Friday, October 12, 2012

Turning One Book Into Two

Turning One Book into Two - Why I posted my full novel as two novellas.

 This week marks the soft launch of my two novellas, JARS OF CLAY (volume 1) and BROKEN VESSELS (volume 2).

At first I was going to offer it as one full-length novel, but after much thought, I decided to break it up into two. Here's why:

1.) After publishing a number of books, I've come to the conclusion that readers prefer series to stand-alone books, no matter the length.

2.) The subject matter in this novel may not appeal to all readers, especially the second half. I wanted to have an opportunity (in the book description) to give everyone a heads up--strong religious themes, scenes of sensuality and violence. I wanted to do this for their sake (no surprises since it's very different from my Clockwise brand,) and for my sake (I'd like to avoid bad reviews...) :)

3.) I wanted to offer the first half for free--this gives the reader a chance to sample my writing before committing to paying money for the second half of the book. It's currently free at most e-retailer sites, except Amazon where it is .99 (If you'd like to help me notify Amazon of a lower price, that would be awesome. Click on report a lower price in the product details section.)

Daughter of a wealthy and respected Roman citizen, Helena Vibius is only sixteen when she falls for Lucius, a servant in her father's house. 

Ambitious, Lucius wants to seek his fortune in Rome, and asks Helena to tutor him. She agrees--against her better judgment--and through a series of secret lessons, the two fall in love, knowing if they're caught, Lucius will pay the penalty with his life.

And then there's the unfortunate matter of Helena's pending arranged marriage to an unpleasant man from Carthage.

As her wedding day approaches, will Helena follow Lucius to Rome (risking both their lives), or keep her duty to her father?

*based on a true story*

With no way to prevent Helena from marrying another, Lucius flees to Rome to seek his fortune and mend his broken heart.

In a loveless marriage with a child to care for, Helena finds comfort in the most unlikely place--with her brother amongst the Christians. The religious group is mostly ignored by the Pagan populace, until the Emperor returns to the city and celebrations are planned. There's a shortages of criminals for the games and Christians are now sought out for arrest.

Fate brings Lucius back to Carthage, where his only wish is that he will get a glimpse of the girl he still loves. But when he finally sees Helena, it's under the worse possible circumstance...

 I understood that there were draw back to doing this, too.

1) Most reviewers won't review novellas. Same is true for sites that report free books.
2) There is a danger some might see this as a marketing gimmick (instead of a marketing strategy).
3) Some readers who would've read to the end of a full novel, might stop half way and not read volume 2

In the end the pros out-weighed the cons. I decided the experiment was worth a try and if it fails, I can always repackage it as one full novel. I'll let you know how it goes!

Click here if you want to know why I'm writing under Lee Strauss

~Lee Strauss (Elle Strauss)


  1. I like your sense of adventure in terms of publishing and think it is key to success in the industry today. There are many formats available to writers and it makes sense to explore all the options. I have two e-serial projects coming up - in direct response to the trend you've mentioned. Readers enjoy revising the same world / characters / author works and series or serialized fiction seems like a good fit. I wish you many readers, many sales!

    1. Thanks Judith! And you're right, serials are becoming very popular. Good for commuters, I think. :)

  2. Elle,

    I like that you're trying out new strategies. You have fantastic covers, I have to say! Who does them?

    Good luck with the novellas. :)


    1. Thanks, Cyndi.
      These covers are done but Steve Novak. He's great.

  3. Everything is a bit of an experiment with publishing at the moment, so good luck!

    And also, your covers are awesome!

  4. HI again Elle,
    I meant to also say I think you're very smart making a 'new' name for these books, because you've said the content is so different to the Clockwise/Clockwiser brand. That way you're not going to upset readers

  5. That sounds interesting. I like the idea of a series, because then you can show how the characters grow up and change. I'm often left wanting to know more about what happened to the characters when I finish a book. What's the true story it was based on?

  6. We are in a stage of experimentation when it comes to publishing these days, and I commend your courage to try something new and different. Best of luck to you and the novellas!

  7. It is now November 2013 almost a year later - how did the experiment go?