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Is it considered good practice to include something along the lines of "(a short story)" as the subtitle of my short story?

A little more information: my short story is almost 5,000 words long and I am going to publish imminently on Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). What I would like to know is this - should my title be:

"Alice in Wonderland"
(a short story)

Or should it simply be:

"Alice in Wonderland"

The reason I want to know whether or not this is good practice is because I do not want my readers to gain a negative impression of me and/or my work because they were unaware of the length of the book (which is around fifteen pages, since you've asked).

The worst case would be somebody leaving a negative review based solely o n the fact they they had paid £1.99 for a story which was far shorter than they expected and as such effectively felt short-changed.

I know that the page count is often (always?) listed on Amazon book listings, but not everybody checks this before purchasing a book (I often neglect to).

Therefore, is it advisable that I write "(a short story)" as a subtitle on the main cover?

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    I would add "(short story)" or even "(short story, 15 pages)" as part of the title on the Amazon page. Non-book products sold through Amazon often have all kinds of descriptors added to the product name, such as color, length, volume, number of items, etc. These additions are not part of the actual product packaging, only of the Amazon title of that product, and they serve to help the buyer distinguish this offer from similar ones. You could add a "subtitle" to the cover and title page also, here I would only use smaller print, no parenthesis, e.g. "The Thrush <new line> A Short Story". – user5645 Mar 18 '15 at 10:10
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Many publishers omit the information altogether when they post standalone short stories to KDP. The figure that Amazon's Product Details will give an estimate of the print length of the book, and that's enough of a hint.

I like to let people know when my book is a short story. I include that information in the last line of my book descriptions. Something like:

A creepy fantasy short story from Dale Hartley Emery.

I would not use "a short story" as an actual subtitle. That is, don't put "a short story" into any sort of subtitle field either inside the ebook or when you fill out the form to upload it to KDP. The length is just a fact about the story. Elevating it to a subtitle gives it far too much emphasis.

But you might put the information on the cover as part or all of a "book tag"--a one- or two-line teaser in a smaller font near the book title.

If you use it on the cover, consider not putting it in parentheses. That makes it look like an apology. Also, if it were really parenthetical, it would not belong on the cover.

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  • What a wonderful suggestion; do you think that something along the lines of "A fast-paced fantasy-comedy short story from XYZ" would suffice? – M.Y. David Mar 18 '15 at 10:52

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