could stumble into a Faeries world by finding a door on the side of a hillside or be lured in by the sweet sound of music.
Faeries are skillful magicians, shape shifters, and healers. They can transport to a distant location instantly with the click of their fingers. Often a fairy will lend their help to man, but do so with caution as not to cross or make one angry because their wrath and revenge can be cruel. For this reason it was good to never mention them by name, but instead refer to them as “The gentle people” or “The good neighbors.”
There are instances of man and fairy joining in marriage, but more times than not the relationship would end in sorrow as the fairy would long for her world and inevitably return.
Lastly, a gift from a fairy was sure to bring you wealth, but never happiness as often there is a price to accepting such a gift and if not adhered to properly would result in dire consequences.
Not quite the image we are used to is it? You can blame the Celts as the Faerie lore is believed to have come from them.
I use an image of a fairy in my book Dark Moon Shadow called an Eilthelmin, a shape shifting bounty hunter. To read more about Eilthelmin secure a copy of Dark Moon Shadow. Part 3 will explore more fantastical fantasy creatures. See you then.

Protectors of the Realm: Free Back-Story Download

Protectors  In the shadow of my May 2nd release of DARK MOON SHADOW I’ve written a three chapter short story, back-story for all to sample who may be interested. This pre-tale will explain and prepare potential readers of Dark Moon Shadow. It’s totally FREE and available for any device through Smashwords. Download a copy today!

And be sure to come back after May 2nd and pick up your own copy of Dark Moon Shadow!

For Fantasy Readers!

Greed and E-Book Pricing

Did you get your money yet? If you haven’t heard about this yet…stop and read…HERE.  I received a few bucks credited to my Kindle account already. I guess Apple is next? It will be interesting to see if, and or what they will pay out. If this doesn’t make you want to self publish and take control of your own work then I don’t know what will? The dishonesty of some publishers is astonishing, yet not surprising. (I will not include all publishers…because I really don’t know, but there are quite a few in this law suite). As if eliminating retail books was not enough they wanted to drive the price of e-books upwards. Greed is all around these days. I feel the price of e-books that aren’t from Indie Authors are too high as it is. I love Terry Brooks books, and I have purchased some in e-book form simply because I love his writing. I paid just as much as a paperback print for my invisible copy made up of electrical pulses. Not really a fair trade. This is not Terry Brooks’ fault, yet he deserves the profit I won’t deny that. It’s the publisher’s greed! No paper, ink, glue, distribution cost and yet it cost the same? Huh? Seriously? Why should I pay to cover all the material cost when there is none? Unless it is a sure desire to reward the author, and his/her work is worth the price then I am o.k. with paying more. In most cases a patron is exploring and taking a risk. I have posted in the past on the pricing of e-books and what they should be. Pricing should be based on the amount of words written. Dean Wesley Smith wrote a post on e-book pricing last year…HERE…he states that $5.99-$7.99 is a good price for e-books. There is a fine line of under pricing and saying that your book is worthless instead of worth. I do agree with that part of Deans article. However, $7.99 and above is a little high for me. One thing for sure is that Indie Authors have total control of their own work and pricing. The public will have the final say if the price is right, and if the work is good.
My Fantasy Novel Dark Moon Shadow is up for release in early May! Be sure to get a copy!

Breakout Books by Apple

I haven’t been to the ibookstore app in quite some time until today because of a blog I was reading here: http://www.teleread.com/ I have written critically about apple and the ibookstore because of the high prices and mostly because they make it so difficult for the indie author to publish. Save yourself the trouble and have Smashwords do it for you. I have to eat some crow now because I was blown away by what I saw in the ibookstore. Apple transformed a clunky, hard to find books, and over priced online book store into a gem of eye candy. Best of all Apple is now featuring Breakout Books from self-published authors. Credit to Smashwords for being the source for the bulk of those books. I also noticed a ton of e-books from $3.99 and lower. This is great news for us Indie Authors. Amazon Kindle is still my favorite, but I am excited that Apple is making it easier and better for us aspiring authors who choose to make it our own way.

I see this as a major breakthrough in the power play against traditional publishing and self publishing. Although I am still not 100% clear on how the Breakout Books are selected, but in any case they are still from self published authors and that, for me, is a good sign. However, (taking off my rose-colored glasses) this could be another way of Big Powerful Company trying to control. “Just saying.”

Either way, publishing is ever-changing and it is up to us to stay alert and ahead of what is going on out there. Most importantly, if you are an Indie Author, keep writing and putting out good material.