Novellas–Why Their Time has Come

Yes, my Carina Press manuscript, The Price of Freedom, is a novella. So I have a vested interest in this discussion. It doesn’t invalidate my argument.

Novellas are going to boom.

I’m a long time fan of Harlequin Mills and Boon category romances. I think 50-55,000 words, an hour’s reading, an exciting emotional ride and a satisfying happy ever after are a brilliant way to improve my day. But that’s a solid hour to hour and a half of reading without distractions. What if we halve that word count? Now we have the perfect lunch time read or commuter there-and-back story, like the mini novels that are huge in Japan.

When it’s well written a novella can deliver the punch of a longer story. It focuses tightly on its key characters and their emotional drama. It also respects the competing demands on its readers’ time.

The novella is the perfect length to read when you’re busy. You know how guilty you can feel stealing reading time for an epic novel when work and family life is crazy. But a novella gives you a mini escape. It uses stealable time.

Also, as novellas become increasingly popular their shorter commitment of time will allow writers and readers to be more adventurous. What you mightn’t commit to reading in a full length novel, you will taste test in a novella.

So, that’s Tuesday’s argument. Novellas are coming.

6 Replies to “Novellas–Why Their Time has Come”

  1. Kathleen, I think Blogger was messing with your mind–and I don't think I have the tech skills to punish (reset settings) so it never does so again. Your posts are here this morning. I guess it's black magic.I agree absolutely with your comments on leverage. I still can't believe I'm lucky enough to be part of Carina Press. It doesn't hurt that I'm meeting such nice people either 🙂

  2. Argh, your blog ate my comment. It was long and thoughtful and now I'm going into a meeting.Yes, I saw it, and I thought the deconstruction nailed the problems. JA keeps saying that being a big eseller from scratch is really hard – plus he is traditionally published and hustles like no one else. He's got leverage.It's going to be really interesting to see how this new deal of HQ's works out for writers 🙂

  3. Argh, your blog ate my comment. It was long and thoughtful and now I'm going into a meeting.Yes, I saw it, and I thought the deconstruction nailed the problems. JA keeps saying that being a big eseller from scratch is really hard – plus he is traditionally published and hustles like no one else. He's got leverage.It's going to be really interesting to see how this new deal of HQ's works out for writers 🙂

  4. I did – and I think the deconstruction identified all the reasons why the sales are so low. JA keeps saying the odds are you can't be a big e-seller starting from scratch. He got started by being published traditionally, and he keeps the ball rolling with a lot of hustle.That's one of the many reasons I'm so psyched to be part of this new thing of Harlequin's. We're not having to start in digital from scratch with a large publisher behind us 🙂

  5. Hey, a fellow novella-ist and from CP! Hi, Kathleen. Thank you so much for dropping by, and with such a great link. Have you seen the most recent post at jakonrath, Mark Terry's opposite experience of ebook profits and the deconstruct of why he earned the price of a couple of coffees? http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/

  6. I followed your link from the Who Sold thread at AW, BTW – congrats!I've also sold a novella to CP, and just submitted a second to them. I think you are totally right, and there's one other thing:In ebooks, price points matter like crazy. There are still a lot of people who balk at spending a paperback's cost for something they can't hold or share with a friend.But they'll buy a novella (or a novel priced like a novella). It's like the three dollar price point makes people okay with not having the physical object.Check this out, if you have't seen it: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2009/10/kindle-numb

Comments?