Writing–the long & short of it

I have five e-books online.  I read a post on marketing that said that it was smart to post short fiction inbetween your long fiction, and since I like writing short, I thought Why not?  And that might have been a smart decision, but I didn’t stop there.  No, I decided to write five different series of novellas.  Why? you ask.  Because I didn’t have a clue.

E-books and marketing have been a totally new experience for me.  I’m still learning as I go.  And I was having so much fun writing novellas, I didn’t stop and ask myself, How will you market them?  Would concentrating on one set of characters bring more readers to your novels than offering five different series?  Or will people look at the twenty-some things you’ve posted and run for the hills?

The reviews and comments I’ve received have been interesting.  I chose to write Lunch Hour Reads.  Jen, at Goodreads, thought of the term, and it conjured quick, fun stories that would entertain a reader for one or two sittings.   The very first novella I wrote was One Less Warlock–a short, 22 pages, something you could fly through and pass a pleasant lunch break or short commute.  Readers enjoyed the story, but wrote that they wanted more–more time in River City, more time hanging out with Babet and Prosper.  I bumped the stories to about 40 pages each, still short enough to be considered a quick read.  And some readers still ask for more.  They’d still prefer longer.  Which makes me happy.  It means they like where my story’s taken them, but I’ve written enough of each series, that I’d like to keep the stories consistent, at least for now, so 40 pages, it is.

It’s summer writing time again for me.  Ty’s home from college.  There’s yard work and gardening.  That’s when I like to write short stuff, because I can pound out some pages without holding so much back story and so many plot lines in my head.  But my novellas have morphed into a life of their own.  They, too, have more and more characters, more and more back story, and broader story arcs.  I have to ask myself, Are my characters growing in each story?  Is the setting intrinsic to each story line?  Is there movement from the first story to the last?

I’ve gotten hooked on some of the series, but how far do I want to go with them?  Should some end at four novellas and some go farther?  Which ones?  And how do I choose?  Novellas started out as a fun break from novels, but they’ve gotten more complicated.  And how many book covers does a reader want to see when he visits your site for the first time?

I don’t have any answers.  I’m still in the learn-as-you-go phase of e-books and novellas.  But I think too much can be overwhelming.  I intended to put novellas together on amazon to form series, to show that there were five story lines to choose from, but there’s no way to do so that I’ve found.  I can bundle them on bitly, but not at Barnes and Noble or other online publishers.  So not only am I challenged as a writer, I’m technologically challenged, as well.  But I’m learning.  And for me, that’s what the e-book experience is all about.  Hopefully, some day, I’ll stumble my way to success.  But in the meantime, I’m having one heck of a good time writing.  But I have to ask myself:  Do readers long for longer?  Or can short be satisfying?

What about you?  Do you have a length that appeals to you more?  Even in novels?