Does Size Matter?

I just finished the longest single Carnal story I’ve written to date. I titled it, Dirty Business.

Smashwords tells me its approximately 18261 words. Some of that is promotional material at the end of the book, and some is copyright and legalize at the front. But it’s far and away the longest single Carnal story I’ve ever written. Even Summer Shorts 2, a collection of three stories, isn’t as long as this one. I hope people like it as much as I enjoyed creating it. It’s sort of a risk, too, as by far the best selling (in units) book I have is the original Summer Shorts, which is only about one third the length of 6000 words total and includes three stories. The biggest compliant I received about Summer Shorts is that that stories were too short. So I wrote three longer stories in the follow up collection (Summer Shorts 2) and hoped for the best.

Summer Shorts 2 did fine, but not as well as the original. I have yet to create that same magic again. I wonder if bigger story size is really the right element to focus on. I don’t know that I’m really all that interested in doing novel length erotica. I like the short story. Most of the stories in Summer Shorts were less than 2000 words. You have to be good to get something erotic going in in that short space. I’m not saying the stories in Summer Shorts are good, but I know for a fact they’re short. To the point. The reader gets to decide if short is the kind of thing they like. I know at least one reader on Amazon who questioned the whole point of such stories based length. That’s fine. Another reader also commented (first review, bottom of page) on the length of the stories in Summer Shorts, but he called them “dark, hot and bitter”, comparing them to “shots of espresso – . And a small dose is just the right amount.”

I wonder if a bigger collection of short stories–say, maybe include six short stories in the next Summer Shorts collection?–might work best for me. I like the idea of using the little town of Carnal to tie all the stories together. But I want them to be short. Punchy. I want the characters to reveal themselves in the first 50 or 100 words, and then revel in whoever it is that they are. Get some sort of comeuppance or maybe get laid, which ever make the most sense for the story.

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