The Novella – Compact Utility Vehicle or Sports Car



The Novella

by Steve Hooley


The novella is an interesting part of fiction history and the current fiction panorama. It played a role in the development of other forms of current fiction and is being used more in today’s fast-paced publishing environment.

A review of The Kill Zone’s archives (for novella) revealed three articles by James Scott Bell, Joe Moore, and Jordan Dane. It’s been 6-10 years since those posts, so let’s take another look at the Novella.


The word “novella” is the feminine form of “novello,” Italian (masculine) for “new.”

The novella has been described as “a short novel or a long short story.” Its length is listed as 10,000 – 40,000 words (some sources say 20,000 – 50,000 or even 15,000 – 60,000). The novella usually has a single plotline, is focused on one character, and “can be read in a single day.” It may or may not be divided into chapters, and white space is traditionally used to divide sections.

Examples of novellas that used chapters:

  • Animal Farm – George Orwell
  • War of the Worlds – H.G. Wells

During its history, the novella has been used in different ways. Let’s see if it is the “load-it-up-with-everything compact utility vehicle” or a “fast-sexy-Italian sports car.”


The Britannica entry for Novella (summarized) states that the novella originated in Italy during the Middle Ages, where its form was originally based on local events (humorous, political, or amorous). Writers such as Boccaccio, Sacchetti, and Bandello later developed it into a psychologically subtle and structured short tale, using a frame story to unify.

Chaucer introduced it to England with The Canterbury Tales.

During the Elizabethan period, Shakespeare and other playwrights used plots from the Italian novella.

The content and form of these tales influenced development of the English novel in the 18th century, and the short story in the 19th century.

The novella flourished in Germany (known as Novelle) in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, often contained in a frame story and based on a catastrophic event. It was characterized by brevity, a self-contained plot, and ending with irony, while using restraint of emotion and an objective presentation.

Examples of novellas:

  • Tolstoy – The Death of Ivan Ilich
  • Dostoyevsky – Notes from the Underground
  • Joseph Conrad – Heart of Darkness
  • Henry James – The Aspern Papers

Tips on Writing

Three great posts on TKZ by James Scott Bell, Joe Moore, and Jordan Dane are well worth rereading. I’ve summarized their tips on writing here:

James Scott Bell – 8-12-12

  • Use one plot
  • One POV
  • One central question
  • One style and tone
  • Have a rock-solid premise
  • Write in the heat of passion
  • Use white space to designate scene changes
  • Keep asking, “How can it get worse?”

Joe Moore – 4-29-15

  • Keep it short for a quick read, for the time-deprived reader

Jordan Dane – 4-21-16

  • Plots must be simpler
  • Minimize subplots
  • Setting, description, and prose must be simplified
  • Novellas are like screenplays – focus on dialogue and major plot movements
  • Novellas are like visuals of a film

Current Uses

From Jordan’s post

  • Generate buzz for an upcoming novel, ex: short backstory for MC
  • Enhance cash flow
  • Character focus – focus on MC or interesting secondary character
  • Advance tease for upcoming project
  • Writing time filler between projects
  • Discount price

From Joe’s post

  • A quick read for busy readers

Additional Ideas

Since the novella has evolved over time and could conceivably continue to change, this could be fertile ground for a right brain playground.

  • Opportunity to experiment with a character-oriented story
  • Opportunity to develop a secondary character
  • Edit an anthology into a novella with a frame story and a common theme to run through each section
  • Experiment with new ways to separate sections
  • Create new subcategories of the novella
  • How about a men’s fiction subcategory – The Novello
  • The “reader magnet” as a reward for signing up for a newsletter. It’s getting increasing use.


Okay, it’s your turn.

