Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My Anthology Experiment

Blessing or Curse Anthology Cover
After sending my Blessing or Curse Anthology to a few beta readers for feedback, I received a comment which set me thinking. She mentioned that the theme, as well as many details in my short stories appeared similar. What might work better would be offering the stories separately.

My cover designer had already done the anthology's cover, and I was pleased with the result. Also, I'd promised everyone the anthology would be a sequel to Forever Young: Blessing or Curse, in my intended Always Young Trilogy. What should I do?

Well, I would not go back on my promise. The only solution would be to go the extra mile. Not only would I release Blessing or Curse as an anthology, but also, the short stories would be available separately. 

I knew this decision would require extra time and effort, and necessitate pushing back the release date. Not only that, being retired, I couldn't afford to pay my cover illustrator for five more covers, though his fees are very reasonable. 

Fortunately, I'd already purchased stock photos for each story. Still, I had to find a way to set up professional looking covers. Covers are not easy and take skill. Was I up to the challenge, and how long would it take to get covers done? 

For the heck of it, I decided to experiment with Amazon's Cover Creator program. I found the program a bit limiting and would even stall at times, yet with some fiddling served the purpose well. I was able to choose from a variety of templates for each title, and from the chosen template I could also pick from additional formats. I must say I was very pleased with the results, which didn't take long to accomplish.. Unfortunately, I can't share the covers until the short stories have been released. Once that happens, you'll see them all over the place!

I'm halfway through the final edits on the fourth of the five stories, and have a few technical points to work out involving a possible Table of Contents for the anthology, then all will be ready. Readers will be able to pick and choose between the five stories, or go for the full load, which will sell at a bargain price. Here's a breakdown of what will be offered:
  • Who'll Mend This Broken Man - Can Forever Young cure Diego's Parkinson's Disease?
  • What I Did For Love - Is Forever Young the way for has-been model, Sherri, to gain fame?
  • Too Much of a Good Thing - Is Forever Young the answer for Ezekial's E.D.?
  • Suspicion - Doormat Dee Dee suspects her husband of cheating. Will Forever Young show him what he's about to miss?
  • For The Love of Dog - Chicago cop, Mike, fears for the loss of job and dog if he fails a physical. Is Forever Young the answer?
It's an exciting experiment, and I'm anxious to see the results. Have any of you made your short stories available separately, as well as in an anthology? Or, maybe you know of someone who did.


Experience the diversity & versatility of Morgan Mandel. For romantic comedy: Her Handyman & Girl of My Dreams. Thriller: Forever Young: Blessing or Curse.  Romantic suspense: Killer Career. Mystery: Two Wrongs. Twitter:@MorganMandel Websites: Morgan Mandel.Com Chick Lit Faves 

17 comments :

  1. This is an interesting concept, Morgan. Is each of these stories a stand-alone that does not depend at all upon the others?

    With a mind-boggling number of books flooding the market every year, a creative approach is almost mandatory if we want ours to stand out. This definitely deserves consideration. Thank you for inspiring me to think...and rethink. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is an interesting experiment, Morgan, and I look forward to seeing the response from readers once all are published. I have an anthology that I put out of three of my short stories, but did not consider also selling them separately. I also do have a number of stand-alone short stories published and had not thought of making an anthology with them. They aren't connected by a theme, which is important for an anthology.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Each short story can stand alone. There are a few references in them, which relate to the first book of the trilogy, but it's not necessary to read the first book to understand the short stories, though of course, I recommended doing so!

    Morgan Mandel
    http://www.morganmandel.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. I took 4 short pieces that had been offered as free reads by my publisher years back. Rights had reverted to me, and I thought about offering them as individual shorts, but decided to bundle them into an anthology. They're all related to my Pine Hills Police series, although I would call only one a true "short story" -- the others are more vignettes, including a humorous piece written from my character's POV as they talk about what their crazy author does to torment them. To be honest, I didn't think three of the four were 'meaty' enough on their own to justify even a 99 cent price. Together, I thought they'd provide a few more Pine Hills stories for readers who'd enjoyed the novels, or might entice new readers to try the novels after reading them. The price for all 4 is 99 cents. I wish you well with your endeavor.

    I have to be honest and say the anthology is probably my all-time worst seller. But it's still one step better than having the stories trapped in my hard drive. I'll also say that I've done zero promotion for it, which might play just a teeeeny part in its lack of sales. :-)

    Terry
    Terry's Place

    ReplyDelete
  5. Very interesting, Morgan, that you're offering them separately and as an anthology. I hope you'll report back about the results you get.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yes, I've done this and I highly recommend it. Before e-books people were saying the short story was dying. And given the length needed to publish a print book, even though I wrote shorts myself, I had to agree. Novels were the length to write at if you wanted your stuff to sell. How many books of shorts hit the bestsellers list?

    The problem is people don't want to pay for things they don't want. If I'm interested in story 2 and 5, I don't want to pay $6.99 for all of them. I'd rather pay $2.99 for 2 and 5 which really only saves me a dollar, but it feels like I'm not wasting money because every penny is spent on something I want. And at the same time the author makes more because more stories sell at the lower price and people get exactly what they want.

    E-books allow us to sell shorts as shorts. And to advertise them as shorts. Where the description is about that one story, not something vague that must apply to every story in the book. Or something super long as it tries to describe 5+ stories.

    I love the versatility of being able to sell shorts separately and bundled in an anthology. Three cheers for technology!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kayci,
      Your comment is very encouraging. I'll have to see if the method works for me as well!

      Morgan Mandel
      http://www.morganmandel.com

      Delete
  7. An anthology is a group of stories by different authors.

    A collection is a a group of stories by ONE author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the feedback, Marilynn.

      I looked it up. According to Dictionary.com, the second definition for an anthology is a collection of selected writings by one author, so I'm safe in using anthology to describe my work. Apparently, either could describe it.

      Morgan Mandel
      http://www.morganmandel.com

      Delete
    2. I'd still recommend you refer to it as a collection because that's the standard term in publishing and among most readers.

      Delete
  8. Short answer: no. But contrats anyway, Morgan, on your anthology ... or collection ... or whatever!

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is an exciting experiment! I'd be very interested in hearing about the results.

    ReplyDelete
  10. It's an interesting concept, but I can't image anyone not buying the anthology. It's a great way to try something out. I don't envy the added workload. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  11. It's good to experiment to find what works the best for you. Good luck with this, Morgan!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks, everyone, for the well wishes!
    I must say I'm still kind of confused about anthology vs. collection. Some definitions show them interchangeable. Also, some mention focus on a particular theme for an anthology, which mine does.

    Morgan Mandel

    ReplyDelete
  13. Sorry I missed this yesterday—nose to the grindstone here. I hope my publisher or agent never suggests I suddenly become a short story writer just to sell my novels! I don't even read short stories. I'll buy a collection, and try, but then set it down and immerse myself in a novel instead. My love is the long form, and I don't think everyone can do both equally well. I envy you your flexibility, Morgan!

    ReplyDelete
  14. We'll find out just how flexible I really am, Kathryn! Anyway, I took Marilynn's suggestion and changed everything to say Collection instead of Anthology. After all, I don't want to seem like an amateur! Of course, the title of this blog post will not be changed, though!


    Morgan Mandel
    http://www.morganmandel.com

    ReplyDelete

The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...