July 17, 2012
Yes, indeed, what is this thing we call the novella?
Well per RWA (Romance Writers of America) a novella is fictional work between 20,000 – 40,000 words. To put that into print perspective that would be 67 – 135 pages. For those who read Harlequin’s shorter category novels like Presents, Romance or Desire, it would be at least 10,000-15,000 words (33 – 50 pages) shorter than that and as short as less than half that length.
Now that I’ve hopefully given those who aren’t familiar with novellas a little perspective on their length, I’ll tell you how else novellas usually differ from novel length books (50,000 words and up–don’t ask me what the books in the 40,000-50,000 word count range are called. Apparently they end up in the Twilight Zone or something). A novella doesn’t have room for any subplots. Word count just doesn’t permit it. It moves at a faster pace because it has to to go through all the key points that make up a good story. The key though is it needs to be a satisfying read so the reader doesn’t feel short changed. The story shouldn’t feel rushed. Sure you can wish the book was longer and drawn out more, but isn’t that the same for a really great full-length book (80 – 100k +)?
With the advent of digital publishing, every major publisher has a digital-only line. In the past, publishing novellas on their own–as in, not part of an anthology–was cost prohibitive, it’s not anymore. Publishers and authors are putting out more novellas than ever before. My question is this, what is the most you’d pay for such a book, this book that would be anywhere from 67-135 pages? Would you expect to pay less if it was 67 pages and more if it was 135 pages? Or would it be all the same for you?