  1. Have you written a novella?
  2. What’s your favorite use of the novella?
  3. What ideas can you think of to make the novella truly novella (new)?
  4. Any ideas to put your personal stamp on it?
  5. Can you add a subcategory?
  6. Would you like to help shape its history?
  7. Any other novella/novello ideas?
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About Steve Hooley

Steve Hooley is the author of seven short stories published in four anthologies, a Vella serial fiction, and is currently working on the Mad River Magic series – a fantasy adventure series for advanced middle-grade to adults. More details available at:

60 thoughts on “The Novella – Compact Utility Vehicle or Sports Car

  1. Thanks for the mention, Steve. I love the novella form. It can pack all the emotional punch of a novel with the concentrated intensity of a short story. Some argue that King’s best work is found in his novellas. I tend to agree.

    Traditional publishing has always had trouble selling the novella, because it looks too skinny on a bookstore shelf, and with a price high enough to justify printing costs, there was some built-in consumer resistance. There were some notable exceptions, of course, such as The Bridges of Madison County.

    But the digital revolution has brought the form roaring back. Thus, it’s a great way to for a new writer to establish a footprint.

    I use a free novella as my email list gateway, via BookFunnel.

    • Thanks, Jim, for the added information. The free novella reader magnet for email/newsletter signup seems to be getting more and more popular. I’m in the process of editing a novella (a prequel) to my Mad River Magic series, to be used as a reader magnet for that very purpose.

      Great article on writing the novella from the archives!

    • My personal favorite King stories are his novella length ones, too–“Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption,” “Low Men in Yellow Coats,” “Apt Pupil,” and “Hearts in Atlantis.

  2. Good morning, Steve. Thanks for the helpful illumination on a dreary but hopeful Saturday morning.

    I recently came across the following definition of a novelette: longer than a short story but shorter than a novella. That issue is now laid to rest. Maybe.

    Have a great weekend, Steve!

    • Thanks for stopping by on this dreary day in Ohio. We had snow mixed with our rain this morning. Good day to stay inside and read or write.

      I couldn’t help but think of you when I suggested a men’s subcategory – novello – the Novello Joe – dark and murky with a male MC taking on the many evils in this world – in half the time of a novel. Just get er done.

      Hope your weekend is a good one!

    • You can blame science fiction if you like for the novelette, Joe 🙂 I had the privilege of getting to spend time with the science fiction author, editor and anthologist James Gunn when I attended a two week workshop at the University of Kansas in 2013. Jim told me that he considered the novelette to be the perfect length for science fiction–just long enough to tell a story about a science fictional idea. In the context of science fiction being a literature of ideas, I think he was on to something. Mystery is a different fish 🙂

    • For ease of remembering, here’s the rule:
      The longer the word, the shorter the work;
      novelette < novella < novel.
      9 letters < 7 letters < 5 letters

  3. 1. Have you written a novella?
    Yes, A True Map of the City. (“TMOC”)
    2. What’s your favorite use of the novella?
    a) To level a rickety table.
    b) To publish something quickly.
    c) Maybe to entertain?
    3. How can you make the novella truly new?
    By using a new genre, plot, and theme. For TMOC, I used a dystopian story, unlike anything I’ve written before.
    4. Any ideas to put your personal stamp on it?
    I did my own cover, as usual. It shows a man all alone in a dark place. The story tone is also quite dark, 3rd person close.
    5. Can you add a subcategory?
    Yes, that would be “The Stranger” subcategory. Horus is a stranger in a country vastly different from his native Albion.
    6. Would you like to help shape its history?
    That would be a bit ambitious.
    7. Any other novella/novello ideas?
    Some stories are simply too “thin” to be suitable for a novel. In those cases, pumping the concept up to novel-length–adding subplots, inserting more characters, excessive verbosity, etc.–is not doing the reader a favor and may take away from the work’s effectiveness.
    You’re more likely to get readers to say, “Couldn’t put it down,I read this book in one day,” if it’s a novella.
    Novella length is under-used. Part of the problem is that very few agents say they’ll accept novella-length works. I believe that many readers prefer novellas, but publishers aren’t getting a lot of novellas submitted by agents, who think they’re anathema to publishers. I could make a case for a resurgence of the two novella book, one genre, the stories bound back-to-back, with the second novella upside down. Not sure KDP can handle this, but there is a way to do it.

