Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Older Stories

Following Monday’s post, I exchanged some correspondence which lead me to ask myself the following question – Should I look again at the stories I have on the StoriesOnline website (and free on my own website) and bring them up to the same sort of standard I’m writing at now?

I don’t hide the fact that the stories I offer for free are older stories and as such are not as ‘good’ as, say, Kissed by a Rose or Eternally & Evermore. In this case by ‘good’ I’m referring not to plotting or characterisation aspects but to technical and stylistic aspects. In these terms stories like Bus-Stop (pdf  SOL), Claire (pdf  SOL), and Sophie (pdf  SOL) are quite naive and amateurish.

But to some extent these stories are my showcase. Because people can read them for free, they are like a loss-leader that you may see in supermarket. The theory is that after reading, say, Reunion (pdf  SOL), people will have enjoyed it enough to give the paid-for books a try. So, if that’s the theory, shouldn’t the stories offered for free be the best that they can be?

Now, the correspondence I had was about catching typos and punctuation errors, but I’ll be honest with you and say that I wouldn’t be satisfied with that. I’d have to re-write the stories. I’d update them stylistically and maybe make changes to the plots and characterisation. Hell, some of the stories may well develop from being shorts to short novellas.

And that’s what’s holding me back right now. Once I start, I know I wouldn’t be able to stop. But it is something I’m considering. I reckon it might take only a couple of months to do them all. If that effort increases sales of the other books, it has to be worth it, surely?

Another plus is that at the same time I could convert the .pdfs that are currently on my website and offer other e-book formats like .prc and .epub so people can pop them on their newly purchased e-readers. And have no doubt – e-readers are going to through the roof over the next couple of years.

So, what sort of task am I looking at. I have 45 stories on the SOL website but 15 of those are ‘Flash’ stories – that is, stories with a 300 or 500 word limit – so I can’t really look at expanding those. Of those that remain 11 were written for Ruthie’s Club so are pretty clean anyway. It may be time to look at them again, but they will be the last I tackle. That leaves me with 2 multipart stories in Reunion (pdf  SOL) and College by the Sea (which is ‘unfinished’ and currently only on SOL and not my website) and 17 shorts. Of those 17, 5 are part of a series with the same characters which I could maybe lump together into a multipart story and expand (these 5 are not on my website – just SOL).

That’s not a horrendous task, is it? Not really. And I’ve always said that I should write more shorts as they are good practice for the novels. So that’s my next task – rewrite and improve my free offerings. I’ll mix it in with my current WIP – one week I’ll work on a short, the next I’ll work on the WIP.

Wish me luck.

For the sake of completeness, my stats on SOL are currently – 45 stories with over 80000 each and averaging around 100 reads per week across all stories. Reunion has the most reads with over 15000 and College by the Sea second with almost 8000. Average base rating (for what it’s worth) is 8.71 or 8,8,8 on the TPA scale. I’m on 100 members’ lists of favourite authors and have over five hundred entries in members’ ‘libraries’. Of course, this pales in comparison to some of the SOL ‘big-hitters’ but it satisfies me given I haven’t posted a story there since November 2008.

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