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Thread: Long burn or short burn books


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wellhouse

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Registered: 03/03/11
Long burn or short burn books
Posted: Mar 7, 2017 10:28 PM
 
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I have been selling on KDP since 2011 and I now have 6 novels for sale. These books have never been "best sellers" but they have been consistent sellers and still sell today. All rank between 20,000 and 200,000 - rarely higher and rarely lower but that depends on the time of year. I write historical and contemporary "almost literary" fiction. I have never done any marketing. Given that, in 2011, I had few expectations I would describe myself as a "mildly" successful long-burn author. Needless to say, I do not agree with those authors who claim that putting out as many books as possible is the road to success. What sort of author are you? What is your opinion?
Natasja

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Registered: 01/26/16
Re: Long burn or short burn books
Posted: Mar 8, 2017 3:53 AM   in response to: wellhouse in response to: wellhouse
 
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Given the sheer number of books on amazon, I'm happy if I'm in the 50,000 range, and I try to publish across a range of genres and get a new book out every 3 to 6 months.
Rick A. Mullins

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Re: Long burn or short burn books
Posted: Mar 8, 2017 4:46 AM   in response to: wellhouse in response to: wellhouse
 
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Wellhouse,

My first attempt was from '99 to 2003 when I published four books through the vanity press, 1st Books (Now Authorhouse), without 'learning' the craft. When I saw how bad they were I asked to 'reprint' and was told it was at the full price of over $700 for each so I abandoned them.

I spent the next eleven years writing and rewriting and 'learning' the craft. I finished seven books and in 2014 started releasing one every 2 to 3 months leading up to retiring in 2015. I don't advertise and had eleven books published by November of '16 and bounced between $300 and $500 per month. Then I started having some problems with cover art and haven't published since, and my sales (including KU pages read) began to fade, dropped to $100 every three or four months for the last two checks, and is down to three sales per month with another three in pages read for the past month.

My artwork is back on track (new artist after medical problems cost me my other one) and I have my newest ready to publish this month and another ready for late June or early July depending on whether the sales stay steady, and another ready for October. I currently have six finished novels in various stages of editing and hopefully the steady releases (plus my FB groups) will renew my sales. I might even attempt some advertising and try a few 'dead tree' versions later this year ... :)

~RAM
dreamquestbooks.com
Diana Persaud

Posts: 2,780
Registered: 10/07/13
Re: Long burn or short burn books
Posted: Mar 8, 2017 8:58 AM   in response to: wellhouse in response to: wellhouse
 
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If you define successful as quitting the day job and writing full time, then yes, successful self published authors write at least 4 novels a year. I know of one who writes a novel a month and has done very well for herself.

The more (good) books you have, the better your chances of earning a living.

ETA: I don't see how writing MORE books could possibly hurt an author's earnings.

Edited by: Diana Persaud on Mar 8, 2017 8:59 AM
uncle1282

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Re: Long burn or short burn books
Posted: Mar 8, 2017 9:07 AM   in response to: wellhouse in response to: wellhouse
 
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I just published the 19th novel in my Mike Angel Mystery Series that includes real history as well as fiction. I'd say it's bunk that the more books you have the better. People either like and buy what you have or they don't. The hardboiled PI sub-genre may not be the most popular but it's one I love to read and it's fun as heck to write. I never look at rankings, since I'm ranked #1 at home.
writerbn

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Registered: 05/12/12
Re: Long burn or short burn books
Posted: Mar 8, 2017 12:05 PM   in response to: wellhouse in response to: wellhouse
 
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wellhouse wrote:
Needless to say, I do not agree with those authors who claim that putting out as many books as possible is the road to success. What sort of author are you? What is your opinion?

It depends entirely on: A) genre; and B) how you define success. For me, success means giving up my day job, and I'm not there yet.

I write literary fiction, and still get a trickle of sales on my first book, which was published almost exactly 4 years ago. So far, I've published 3 books in the past 4 years, but it's pretty much beer money.

Last year, I started writing erotica, and there, it's most definitely a numbers game. However, it helped me move up to single-malt Scotch money, plus pay a few bills each month. I will be moving to a romance subgenre in a couple of months, and that's a numbers game as well. The successful authors I know in that genre (contemporary romance, mostly) are publishing a novel every month.

No mater what genre you write in, though, the best promotion for your books is to publish another book. How often you do that is entirely up to you.
Jonathan B

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Registered: 10/23/12
Re: Long burn or short burn books
Posted: Mar 8, 2017 12:18 PM   in response to: wellhouse in response to: wellhouse
 
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In my experience, numbers do matter.

First, the more books you have out there, the bigger net you are casting. There are those many more entry points into your book list, especially if you write cross-genre. Just looking at my reviews, many of them sate that they first read a book of mine in one genre, then took a chance on following me to another.

Second, Amazon rewards newer books. Every time you put out a book, you get better visibility with the New Release lists. Each time I release a book or even a short story, the rest of my books jump up in sales as well.

