After I published my first book Desolate, I always felt the need to quickly point out it was a short story. I practically apologized to would-be readers in advance for fear they would reject it as being too short. I was worried it wouldn’t be considered a “real book.” Desolate clocks in at around 24,000 words and can easily be read in one sitting if you’re a quick reader. My second book, Windigo Soul, is longer at 35,000 words but still falls under the “novella” category. Still pretty short and readable over a day or two.
I guess I’m not really wired to write long books. I’m finishing up the sequel to Desolate and it’s around 25,000 words. The story unfolded on its own and I haven’t felt the need to do any filling or cutting back to get it to 25K.
Over the past few months as both of my published books get solid sales and good reviews, not only have my “too short” insecurities started to fade, but it’s beginning to dawn on me that I may have stumbled onto an increasingly popular niche of e-books. Sure, I've had a few reviews complaining my books could have been longer, but I’ve gotten plenty of positive comments from folks that read my stuff in one or two sittings. That seemed to be a big advantage to them. I think this is especially true as e-books become more popular. It’s so easy to download a book for a buck or two and jump right in for some light reading.
As I thought more about this, I realized as a reader, I’m part of my own target audience. I noticed my own Kindle library leans towards shorter stories. I don’t spend a whole lot of time reading, so I tend to gravitate towards books that aren't going to take me weeks to finish. There are so many good books out there and I want to get to as many as I can. To use TV as a comparison - Band of Brothers is an incredible mini-series, but most days I find myself watching a quick episode of Leave it to Beaver before getting back to work. Perhaps The Beaver isn’t the perfect example, but I think you catch my drift. In this busy world we live in, sometimes 22 minutes of entertainment is all we can spare.
So I’ve decided to stop apologizing and start embracing my short books. Someday I might have a six inch tome in me that will take years for me to write and months for you to read, but I doubt it.
My name is Robert Brumm and write books for the lunch hour, the dentist waiting room, the bus ride to work, and that half hour before Leave it to Beaver is over and your husband gives you back the TV.