A very brief interview with an author and a traditional publisher I listened to yesterday got me thinking. (I can't find the link - I'll post it later if I do).
One of the men being interviewed was a midlist author who issued his languishing manuscripts solo. Neither his publisher nor any other he contacted would have them, despite his better than average midlist success, because they were not in his regular genre. So he put them out himself - timing the launch very cleverly with Christmas sales in 2010, when we all know there was a Kindle explosion - and he sold something like 7,500 ebook copies over the holidays.
|Courtesy of KAM|
Now this is exciting. I can hear you getting restless. I can see you reaching for your keyboard. I'm reaching for mine. The prospect of being able to write and sell short novels opens up new possibilities. Imagine being able to try shorter lengths. This opens doors to experimenting with new genres, new audiences, and topics whose research and writing time seems daunting for a 125,000 word volume. The publisher on the interview agreed the extra-long novel is likely to disappear, because of publishing constraints, financial restrictions and reader habits.
The author on the interview said people with electronic devices no longer perceive novel length to be a factor. It does not represent value for money in the same way it does when viewing a paperback in a shop. Readers purchase eBooks differently - the length of the novel is not immediately visible, and matters less than quality, author name, or genre. People with electronic devices read on small screens, in shorter bursts of attention. Shorter novels, novellas and the short story are packages that suit the new limited attention spans readers can devote to fiction.
|Pic from shabbyblogs.com|
Think what this can do for the serial writer. Think what it could do for the author's time, and the reader's ability to purchase a series rather than a single volume.
* Yay! I have remembered - his name is Stephen Leather and you can see another interview he did here.