I'm confused because it seems like very few people put "a short story" in the cover of their short stories (only one short story.) In fact, they don't seem to put anything at all. Another authors just leave it as "a story."

I'm not sure how readers react to a story that doesn't specify its type (I feel they would feel cheated or something).

Which alternative is better in terms of marketing and sales?

(My story has 9,300 words)

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    Surely if you're going for digital sales the product discription would cover this. How long is your story? – CLockeWork Oct 29 '13 at 15:49
  • @CLockeWork 9,300 words. Well, yeah, Amazon tells you how many pages the ebook has. But in that case, the customer has to click the product in order to find out whether it is a novel or a short story. – Alexandro Chen Oct 29 '13 at 16:11
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    I hate, hate, hate subtitles that say "a novel" or "a short story." Do people normally walk into a bookstore, pick up a bound printed document from a table marked New Fiction Releases, and wonder aloud, "Gosh, is this a tomato?" Unless your fictional work has the same title as a nonfiction work, where there might be some confusion, you don't need this kind of subtitle. If anything, you don't want to scare off potential readers by labeling it "a short story" because they were only looking for a novel. – Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum Oct 29 '13 at 16:57
  • @AlexandroChen, if you feel it is needed to label it, then you may consider calling it a Novellette (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Word_count) It's more accurate and it sounds better. I often see books called "****** A Novella" so this wouldn't be such a stretch. – CLockeWork Oct 30 '13 at 9:27
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    @LaurenIpsum Hearty agreement! I've always thought such subtitles were stating the obvious. I suppose if I wrote a novel and titled it, "Street Map of London", I might want to give it a subtitle of "A Novel" lest someone searching a catalog or Amazon thinks it's a literal street map. I recall when the movie "Superman: The Movie" came out, one film critic said, "Not to be confused with Superman: the microwave oven." – Jay Nov 1 '13 at 19:37

The length of your work is put into the description of your book automatically (page count or word count). If you do not think that's sufficient you can mention it in your explicit description you provide for your book. Besides that there may be categories for short fiction, so if you choose one of these the customer can find out what he is buying.

That said, I can understand you want to put it on the cover. If you (will) have several books, some shorts, some full length novels and readers are searching for your name, they maybe won't be aware of the category, but expect a novel if they read a novel before. Buying "just" a short story could be disappointing. But they can get their money back if they want, so even that shouldn't be such a big deal.

If you feel better, put "short story" in a small font on your cover. Not too dominant, it does not need to be readable on the small cover icon.

But this is nothing that will hurt or increase your sale dramatically.

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