What I Learned About Taste From Serial Publishing

I published Storm Front as five separate short stories and a separate novella on Smashwords. The Storm Front short stories were free, so there’s no reason not to ‘buy’ them – except for personal taste. The stories can be distilled down to the basic following: the introduction story, the school play, the weird one that’s more like a character study, the vampire, and the serial killer.

I’ve been monitoring the ‘sales’ of these short stories over several different outlets (Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Diesel, Kobo etc) and some things stand out over and over again.

  • The Calm Before The Storm is the most popular at most outlets. It was the first one published, so that could explain why – it’s had more exposure than the later stories. It’s also the only story not from Tina’s point of view.
  • Take The Stage By Storm is the least popular – which is interesting, because it’s the one that builds off my personal experiences most closely. It’s my most obvious ‘write what you know’ because I was heavily involved in theatre when I was Tina’s age.
  • A Storm is Brewing is the second least popular – I guess people aren’t as intrigued by the Noah romance and the mystery of the story’s demon as they are by…
  • Lost in the Storm, which has that ultra important keyword ‘vampire’ in the description (we all know vampires are still incredibly popular). This story and Weather the Storm tussle it out for second spot after The Calm Before The Storm in most outlets, but sometimes they have more downloads than the first story. They’re by far the most popular stories overall, and I think that has something to do with vampires and serial killers appealing more than school plays and the mysterious third story demon.
  • Lost in the Storm and Weather the Storm are also my longest short stories clocking in at 3200 and 4300 words respectively. That could also have something to do with the download rates. Maybe people think they are getting more ‘value’ if they download a longer story – although each story is technically ultra-short because they fall under 5K, and they’re all free downloads in those outlets.