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We are currently in the process of writing our debut novel which is set to be released some time next year. On top of this we are writing two short stories which I guess you could call an extended back story for the protagonist and the antagonist.

Although the threads from all three books are intrinsically intertwined, they also work as a stand alone piece, so one is not needed to make sense of the other (if that makes any kind of sense at all).

What has stumped me is the order in which I should release the books. It seems like such a simple question but I really want to release them in a way that is going to generate maximum interest.

Here are the strategies that I have pondered -

1) We release the novel first, and then release the short stories afterwards, giving the readers more depth to the characters that they already know (and hopefully love).

2) We release the short stories first, familiarising the reader with our characters. Then shortly after we release the novel, a sort of 'what happened next' full blown adventure for the reader to indulge in.

3) We release all three at once, hoping to hell that at least one of them will attract some sort of attention.

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Or there's a fourth option - since you have two short stories. Release the first as a teaser prior to the novel and then the second after the novel. –  micapam Oct 1 '13 at 7:01
    
How and where are you "releasing" the works? How are you publicizing and distributing them? –  Lauren Ipsum Oct 1 '13 at 10:39
    
Well we are a little short on cash so for these works we intend to go through the self publishing route, KDP, etc. We have co f –  KD Novels Oct 1 '13 at 20:16
    
Firstly, apologies if 'releasing' is an incorrect term in the industry. We intend to use KDP to begin with as this appears to be the cheapest option and also the most recommended for beginners. Marketing the book is still an area we are working on but we do have some unique ideas. –  KD Novels Oct 1 '13 at 20:19
    
Apologies for the partial comment before the last, editing via mobile phone can be troublesome. –  KD Novels Oct 1 '13 at 20:45
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2 Answers

Chefs serve the amuse bouche before the main course, not after.

If the stories are thematically related to the novel, release the two short stories as a teaser for the novel.

Consider tweeting/instagramming the best excerpts.

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A strategy that I have had a lot of success with is to release a series of short stories and price them each at 99 cents, then also offer the collection of all the short stories at a lower price than the cost of all of them bought separately. I have had a considerable amount of success doing this with one of my pen names, and I am getting ready to use the same strategy using a second pen name.

If you are going to start with KDP and not any others (Nook Press for example), then you might want to take advantage of the KDP Select program. With KDP Select, you promise to distribute your work through Amazon exclusively. In return, they allow you to choose any five days you want over the course of three months during which you can set the price of a title to free. I know several authors who have done this for a lead-in story as a means of introducing people to the actual novel.

In this example, I would recommend releasing all three at the same time. You could then choose certain dates for making the first short story free, and then a month or so later, offer the second short story for free. That way you could have a couple of different opportunities to introduce people to the full novel, which is where you would make your money.

Regardless of the approach you take, you will want to sell all three individually, and then also provide the option to buy all three together in a collection. The whole idea is to maximize your exposure and opportunities for generating revenue.

The problem with releasing them one at a time is that you lose out on the opportunity to obtain repeat customers. If somebody reads one of your works and really enjoys it, then they are likely to look for other works you have completed. If you don't have anything out there, then you will have a much harder time getting that reader back again. The whole idea is to keep them coming back for more, which only works if you have more to offer.

A web site that you might want to visit is the Writer's Café on Kindle Boards, which is a forum for self-published authors. You will find a lot of advice and suggestions on publishing and promoting, and it is specifically focused on writers who are using KDP.

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