Many of my novels (bless them) start out as short stories. If I find that I keep adding interesting characters, and want to continue writing about these characters, I need to rethink the short story, and face the face that it’s a novel. So that’s the primary difference between a short story, and a novel; more characters.
Saying that “a novel has more people in it” isn’t especially useful however. A better answer might be: “the main character is on a journey of change. Over the course of the novel, his worldview changes.” Or you could say: “A novel explores a theme deeply, usually through a character, or characters.”
I shared the story of my ill-fated “let’s not publish new stuff in KDP Select” experience on my Just Write a Book Blog. I definitely lost money with that little experiment. All the ebooks I which I hadn’t enrolled in KDP Select, and which were therefore not available in Kindle Unlimited, are selling well now that I’ve enrolled them.
It’s amazing to me that I’m making many, many sales, just because the ebooks are free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers. Not what I would have predicted, but there it is.
I’ve published several ebooks over this past month, ignoring Select. I always meant to go wide with them, but I got busy, and had no time to publish the ebooks elsewhere.
Last week, I checked the sales on the new ebooks. They seemed slow. With established pen names, you have an audience, so I couldn’t work out why the slowdown occurred. With one ebook, I was entering a new genre. The pen name was completely new. Three weeks after publishing that ebook… crickets. Not a single sale for that ebook. How was that even possible?
Short stories are selling again, and writers are paying attention
Even before Amazon launched Kindle Unlimited, clever authors were using short stories. Not so much as a profit center, but as a trial balloons.
Consider Fifty Shades of Grey. Its genesis was as episodic (serial) fan fiction. I'm not suggesting that E.L. James cold-bloodedly sent up a trial balloon by creating Twilight-esque fan fiction with the idea of turning her stories into bestselling novels.
I am suggesting that what happened with Fifty Shades is worth looking at. Fifty Shades developed a big fan base for E.L. James, even though early versions of the books were available free on the Web. Fifty Shades sold massively both in ebooks and in print, and continues to sell.
Bestselling authors are masters of their scenes. Their prose may be less than elegant, but it delivers an emotional punch. It’s always amusing when unsuccessful writers sneer at bestselling authors, whining that a certain bestselling author “can’t write” and doesn’t “deserve” success. This is nonsense.
As I’ve said many times: let go of the words in your fiction. Focus on FEELING.
If you focus on emotions, literary snobs may sneer, but you can laugh all the way to the proverbial bank. Emotion is delivered in scenes: the action’s happening now, and readers are engaged.
1. Get clients onto a retainer: it’s good for them, and for you
You’ve created a mailing for a customer. You’ve been paid in full. Now what? On to the next client’s project? NO!
Savvy freelance copywriters look at each of their projects, and think about how often the client needs that type of copy. Ask your client how often he sends out mailings. He might send out mailings once a week, once a month, or once a quarter.
Suggest to the client that he puts you on retainer. A retainer’s a fee that’s paid in advance for your services. Most retainers are paid monthly.
New authors think of editing as messing around with words. However, if you’re focusing just on the words when you begin editing, you might as well be rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
Your story comes first. Do you have a story? No matter what you’re writing: a novel, a serial, a novella, a short story, your first concern is that you’ve got a story.
Very loosely, a story’s defined as: “an account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment.” The operative word is entertainment. You might also want to ensure that you’ve got something that passes as a plot, of course.
You want ACTION: provide all the information your visitors need to make a decision
Copywriters get confused about the difference between one-page websites, and sales/ landing pages.
Here are the differences between a one-pager, and a sales page. On one-page website, your “sale” usually doesn’t involve money. Assess how close your visitors are to making a purchase. Your targets may be nowhere near a sale, so the aim of your page is to inform, and perhaps qualify them.
Even if you love outlining, it’s all too easy to lose track in your fiction. If you’ve written a novel or two, it’s happened to you. You’re meant to be writing a romance, yet here you are, a quarter of the way through your novel, and the hero’s nowhere in sight.
You can avoid those disasters by deciding what your readers expect from your genre. In a romance, it’s … the romance. In a mystery… the mystery. In a horror novel, readers want to be scared out of their wits. Genres are labels, and readers expect to consume what it says on the tin.