Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Pace Quickens

Last year, for a host of reasons, I began chucking my old stories up on Kindle.

Among my goals:

To make old/impossible-to-find stories available again
The obsessive need to massage sentences and clarify ideas
To stand on the brink of a thirty-year career, assessing accomplishments and failures
And the potential influx of cash (the eternal optimism of the writer)


What was supposed to be a steady, deeply responsible pace soon turned into a life-consuming industrial operation involve a fat percentage of my neurons and an increasingly stiff pointing finger. Sixty-nine stories were offered for sale. Which would be a perfectly fine life's output for many authors. But that's only a little more than one-fifth of my total output, and there's several million words still waiting to know the universe as a mobi file.

With the beginning of 2019, I fell into a once-every-Saturday routine. My priorities included better known titles and items that I felt needed a second or third chance. Also, there was advice given by those old gods, Whim and Caprice. But 52 stories every year leads to intriguing troubles. If I wrote and sold just 10 stories every year -- an average output for me -- then 2019 would put me only 42 ahead in this undertaking. And undertaking is a useful world. I'm more than sixty years-old. Fine and fit, but two people who I know well have been in significant accidents in the last year. My wife, who got smacked by a Red Cross Bloodmobile. (And survived, yes.) And an old running buddy who got smacked by a tree limb during a snow storm. (And survived, with a new hip.) Anyway, I got panicky and decided to move faster with my publishing. Once a day and for several weeks, and that's why there was a big surge on Reed's Author Page.

And now, another pause has taken hold.

I have a new plan. My original priority was to put up my Great Ship stories along with a few classics/favorites. I did them as individuals because:

It was easier to handle single titles
I was borrowing the iTunes model of monetizing individual songs
My prices weren't excessively high. .99 cents for a short, 1.99 for a novelette, and 2.99 for each of my novellas -- which are often my strongest works

But now I've reached the point where many of the best standalone titles are already available. With a few exceptions, we're getting deep in the long grass. Some of what remains are adequate professional efforts, and many are very brief. There are also some strong beasts that passed unnoticed when first published, often because they were in obscure markets or focused on difficult themes.

Now what I've decided -- but not accomplished yet -- is to put out volumes with a dozen stories each. For a bit more money, maybe 3.99 US dollars. And then we'll see if that kind of offering leads to increased sales from the individual titles.

At least this is my general thinking in mid-April 2019.

I have some streets to cross before I make up my mind.

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