E-books and The Writer’s Minimum Viable Product

Joel Friedlander has a great blog post looking at the concept of the Minimum Viable Product for writers, and how e-books have affected that. In journalism terms, we always call it the minimum story, a necessity for any potentially time-consuming project. In both cases, it’s the lowest level you need to publish. In investigative reporting, it’s a story you know you’ll get, even if you’re hoping for a bigger scoop. In e-books and indie publishing, it can be a short story, or section of a novel. Or, as I did, a collection of short stories.

The stories in Thrown Out weren’t the goal when I started writing my Exeter stories. The book wasn’t the goal when I started the Story Cubes Challenge. But as I got into them, people started reading them on my LiveJournal and here and asking when I would have something published. So Kyrie and I decided a short-story collection would be a great way to introduce the Exeter characters and let me tell some stories that are important to individual characters, but don’t necessarily fit into one of the full-length books I’m working on.

In comments on Friedlander’s blog, it seems I’m not the only one taking this approach. Linda Sands has several short stories out as e-books, and Darby Harn is considering a short-story collection as a next project. Have you thought about e-publishing short stories or other sub-novel-length projects? What were your biggest challenges? (Mine’s been marketing and finding reviewers willing to look at a short-story collection.)