    • Wow, JG, some creative ideas. I love them.

      The “Stranger” subcategory (see above in my response to Joe) would be a good candidate for a “Novello” subcategory.

      I liked your printing idea for the double novella – two “front” covers, no back cover – The “JG Double.” (Maybe a surprise in the middle?)

      Keep exercising those creative ideas!

    • Stephen King had a hilarious-to-me bit in his foreword to his novella collection “Different Seasons,” about being stuck on the runway aboard “Novella” airlines, given how little love that length tended to get from publishers. Novellas have definitely struggled in trad pub, though, at least in sci-fi/fantasy, publishers keep trying.

      Your idea reminds me of the old Ace Double paperback science fiction novellas/novels from the 1960s, J.G. TOR books has a line of novellas published online (you’ve probably seen them), like Martha Wells’s Murderbot series.

  4. As you discuss above, the length of a novella is very broad and could easily be a short story or a novel, depending where it falls. Therefore I have always found the term confusing (and unnecessary) and simply ignore it.

    While I read the very occasional short story, I gravitate toward novel length only. When I do read shorter fic, I tend to come away unsatisfied. Though I can see it’s usefulness if doing a novella based on a secondary character from a novel length work.

    • Thanks for your honesty in your preferences, BK. And thanks for getting it in early. We want everyone to be able to disagree, and feel comfortable doing so. It would be a boring world if we all agreed.

      Good thoughts. Interesting, in light of your preferences, that the novella preceded the novel. Apparently many authors felt the same way as you about the novella, and went on to write novels.

      Thanks for a look at the other side!

  5. Once again I’ll be the odd writer out. I just start writing, then follow the characters around. Eventually they will lead me to the end of the story, whereupon I get to decide—because I’m the one with the actual physical fingers and the keyboard— whether what the characters have given me is a novel or a novella. Doesn’t matter to me. Turns out the story is the length it needed to be, and I’m good with that. (grin)

    • Great points, Harvey. It’s wonderful to have the freedom to follow the characters and discover how much story they have to tell. It makes me think of the “sagging middle.” Maybe some of those stories are meant to be novellas, and we try to inflate them into a novel.

      Thanks for your input!

      • Some of my workshop friends said they were glad I ended True Map of the City where I did. I’d worn them out, sitting on the edge of their seats as I ran poor Horus through multiple Kafkaesque wringers.

  6. I’ve written three novellas in my Mapleton Mystery series universe. This let me diverge a little from the novels by letting other characters have a chance to be in the spotlight and dig deeper into the relationships. I wrote one set on a Caribbean cruise (tax write-off) that was from Gordon’s girlfriend’s POV, another while Gordon was on suspension and his second-in command had to run the show, and the third as a flashback to when Gordon’s father was a rookie on the force. I sold them as individual novellas, but ended up bundling them into a single volume as well.
    That’s about as short as I’m comfortable writing.

    • I love your tax write-off use of the novella, Terry. Wonderful.

      Your use of the novella by “letting other characters have a chance to be in the spotlight and dig deeper into the relationships” seems to me to be one of the best uses of the novella. Exploring and developing a secondary character or potentially new character is a great use of the novella. I wrote a short story for an anthology competition, mainly to try out my concept of a handicapped young man in a fantasy genre. I liked the result, and that set me off on my Mad River Magic series.

      Thanks for your ideas, Terry.

  7. Thanks for the interesting history on novellas, Steve. After reading massive door-stop Russian novels in college, I really appreciated the shorter form with fewer characters to keep track of!

    I wrote a novella,, because of reader requests. The other books in my series are thrillers with two continuing characters. At the end of the fourth book, the female and male leads plan to marry.

    Since my genre is crime fiction, not romance, I didn’t want to write a “wedding book” but people kept asking for it. A wedding story wasn’t big enough to fill a novel.I couldn’t figure out how to combine it with a crime plot so I decided on the novella form. The story question became will they or won’t they?

    One reviewer wrote: “What? No murder? No bad guy lurking?” but went on to say “as suspenseful as her mysteries.”

