Promoting Your Shorter Fiction

SellingFictionWe’ve talked about why you might want to add short fiction to your author’s bag of tricks. Your next challenge: promoting short fiction in today’s slightly wobbly and ever-shifting marketplace. While Smashwords’ Mark Coker says that the highest selling novels on his site come in at about 100K, other industry professionals are all over the map about book length. On one hand, they point to recent successes like Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch (775 pages), but then they blame our culturally reduced attention spans for the desire for shorter books.

I believe in telling the story until it’s done, whatever the length. Sometimes that leaves you with a story shorter than the “standard” novel length. But then it can be tough to find an eBook marketing site that will accept your novellas, short stories, and collections. I cringe a little whenever my novella comes up in the promotion rotation, because I know that my go-to sites like E-Reader News Today, Free Kindle Books & Tips, and The Choosy Bookworm are going to kick me to the curb. No problem. I know it’s a business decision — they’re looking for full-length works. And no doubt you’re looking for a site that will give you a decent return-on-investment, considering it might not be worth pouring a ton of money into promoting a short title.

Perhaps the demand for short fiction from the big sites will change, but for now, here are a few promotional sites that will accept your novellas and short-story collections without charging a ton for the privilege. Please note that this was true as of May 2015.

1. The Fussy Librarian

2. Read Freely

3. ManyBooks.net

4. BookHippo.uk

5. BookGoodies.com

There are some caveats for each of these sites. The work must still meet the posted requirements for number of reviews and overall rating. Book Hippo is a UK-based site, and they state that they prefer you have a respectable number of UK reviews, although I’ve had one featured that only had a few.

Other tactics you might try to get eyeballs on your shorter work include:

1. Targeted Facebook groups. As just one example, author Sherry Molteni runs a Facebook group called Free Short Reads. When/if your short fiction is free…well, you get the idea. (You can find this group, and others, on Martin Crosbie’s promo page.)

2. Clue in your email subscribers. You’re building a list, right? Let your readers know when your work is free, or if you have a collection, offer an excerpt. If you use a site like MailChimp and your subscriber list is shorter than, say, a Kardashian Twitter following, you can’t beat the price.

3. Kindle Singles. Submit your short work (single works, not collections) to Amazon for possible inclusion as a Kindle Single. If approved, you get some extra goodies: more eyeballs and a higher royalty rate

4. Purchase a Goodreads ad. Tailor your tag line to include the dates and price of your promo. Just remember that it could take a day or so for your ad to be approved, so plan accordingly.

5. List your discounted/free work on IU’s Thrifty Thursday. It’s free to add your book to the list on Thursdays and — bonus — share it around to get more views.

Good luck with your promo! If you’ve tried promoting shorter work, what has worked for you?

Author: Laurie Boris

Laurie Boris is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader, and former graphic designer. She has been writing fiction for over twenty-five years and is the award-winning author of four novels. She lives in New York’s lovely Hudson Valley. Learn more about Laurie at her website and her Amazon author page.

12 thoughts on “Promoting Your Shorter Fiction”

  1. Thanks for this, Laurie. Now if we could only find places that would advertise poetry! Oh – and a note about E-reader News Today. I emailed them a few weeks ago asking what they considered to be a novella, and they said anything under 125 pages. The one I was looking to promote was 135, so that was good news.

  2. As you know Laurie (because you were my wonderful editor), I’ve recently published a novelette, The Blue Nightgown. The tips you’ve listed here are very helpful. Thank you.

  3. I love writing – and reading – the short story. Some call them a “commuter read.” Mine can be read in about 10 to 15 minutes, most are humorous and have a twist at the end. I’ve found a good following – folks standing in long lines, sitting in waiting rooms, doing the pick up/drop off thing with the kids. I offer a free story each month and it always results in people wanting more and waiting for the next one. I also see an increase in sales of my other shorts as well as my novels. I’ve attracted new readers and keep the regulars coming back. A win-win for me. Thanks for this interesting piece ~

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