Last week I uploaded my short story “The Nevermaw” to Amazon and priced it at 99 cents. It may have been a mistake. Not to upload it, but to try to sell it.
The accepted wisdom has it that short stories on Amazon, unless you’re a big-time author, should be free. Like a sampler of your writing for potential fans. But I have to know before I give it away: is it possible to sell a short story?
On the one hand, I believe that a buck is a fair price to pay for a half hour or so of entertainment. On the other hand, by putting a price on the short story, I may have chased away potential readers. Let’s face it. People are tight-arses. Would I rather the dollar, or that my story is read by somebody?
I’m fond of “The Nevermaw” for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it took me about five years to finish. I had the idea early on, but it took a few attempts, a few abandonments and restarts before it clicked. So writing this was a good exercise in persistence. Secondly, after I did get it done, it was accepted by the first market that I sent it to. After years of having short stories rejected time after time, hitting a lead-off home run like that was an amazing feeling.
Which may ultimately be why I put a price on the story: vanity. I poured a lot of time and effort into it, and I’m proud of the end result. If potential readers can’t be bothered stumping up one quarter the price of a cup of coffee for it, then I say to hell with them.
For now, at least. I may crack and drop the price to nix. But in the meantime, please buy my short story.