Tomorrow I take the plunge.
The FiftyWordStories.com Store is now online, and the first two products (Fifty-Word Stories: Volume One in print and ebook) have been posted, but tomorrow I'll flip the switch and begin allowing purchases.
How well is this going to go over? I honestly have no idea. I have a few personal goals and targets for how many copies I think I can sell, but I'm keeping my expectations pretty low. To be honest, I've just had a lot of fun putting the book together and setting the store up, even though it's been a lot of long, hard work. The task has, in many ways, been its own reward. As long as that continues to be the case, any actual sales I make will be pure gravy.
If anyone who knows me personally would like to save a couple of dollars, I can get a bulk shipping discount, so send me an email at email@example.com before buying and I'll try to make that happen.
It's a strange thing, trying to apply a business model to what has, until now, been purely a creative outlet. I've been running FiftyWordStories.com for almost two years, and during that time I've posted over 500 stories, almost 100 of which have been written by guest authors. It's been so much fun hearing from and talking to readers, and watching visitor numbers slowly but steadily rise.
And now I'm trying to turn my hobby into a business.
Well, sort of. It's very important to me that FiftyWordStories.com is a source of entertainment first, and a store second. I've been running the site completely out-of-pocket for two years, and I have no problem continuing to do so, but I feel that I have a product that's worth something, and I hope other people agree.
So on Sunday, I'll be launching the FiftyWordStories.com Store, integrated into FiftyWordStories.com, and on Monday I'll put Fifty-Word Stories: Volume One on sale. Here's how it's going to work.
I've been releasing some information about how the book will be available, and a little bit of that has changed. On Monday morning, you'll have the following options:
1) You will be able to order a copy of Volume One in print for $12 plus shipping via Lulu.com. There will be a link to my Lulu storefront from the FiftyWordStories.com Store.
2) You will be able to purchase and download a Volume One ebook bundle directly from the FiftyWordStories.com Store for $4. This bundle will include all three available ebook formats (PDF, ePub, and mobi), as well as a high-quality image of the cover. I'm not going to force anyone to pay multiple times to get the ebook in multiple formats.
3) You will be able to buy a Kindle-viewable version of the book directly from the Kindle Store for $4. I realize that it seems a little strange to offer this when you can buy all three formats bundled together for the same price, but a lot of people feel comfortable buying from the Kindle Store, so I want to make that option available. I recommend buying the bundle, not only because you get all of the formats together, but also because I receive more money that way, instead of surrendering a large part of my proceeds to Amazon. However, if you contact me and I am able to verify that you bought the book from the Kindle Store, I will send you the other formats, as well.
This is what I'll be offering at the beginning. I had mentioned previously that it would be possible to buy the book in print from Amazon and digitally from the iBookstore, but as things have developed and I've done a bit of research, I've determined that both of those options aren't likely to be worthwhile.
I have some ideas for where things could go from here, but it's all going to depend on how people respond to the book. A strong response may push me to make my stories available in some new ways, but if there isn't much response, then I may have to rethink how I'm going to go about this. Time will tell.
I stumbled across some old blog entries from a few years ago, and thought I'd share a couple.
So here's a poem called Bunnies from February 2009:
Twelve little bunnies hopped out of a hole
Some white ones and orange ones, some brown and some black
I thought they were cute, so I took them all home
They peed on my couch, so I took them all back
I read The Sword in the Stone, by TH White, fairly quickly, and I found it pretty fun. It's endearing and amusing, and I can definitely see why it appeals to children so much. It's basically a collection of small adventures, involving time spent as a variety of animals, jousting, magic, meetings with Robin Hood (pardon me; I mean Robin Wood), and more.
Overall, though, there isn't much central purpose to the book. The "plot" (from which the title is drawn) only really shows up for the last 10 or 20 pages, and it isn't outlined in much detail. It all just happens basically as a summary, and then it's over. I would have liked to spend another 50 pages reading about the details of the sword in the stone, and how it affects Arthur, and Merlyn's departure, and so on.
But kids probably don't care about that aspect of things all that much.
Overall, it's a fun read, and not too long, so I'd recommend giving it a look.
Excited about my soon-to-be-released book, Fifty-Word Stories: Volume One? Not nearly as excited as I am!
Well, ok. Maybe you haven't even heard of FiftyWordStories.com before. It's the website I created where I post a new story containing exactly fifty words every single weekday. I launched the site on February 22, 2009, and posted a new story every day (including weekends) for a year, and began my second year's worth of stories in July 2010. (Year Two is halfway to being complete!)
Last summer I also began working on putting together a book containing the best stories from my first year. I put a ton of work into it, then thought I had lost the files, then found them back again, and finally managed to polish everything up into a completed state. I designed a book cover using some royalty-free art that I purchased through fotolia.com, taught myself how to format an ePub, and, just this week, announced the release date as January 31, 2011!
The completed book has the 100 best stories I wrote during Year 1. It also includes an assortment of nanofiction stories, which are stories that fit within a single post on Twitter, as well as several pages of tips and suggestions to help you write your own microfiction.
I put a ton of time into this book, and I'm really proud of what I've created.
You can get all the details of how it can be obtained on the FiftyWordStories.com release details news post.
I don't want to promise anything that I may not follow through on, but yes, I did name this book Volume One for a reason. Now that I've put one book together, I feel that much more confident in my ability to assemble another one, and I've spent the past six months writing a whole bunch of new stories with which I can do just that. So assuming that I finish this current year of writing, and that Volume One performs well enough to make selling another volume worthwhile, there should be a Volume Two sometime between the end of Year Two and, let's say, Christmas 2011 (with the release date dependent on what's going on in my life, of course).
After that, who knows? Trilogy, anyone? Heh, now I'm just getting way ahead of myself!