By Lee Carver
From the author’s POV, is this a train I should hop on? What is the dollar payout, the time investment, and the publicity value?
Novella sets are being released with increasing frequency, often only as e-books due to their length. If five to seven authors contribute 20,000 to 30,000 words each, a print cannot be economically produced. The price per page of a CreateSpace print goes up after 400 pages, and most of the sets (if not all) are Amazon publications. But each author retains the copyright for her novella, so it can be used in other ways, perhaps later in a collection all under her own name.
That would be one of the potential benefits–an individual novel set at some point. Some authors use publication in a set with other authors as a means of publishing something between novels. Keep the fan base fed. Keep your name out there.
What’s the time investment? Some people knock out 20,000 words in a week or so. I hear more often that the call is for 20,000 but the writer gets into the story and can’t wrap it up under 30,000. And since no print book is planned, that’s okay. More “pages” read on a KDP e-book, more money for the group. But it takes longer to compose, which may throw the writer into a time crunch somewhere else. The important thing is to have the novella well written, well edited, and of a quality which favorably represents the main body of that author’s work. So it does take time.
As for the payout, so many novella sets are sold for $0.99 that the new ones feel pushed into that price. That’s not much when sharing 35% with the group. Okay, say you price it higher and then put it on a countdown for a few days so you share 70% of $0.99. But the sets DO sell, some by the thousands. Christmas sets may sell into January and February. Valentine sets may be even less time-limited.
There is definitely a place in the market for novella sets. My questions have more to do with their costs and value to the authors. I have no firm conclusions to dish out, and welcome your discussion.
Lee Carver is once again failing at retirement, a hybrid author in every sense: fiction and nonfiction, traditionally and independently published. She also does freelance editing, formatting, and print book and e-book uploads as well as being a Stephen Minister, alto in the choir, crocheting with Prayer Shawl Ministry, and volunteer pianist, among other activities. Married forty-eight years to a very supportive man, they have two children and five grandchildren. Lee’s novella, A Cordial Christmas, is part of the set A Sweet Noel, which released Nov. 1st. Visit Lee on her website, blog and Facebook.