The Eshort Phenomenon
The Writers' Lens is happy to present Jamie Krakover, our guest blogger for us today.
The Eshort Phenomenon
The emergence of the eshort is a growing trend in young adult fiction. For those unfamiliar with eshorts, they are short stories ranging from 12-150 pages, usually linked to a series. They vary in price from free to $3.99 and are available in electronic format only. The stories told in eshorts are often told from a perspective other than the main character in a series or tell of a side event that is loosely linked to the overall story. They are a great way for readers to revisit their favorite stories and characters in a new light. Stories of this nature normally would require a collection before they could be printed but because of the emergence of ebooks and their pricing scheme, they are available almost as quickly as authors write them.
However, the emergence of eshorts isn't without frustrations. Because they are available only in electronic format, they leave out many fans that don't own e-readers. There are a variety of apps that can be added to cell phones and PC's that allow for those without ereaders to still view the material, but many fans choose to skip over e-shorts complaining they do not want to read at their computer. In addition, the cost can be an issue. While eshorts are equally as cheap as many full length novels, in most cases you are getting a lot fewer pages for your money. Although, diehard fans of certain series don't seem to mind. They rush to buy e-shorts the day they come out excited to have more material to tide them over before the next book in a series releases.
Most of the major publishing houses are participating in this new trend. Random House kids debuted their first eshort in 2010 with Michael Scott's The Death of Joan of Arc: A Lost Story from the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. It's a 12 page short that sold for $0.99 and was followed a year later by a 50 page short selling for $1.99. Harper Collins has eshorts by many authors including Lauren Oliver's Hana linked to her popular Delirium series and The Lost Files shorts about characters Six and Nine by Pittacus Lore linked to the I am Number Four series. Andrea Cremer wrote an eshort for her popular Nightshade series published by Philomel a branch under Penguin. And just last month Random House tried something new with debut author Lissa Price. Her eshort titled Portrait of a Starter: An Unhidden Story, published ahead of her first full length novel Starters. An effort to generate more hype for her two book series prior to its release. These titles are a few examples of the many available from the growing eshort trend.
So is the eshort trend here to stay? I think at the very least in the young adult market the eshort is sticking around. The cries for more stories about favorite serial characters is increasing and its an easy fun way for authors to generate more buzz about their work while making fans happy. The adult realm however, hasn't had the demand for short stories like YA. Adult series tend to stick to books, sometimes adding novellas or short stories into the mix as eshorts, but they do not rival the growing trend in YA. That's not to say that adult fiction won't dive head first into the eshort market but for the time the demand primarily remains with young adult books.
What are your thoughts on the growing eshort trend? Do you like it? Do you think it should expand more into adult fiction? Is there a market for it there? Is the eshort a new part of publishing or will it hit the bubble and burst? Let me know your thoughts.
Thank you for reading. Jamie Krakover is a member of the St. Louis Writers Guild. You can follow her blog at http://www.jamiekrakover.blogspot.com or on twitter @Spacecadet570
Great post! I was just thinking about writing more of these! I've published two eshorts as part of anthologies, but this summer I think I'll release them as single titles and write another. All are tied to my novels. As a writer, I'm excited about the idea of exploring my characters further, giving their "side" stories some spotlight, and giving my fans some extra fun reading material! ;)ReplyDelete
I've been cooking up a new project, but having difficulty brainstorming the format. It feels more like a main story with short sequels than like a series of books.ReplyDelete
Jamie, thanks to your post about eshorts, I think I have it figured out. The novel could be comprised of the main story and once the characters are familiar to my readers I could do a whole series of eshorts relating their adventures.
Thanks for posting your Twitter name. I'm following you now. Don't be frightened...I don't stalk. LOL
Susan - Thanks for your comments, I love when authors have such clear pictures of their characters that they can write shorts like this!ReplyDelete
Janet - I appreciate your kind words. I'm so glad my post helped you solve a problem! Thanks for the twitter follow!
Thanks for this! You explained it well - I'm excited because this is right up my alley!ReplyDelete
I've been doing this for some time. Some people write "interviews" to learn more about their characters. I write short stories instead. Interviews will have a limited audience, but if you can write short stories to learn about the characters you use in a novel, you can always collect the short stories into a collection and publish them.ReplyDelete
I've been using the short stories in my series to "pad" the novellas I write. Maybe that's the wrong approach and I should do them as eshorts. It sounds like a good idea to me.