The Synopsis – Opinions wanted!

The other day I had a conversation with fellow author David Knight regarding synopsis for non-fiction books. Long story short, there is an opinion floating around the cyber universe that beginning a synopsis for a non-fiction book with the book’s title is “amateurish”. Example (synopsis for the fictional book Trading with Trolls):

Trading with Trolls takes a look at how you can trade with the hairy creatures who live under the bridge. Though trolls may look scary, inside they are soft and warm and filled with the same hopes and dreams as the rest of us. One only has to discover what a troll is seeking…

etc. etc.

So what do you think? Does starting the synopsis with the title of the book mark it as “amateurish” or are we just sweating the details too much? I’m interested to hear your opinions!

 

Short Stories?

I’ve noticed that a lot of authors fill in the time between their novels with short stories – or in some cases only publish short stories – and I’m curious about other people’s viewpoints on this.

I’ve been a “novelist” since I can remember and I’ve always sort of looked at short stories as the lesser cousin to the “full” story. Though I have submitted a few to various contests, like poetry, I’ve never taken them seriously.  That is, of course, unless it’s in a short story collection. Then, and only then, did I consider them to be lengthy enough to qualify as “something”.  Otherwise, they’re that bit of fluff, that afternoon snack while you’re waiting for dinner.

Regardless, I can’t help but notice the large – and ever growing – number of short stories available at Smashwords and even Amazon. Some authors write nothing but and, rather than publishing them in a collection, they put them up one little story at a time, for $.99 a piece.  The question I have is: Is this actually worth it? As a reader, do you spend your $.99 on a short story when, in some cases, you can get a full length manuscript for that price? As an author if you do this, do you actually make any sales?

As you might guess, I’m asking collective opinions for a reason – three of them to be exact. 1) I’m curious to see other people’s feelings on this. 2) I am working (slowly) on a short story collection, and have contemplated putting them up, one 3,000 word story at a time, until they’re all done when I will then slap them together and 3) I have a LOT of random short stories laying around. Is this cash in the bank I’m not utilizing?Or does publishing a lot of short stories just brand you as a “short story writer”?

I look forward to hearing what you guys think!