Earlier this morning I answered a question over at kboards about writing short stories. Someone had just finished writing a full length novel spy thriller and had also written two short stories about the same spy and wanted to ask the folks at kboards if anyone thought that it would be worthwhile publishing those stories along with the novel as a sort of a promotional tool.
Kind of like that first taste of crack.
Well – I have actually written short stories AND released them – but these days I tend to work more on my novel-length manuscripts. The novels sell a whole lot faster and make me more money.
Money is important.
I don’t make nearly enough of it off of my writing just yet – but I’m working on it.
I answered the question this way.
I suggested that he use the two short stories as mailing list freebies.
Set them aside and use them as opening chapters to a bigger novel. That would work well with a spy thriller. Think about every James Bond movie you’ve ever seen. Most of them start with James kicking KGButt in some desolate part of the plant where they happen to keep ski-jets and helicopters. Then – after he kicks KGButt and trashes a few ski-jets and escapes in the helicopter, most likely while catching a falling KGB stormtrooper in the whirl of his helicopter rotors he gets a call from Judi Dench who tells him that the brother of that pureed stormtrooper has just stolen a truckload of atomic pinball machines and is driving that truck straight towards Fort Knox.
Shoot – I think I’ve just scripted my next novel.
All right, so I tried to find a picture of Daniel Craig looking mildly surprised but I think that his mother must have left the fridge door open way too close to his cradle. Talk about your frozen features!
The main thing is get back to work on Book 2. Then jump into Book 3. You get Book 3 out there – THEN kick the tires and the light the fires and bring out the biggest promotional atomic pinball that you can find and launch that sucker to the moon. Once that Book 1 is funneling all of those readers into Book 2 and 3, Fort Knox will most likely call and ask you to come and store your bullion in their basement.
What I have done is to release a collection of short stories to help promote a full-length novel. I am talking about BIGFOOT TRACKS which is three separate stories set in the very same universe as my full length Bigfoot novel BIG HAIRY DEAL. And, according to some of the e-mails that I have received over the last year some folks actually DID buy BIGFOOT TRACKS and then made tracks on over to BIG HAIRY DEAL.
So it CAN work – so you might also think about writing a few more short stories and releasing it as a collection – OR – maybe releasing that collection as part of a box set of the first three novels. That is, BUY THIS BOX SET OF MY FIRST THREE SPY-THRILLER NOVELS AND RECEIVE MY COLLECTION OF NEVER-READ BEFORE SPY-THRILLER SHORT STORIES or some such gimmick.
In any case – I would DEFINITELY not make the short stories a priority right now. For now I would work on getting those next two novels out there. A set of three is going to be a lot easier to promote than that one lowly FIRST-IN-A-PLANNED-TRILOGY novel.
So that is my two bits on that question.
yours in storytelling,