Third, and this is more of an observation, books sales for a specific book decline over time, whether that is My First Amateur Book or This Book is Number One on the NYT's Best Seller List. I first started selling in earnest in 2012. The three books in my first series sold a couple hundred volumes per month. And while the omnibus version of those three still sells well, the original three are now down to a handful each a month. But I'm making far more money now because I have replaced those books with others. I try to release something every six weeks, whether that is a novel, short, or omnibus volume.

Having a huge grocery store allows you to sell more than if you have a corner market. Having a large car lot allows you to sell mroe cars than if you sell them one at a time by putting a for sale sign in the window. Having more books allows you to sell more than if you limit your numbers.
Jonathan B

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Registered: 10/23/12
Re: Long burn or short burn books
Posted: Mar 8, 2017 12:20 PM   in response to: writerbn in response to: writerbn
 
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writerbn wrote:
However, it helped me move up to single-malt Scotch money, plus pay a few bills each month.

I think I posted in response to you on this once before, but single-malts are nasty! I might as well be drinking turpentine!!
thrasherll

Posts: 5,090
Registered: 06/27/12
Re: Long burn or short burn books
Posted: Mar 8, 2017 1:33 PM   in response to: wellhouse in response to: wellhouse
 
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wellhouse wrote:
I have been selling on KDP since 2011 and I now have 6 novels for sale. These books have never been "best sellers" but they have been consistent sellers and still sell today. All rank between 20,000 and 200,000 - rarely higher and rarely lower but that depends on the time of year. I write historical and contemporary "almost literary" fiction. I have never done any marketing. Given that, in 2011, I had few expectations I would describe myself as a "mildly" successful long-burn author. Needless to say, I do not agree with those authors who claim that putting out as many books as possible is the road to success. What sort of author are you? What is your opinion?

I love the English language so I'm always interested in words or phrases I've never heard. What are "long burn" and "short burn" books? Is that how long the candles have to burn when you're writing them? I googled "long burn" and except for a song title, all the first-page results are for matches.

L. L. Thrasher

Edited by: thrasherll on Mar 8, 2017 1:47 PM

Charles O'Donnell

Posts: 1,878
Registered: 12/22/12
Re: Long burn or short burn books
Posted: Mar 8, 2017 3:31 PM   in response to: wellhouse in response to: wellhouse
 
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My three novels are 95,000, 83,000, and 67,000 words, in that order. I guess that puts me in the "medium burn and declining" catagory.

I have a theory that a very long novel is a liability for an indie writer, especially if it's priced like a big, traditionally published book. My thinking is that a reader is taking a chance with a little-known author, and the bigger the book, the bigger the risk. I have no data to back this up, but with the release of my next book, my shortest yet, I may get some corroborating evidence.

Hope that helps.

Charles O'Donnell
Author Website | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter
writerbn

Posts: 5,813
Registered: 05/12/12
Re: Long burn or short burn books
Posted: Mar 8, 2017 3:35 PM   in response to: Jonathan B in response to: Jonathan B
 
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Jonathan B wrote:
writerbn wrote:
However, it helped me move up to single-malt Scotch money, plus pay a few bills each month.

I think I posted in response to you on this once before, but single-malts are nasty! I might as well be drinking turpentine!!

I think you did as well...it's an acquired taste, probably. Never liked the stuff until my college years.
10blade

Posts: 753
Registered: 08/22/11
Re: Long burn or short burn books
Posted: Mar 8, 2017 7:03 PM   in response to: thrasherll in response to: thrasherll
 
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thrasherll wrote:
What are "long burn" and "short burn" books? Is that how long the candles have to burn when you're writing them? I googled "long burn" and except for a song title, all the first-page results are for matches.
As long as it's not something from Fahrenheit 451...
Jonathan B

Posts: 4,612
Registered: 10/23/12
Re: Long burn or short burn books
Posted: Mar 8, 2017 7:13 PM   in response to: 10blade in response to: 10blade
 
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10blade wrote:
thrasherll wrote:
What are "long burn" and "short burn" books? Is that how long the candles have to burn when you're writing them? I googled "long burn" and except for a song title, all the first-page results are for matches.
As long as it's not something from Fahrenheit 451...

I'll just pretend I didn't read this one.
thrasherll

Posts: 5,090
Registered: 06/27/12
Re: Long burn or short burn books
Posted: Mar 8, 2017 9:32 PM   in response to: 10blade in response to: 10blade
 
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10blade wrote:
thrasherll wrote:
What are "long burn" and "short burn" books? Is that how long the candles have to burn when you're writing them? I googled "long burn" and except for a song title, all the first-page results are for matches.
As long as it's not something from Fahrenheit 451...

One can only hope.

L. L. Thrasher

wellhouse

Posts: 420
Registered: 03/03/11
Re: Long burn or short burn books
Posted: Mar 8, 2017 11:09 PM   in response to: thrasherll in response to: thrasherll
 
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Ha! Interesting comment. Back in the 60s, electrical supply where I lived in England often went "on the blink." Candles became a must-have item. There were two kinds of candle of interest to my family: long- and short-burn depending on how long you needed the meagre light. Long-burn meant 8 hours. Short-burn was around 1 hour.
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