When I was first starting out in my day job, I once had an executive tell me that when I was promoted, I would take the traits I’d both liked and disliked in my previous bosses and use that to make me the supervisor I wanted to be. Not only was she right, but I think that can be applied to my career as a writer.
In the last ten years of writing, I have observed things my colleagues are doing and either decided to try it myself or vowed that’s not for me. And before we go any further, let me be clear in saying I’m not talking about plagiarizing anyone’s work. When I say I borrow ideas from fellow writers, I’m referring to marketing strategies and writing techniques and such.
I’ve recently stumbled across something I’ve already filed under the ‘writing pet peeve’ category. I’ve noticed a few authors who write a series of novels, but each novel is less than one hundred pages. Meanwhile, the price point for these novels is typically set at $4.99. I hear you; $4.99 isn’t that much. Normally I’d agree, but as a reader, it ticks me off that I spend almost five dollars on a story that is not only thirty thousand words or less, but it has a cliffhanger ending. If I want to know what’s happened, I’m left with no choice but to buy the next book.
Okay, yes, I have a choice. Everyone has a choice. I don’t have to buy the next book. I’ve been choosing to because I’ve been invested in the story and I needed the closure. Not anymore. To be honest, I’m a little insulted by this practice. It feels like the author is trying to get more money out of me by taking what’s basically a single novel and stretching it into four or five novellas and selling it for the same price as some of their counterparts, me included, sell full length novels for.
I’m sure authors who do this think they’re keeping readers interested. Maybe that works for some readers, but my patience for this practice has worn thin. Stepping back, it looks as if the authors are going for sales and sacrificing the story. They’re making it about the money and that’s sad.
If an author writes an eighty thousand word full length novel that’s really good, I’m going to be more satisfied than seeing this novel released in four installments that are twenty thousand words each. If the novel is good, I’m going to be inclined to buy more of their work when it’s released, even if that means waiting a bit. When an author is good, she’s worth the wait.
If you’re one of my readers, you can rest assured that I will not be engaging in this practice. Every novel I release will be full length and reasonably priced. I won’t be stretching my stories out to inflate my sales nor will I support other authors who do.