    At $.99, it’s made a good teaser to introduce readers to the series even though it contains a few spoilers from earlier books. It was fun to write and readers liked it.

    The novella is a great form for a smaller-scale plot.

    • Thanks, Debbie. Your comments about appreciating the shorter form reminded me of Joe Moore’s article from the archives, and the idea that many time-deprived readers may like a quicker read.

      I haven’t read Crowded Hearts yet. It’s now on my list. I set up Until Proven Guilty last night and am eager to start it.

      A smaller-scale plot and something different can certainly make a great tease and introduction for our readers. And, maybe, that change of pace is good for the writer, too. Thanks for your comments, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  8. I’ve written eight novellas, four of them as part of collections with other authors and four as stand-alone hardcover gift books (a series set in the same small town). All were for trad publishers that I have since indie released. I’ll be writing a new one to indie publish later this year. Mine usually end up between 20k and 22k. Using a novella to kick off a new series is a good use of the format, and I love Christmas novellas (both writing and reading them).

    • Thanks for stopping by, Robin, and for sharing your experience. Very interesting. Did you find it difficult to get trad publishers to accept/buy your novellas? Do you write as many novels as novellas, or do you prefer to write mostly novellas?

      Any advice for the writer who is thinking about writing a novella?

      I hope you’ll check in on the Kill Zone blog again.

      • Steve, I have been published since 1984, and I’ve written 87 books, 8 of which are novellas. The other 75 are full length novels. I was always invited to write the novellas by the publishers, so I would have to answer that question about difficulty with a no.

        Advice: Stick with a single plot. If it’s a romance, it is easier if the couple knew each other in the past, although it doesn’t have to be that way.

  9. Happy Saturday, Steve! Great post on a subject near and dear to my heart. In science fiction and fantasy, the novella is well established. The novelette was mention above. In SFF, it’s been defined as running 7500-to about 15K, and then the novella runs from that to 40K. I find that a little restrictive. As an indie, I’d say anything close to 10K to 30K or so is a novella, but YMMV of course.

    I have written several novellas, including the noir space opera, “Running Tangent,” co-written with my late friend K.C. Ball, a very talented short fiction writing and editor. “Running Tangent” appeared in the July 2015 issue of Perihelion Science Fiction magazine. It was nominated for the small press Pushcart Prize, but didn’t reach the final nomination group.

    I wrote my Empowered prequel novella “Renegade” in 2016 specifically as a reader magnet for my newsletter before launching the series. It worked. It was also great fun writing the story of what my hero, Mathilda Brandt, first did when she developed superpowers at sixteen and the events that led to her being captured by the authorities and sent to Special Corrections (prison for Empowered rogues), events which took place five years before the first novel.

    My novella “Siloed,” which appeared in the anthology Street Spells in 2018, tells another prequel story of sorts, about how my hero Liz Marquez thwarts an escape by magical criminals from a repurposed missile silo now a supernatural prison.

    Last summer, a wrote another novella featuring Liz and her fellow sorcerer-agent Tully, “Lunaticking,” which appeared in the werewolf anthology High Moon. This was a real challenge to write, since I broke the single POV storyline “rule” and had two. Magic in Liz’s world is caused by the interplay between “mana” and the human subconscious, collective or individual (in the case of rare, powerful minds), which create manifestations, supernatural creatures. Liz and Tully are tracking down manifestations that appear as various mythic and cinematic versions of werewolves and trying to get to the bottom of the outbreak.

    However, some very bizarre events have created actual human shifters who can become wolves. So, two plot lines that eventually intersect. All in 25K. I learned why one POV and story arc for a novella is generally the way to go.

    Both anthology novellas were intended to be entry points for readers for my urban fantasy series, Agents of Sorcery. I published the first book, Gremlin Night, in 2019, and have written two 20-25K attempts at Book 2, both getting partway into act 2 but neither working. Why is a different story.

    Now that I’m writing mystery, I’m looking at writing a reader magnet for my Meg Booker Librarian mysteries series, very likely a prequel “first mystery,” featuring Meg.

