Novella Mine

I did it!

I aimed to write 20k over the course of two weeks! It only took three weeks to do it. But, I’ve got a rough draft of a novella now!

But then, I have to ask a question: Why bother writing something that’s roughly 20k words? Can I sell something like that to a publisher? If I self-publish, is there an audience for such works?

I sent a note to my friend Lydia Eberhardt. She wrote a short story for this very blog a little bit ago! I have some of her books in hard copy, and I thought shooting for something their length would work. (BTW, I highly recommend her Esther A.D. and Ruth A.D. Both are excellent!)

And lo and behold… they fall into the novella category!

And actually, what I just finished in rough draft falls into the same general genre as Eberhardt’s work. So I know I’m chasing someone with talent!

But I also know that releasing something like that by itself probably isn’t the wisest choice. I’ve got an entire series in mind based around the same concept, so we’ll see if I can pound out four of them, get a cover artist for all the above, and then… on to putting them up on Amazon as a series!

But it leads me to a question for you: What’s the smallest story you’d pay for? I’ve obviously paid for stories this short, since I’ve bought Eberhardt’s stuff. But I’m told I’m a bit of a weirdo.

For my personal reading, I’ve actually started leaning toward shorter and shorter works. I like the feeling of accomplishment of finishing a bunch of stuff quickly. Right now I’m reading Ceremony by Robert B. Parker, a private eye novel of just over 200 pages. Compared to the monsters I used to read, that’s nothing! I’m expecting to finish it today or tomorrow. Then on to see if I can wrap up another short paperback this weekend yet.

But that still definitely qualifies as a novel, not a novella. I have to admit, I haven’t read many novellas. I’ve read a lot of short stories – more and more lately – but novella is in that murky middle ground. It’s too long for a short story. You could finish it in one sitting, but it would be a fairly long sitting. And it’s not got the “full belly” feel of a novel.

Then again, I was quite content with Eberhardt’s works. Maybe she’s just that good?

Or maybe the word count doesn’t matter to me, personally, as long as the story is engaging and the characters connecting.

Or maybe I’m just overthinking this. If the story is that long, that’s how long it is. Polish it up, send it out, see what comes of it.

And keep writing!

Published by Jon

Jon lives in Kentucky with his wife and an insanity of children. (A group of children is called an insanity. Trust me.)

One thought on “Novella Mine

  1. I’ve enjoyed several short stories and novellas by different authors- like you said, it’s nice having a chance to read something enjoyable quickly. (Jean Lee, who’s novel you read, released several pieces of short fiction on Amazon- they’re fun reads. Mollie Reader, author of the novel The Electrical Menagerie, which I’d highly recommend, also has released a couple of short works in the same universe- love them!) The only things that has irritated me when buying short fiction are:

    1. The story just written as a selling vehicle. I’ve gotten some stories where I discover that half of the text is just a “sneak peak” of their longer work. That’s ok, but the short fiction should be able to stand on its own…and in some cases, it hasn’t really been able to. (It doesn’t seem like that’s the way you’re going, though :))

    2. The serial “hook”. I grabbed a WWII novella which was on sale. It was fine, but then I got to the end and it was a cliffhanger. The author hadn’t mentioned that it was part of a serial! There were eight more books, and the total cost for buying all of them (which would come to the size of a regular novel) was more than I’d generally spend, even for a novel I really liked. If you’re going to make your novellas a series, be upfront about it, and keep in mind what the total cost will be for purchasers. If they’re going to be stand-alones, even better.

    Sorry for the novel, there! 🙂


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