Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Lengthy Discussion

The publishing industry is shifting once again, much in part to my mega-conglomerate benefactor, Amazon. With the advent of Kindle Unlimited, a more library/Netflix for books type model of reading subscription membership, some authors are poised to see huge gains in readership and revenue, while others stand to lose out. Just where each of us stand remains to be seen.

After poring over the forums to see just how people predict what the consequences of this new delivery model might be, I've come across some interesting theories. Many seem to think that shorter titles will see the greatest benefit in the new system. One such theorist seemed to think that there might be a sweet spot of around forty thousand words that would move to the forefront of profitability. Price and length will begin to have less bearing on profit than presence and engagement. A $.99 book on 35% royalty borrowed under the Unlimited plan would get the same fee as a $9.99 one on the 70% plan. Since payment hinges on a percentage read, (approximately 10% of the work), a 40k word count novella would pay out on a borrow much sooner than a 100k word novel. At the same price.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not writing this series for Amazon. They just happen to still be my exclusive distribution channel. Things change, they could change again just as quickly in the opposite direction. I would, in no way, make a production decision based just on a possibly temporary shift in the way the marketplace works.

However. I'm sitting just under 50k words on book 3. Some authors can churn out that kind of volume in a month. Not I. I'm still not at a stopping point, rather swinging into a new batch of characters, potential allies, and revelations of fresh betrayal. It's feeling like the book could reach its natural end around the 60-65k mark, instead of the 90k target I had arbitrarily imposed.

Would that be a bad thing? A sooner delivery on the third installment. A lower beginning price point. The flexibility to let the story take its course as it will, without needing to pad the word count.

Of course, if that's where the characters take the story, it's where they take it. I'd be a fool to try and stop them, as they've gotten us all this far. Some of my favorite books growing up were the fairly short Lloyd Alexanders, loved them.

Would it be a huge mistake? Would any of you be upset at a shorter book, if it happened that way? I mean, if Sverre decides to go berserk because he finishes the book in an afternoon, I don't think the TSA is going to be a lot of help at that point. That's not what I want, not at all.

Let me know what you're thinking. Use all caps if you need to. I can take it.