    Reader magnets in my opinion are the main “use” for a novella in indie publishing, but the form certainly has an appeal all its own.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    • Wow, Dale. Thanks for all the info. Lots there to unpack. Very interesting. You’ve had a lot of experience with the novella.

      I hear prequel, intro to a series, and reader magnet mentioned repeatedly. I don’t hear Joe Moore’s concern for the time-deprived reader mentioned as much, but I’m beginning to wonder if a quicker read might be a big draw to present-day, too-busy readers.

      I invite you to comment on any of today’s comments. Thanks for your always useful content, and I hope you have a good weekend!

  10. I’ve written two novellas and two 10K short stories. Got my rights back for all four. I offer one of the novellas on my website for sign-ups, but plan to republished all four. As a reader, I love novellas. They’re quick reads that give the same emotional, suspenseful punch as a novel, and they’re an easy way to check out new-to-me authors.

    Thanks for the history, Steve. Fascinating. Hope you have a nice weekend!!!

    • Thanks, Sue. Your thoughts and ideas and support are always helpful!

      I liked your idea that reading novellas is “an easy way to check out new-to-me authors.” That thought might be turned into a new subcategory of the novella – the “Meet-the-author” novella. (This is my style. This is the way I play with words. This is what I write about. This is what I’m passionate about. If you like this, please try my books.)

      Glad you got your rights back for your short stories and novellas. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  11. I’ve had two novellas traditionally published. Both were mystery/fantasy mashups, and were a blast to write. The novella is the perfect vehicle for experimentation, as well as fleshing out an idea too big for a short story.

    • Good morning, Mike. I agree 100% with “The novella is the perfect vehicle for experimentation, as well as fleshing out an idea too big for a short story.”

      It’s interesting that we don’t talk about novellas a lot, but this morning many writers are expressing how much they enjoyed writing them.

      Thanks for stopping by. I always appreciate your thoughts.

  12. In recent years, the self-pubs have used novellas to pad the area between their novels as cash flow, promotion, and give-back to their fans. At one time, Kindle’s algorithm made novellas much more profitable than longer works so some writers were only doing them, but that seems to have changed.

    Yes, I’ve written novellas for charity anthologies and fanzine requests from nerd friends. I enjoy the strong focus I need as well as the story’s focus.

    Any writer who has trouble focusing in a story sense on longer form should give them a try as a learning experience.

    • Good morning, Marilynn. Thanks for the history (Amazon algorithms) and the advice (using the novella for a learning experience).

      With your experience in traditional education and teaching writing, is it true that much more emphasis is given to writing short stories vs writing a novel, and that some graduates come out of programs not knowing how to write a novel? If that is the case, I wonder why writing novellas is not used as a stepping stone to learning novel writing. Just wondering.

      Thanks for your perspective and your comments!

      • The MFA program in writing at my alma mater tended to focus on short stories in the class room with either a collection of short stories or novel as the final thesis project. From a teaching perspective that makes sense.

        I have never recommended MFA degrees, though. They are spit useless if you want to get a teaching job above public school, and their teaching needs to be un-learned if you want to write popular fiction. Plus, why put yourself in debt with all the much cheaper teaching resources online?

      • Yes, the novella is a good length to transition from short fiction to novels. The creative writing instructor at Ventura College said she didn’t teach novel writing in her courses, because she didn’t know how it was done.

  13. I’ve written one novella. It was published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact back in 2006. My co-author, James Grayson, and I wanted to sell a novel. I read that it was easier to get an agent if you had previous professional sales. We targeted Analog specifically because I’d been reading it for 30 years. I knew what an Analog story sounded like.

    To break out of the slush pile, we decided to write a science fact article on a technology, and then use that technology in a short story. A researcher near me had just received a NASA grant for a new kind of propulsion system. I waded through 23 white papers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the current state of plasma engines, drove 5 hours across the state, and did a delightful interview with the researcher.

