Thursday, June 30, 2011

Rethinking Marketing Strategy

When I started this series, about a year and a half ago, my original plan was to write a series of novellas, which I would bundle together, three or so to a "book." The first piece, The Case of the Haunted Vampire, cooperated, coming in at about 16K words, a bit short for a novella, but close enough.

The Case of the Lost Werewolf Puppy, the second work, was supposed to be about 20-30K words. Unfortunately, that story didn't cooperate, and I realized about 15K words in that I was working on a full novel. Its current word count is about 90K, firmly in the short novel range. I'm not planning to be an epic novel writer, and 80-100K is a good length for a light, genre novel, as this one is.

This all has left me with a bit of a quandary. There simply isn't enough plot to the first novella to allow me to lengthen it. But the second was always intended to be number two in a series. I don't want to market Haunted Vampire as something it isn't, although with e-books, it's difficult to tell how long a book is until you've bought and downloaded it. Deceiving my readership isn't going to win me more readers.

I've been noticing a lot of authors releasing "prequel" novellas and short stories lately as a way to market a longer book in a series. I've decided this will work well for me.

Lost Werewolf Puppy is going to become the actual first book in the series. I'm pretty sure it stands alone, and I've got some beta readers willing to confirm that for me. Haunted Vampire is now a prequel work. Readers will probably want to see how Paul and Dafydd met, and that's the story I tell there. In hindsight, it's not the best story to be first. Lost Werewolf Puppy has lots of action and more character development. It's a good "first" in the series.

My pricing plan remains the same. Haunted Vampire will be .99 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble (where I can't price a book as free), but it will be free on Smashwords, so I can tell people about it as a freebie intro. Lost Werewolf Puppy will be $2.99 everywhere, as will subsequent books. I'll experiment with putting the longer works on sale, and we'll see how it goes.

I think this will work and allows me to adapt to the changing lengths of the stories in the series. I may have a few novella ideas later, and I can always treat them the same way. Offer them up for .99 or free.

And in case you were wondering, the next book is already in progress. About 16K words in two weeks of writing. Obviously, it's going to be another novel, and it's going to be good. We're finally going to find out who Paul really is and how he became a vampire. There might even be a bit of romance in it. ;)

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