Writer Wednesdays

Writer Wednesdays – Why Chapbooks

By D.L. Winchester

A question we’ve gotten with the release of Shadows of Appalachia, D.L. Winchester’s short story chapbook, is “why release short stories as a chapbook?”

And we get it. Six short stories doesn’t seem like a lot. But we think it’s enough. 

The biggest challenge we see in the short story market is that collections don’t sell well. To counter that, a lot of folks have started releasing stand-alone stories, but due to high fees for credit card processing and web hosting, often end up having to price the stories higher than readers are willing to pay. 

So that puts presses (and, by extension, authors) in a tough spot: how do you make money selling short stories?

Our theory is: balance. 

With chapbooks, we hope to provide enough value to readers that they feel like they’re getting a good deal. At the same time, we can price them in a way that allows us to make a reasonable amount of income, even after dealing with credit card and hosting fees.

There are drawbacks to this, of course. While we do publish paperback copies, the prices we have to charge makes it unlikely that most readers will be interested in them.

And we’re okay with that. 

Our target market is the e-reader market, people we hope will see 6-10 stories for $3 as the bargain it is.

The length also ties back to another challenge of the medium: a good short story can leave you with the same sense of satisfaction as reading a book. You want to savor what you’ve just read, not immediately dive into a new world. 

By giving readers chapbooks, we think that pressure won’t be as strong. You can work your way through leisurely, without the pressure of a massive book full of stories.

We’re excited about our chapbook line, and we hope you’ll check out our first release, D.L. Winchester’s Shadows of Appalachia!

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