    The fact article went great. The short story ballooned into a 22,000 word novella, Puncher’s Chance. As we’d hoped, we sold both. Puncher’s Chance took second place in the novella category of the annual Analog readers’ choice awards.

    I won’t generally buy novellas because of the cost per word count (and I prefer longer works). I did break that rule with Martha Wells’ Nebula, Hugo, and Locust award winning Murderbot diaries series. The first four entries were all novellas, and the publisher charged full novel prices. Expensive, but well worth every penny.


    • Thanks, Kathy, for sharing your story. Very interesting. That’s a ton of work to put into research for a novella, and it certainly doesn’t sound like a quick write. But the results and rewards were definitely achieved. Congratulations!

      I like that idea of pairing an article on new technology with a novella based on that technology. Did you sell the science fact article to Analog, or elsewhere? Do you plan to write more novellas?

      Thanks for giving us another idea/approach to selling our fiction!

      • Thanks, Steve! We sold both pieces to Analog, and they ran in the same issue. I don’t know that I’ll ever write another novella intentionally. I find forms shorter than novel length to be incredibly difficult and applaud authors who can turn out short stories and novellas.

  14. Aha! A post close to my [authoring/publishing] heart. Here’s why…

    First, an analogy. Swimmers know there are two ways to enter a body of cold water: (A) take your time splashing and inching your way in, or (B) just dive in for the full shock to the system and start stroking.

    I decided on Option A when back in the day (2015), I thought I’d take a stab at this Writing Fiction thing. And I saw that Amazon had a category called “Short Reads” (or something like that). Made sense to me, so after a bunch of research and much pondering about my personal connection to NYC and specifically Manhattan Island (I once swam around it nonstop), I thought I’d try writing and Indie self-publishing a novella about the 17th century “birth” of the world’s first megacity. But the idea quickly grew in scope to become a series of four novellas (“The Manhattan Series”) covering the years 1609 to 1645—basically the early Dutch period. It was based on true events and with a Native American boy as my hero who battles the European explorers, traders, bureaucrats, etc. Can’t remember my word counts for each (30k-40k?), but the Amazon “pages” clarify it: 99, 156, 157, and 136, all published in an 11-month period.

    The novellas did okay and the series looked good (I designed the covers), but I really wanted to pull them together and make something more “substantial,” especially for printing on paper. So I combined them into an Omnibus Edition in 2018 with updated content and a new prologue (that you folks kindly reviewed as a First Page Critique). And decided to keep the novellas in the market but with an Author’s Note at the top of each product page: “This novella has been updated and included in the newer NEW YORK 1609 Omnibus Edition with expanded content.”

    So the novella started me on my fiction-writing path. And am now working on my ninth fiction book.

    BTW: I’m still the only human to have ever written a historical fiction work about the birth of NYC/Manhattan from its earliest beginnings. Strange, no?

    • Wow, Harald, that’s a very interesting story.

      Yes, that is amazing that no one else has written a work of fiction about the birth of NYC/Manhattan. Congratulations!

      Your analogy about learning to write and use of a shorter form at the beginning is a good one. It sounds like an approach that should be formalized. Maybe it has, but I’ve never heard of it. (I mean a formal graduation from short story, to novella, to novel.)

      Thanks for adding your insights today!

    • In school, we learned about the $24 worth of beads, sequins, and trinkets. Period. End of lesson. Nice to see that ground plowed and bearing crops!

      • Yeah, I have multiple scenes on that specific transaction and how it played out. And FYI, that $24 is from 1846 (it’s actually 60 guilders in trade goods). It’s over $1,000 in today’s dollars. Still a bargain! 😉

  15. My first work was short stories under 2500 words. Now, I’ve written 15 books, novellas and a longer short story–5,000 words. I’ve found I have to do as much pre-work for a novella as a novel, but then it doesn’t take that long to write it.
    I do have to say, it amazes me that someone can read in less than a day something that took me nine months to create.

    • Yes, it is amazing the amount of work that goes into novellas and novels. It’s even more amazing that readers think they should be able to read them for free. From my experience with making hand-crafted woodworking projects, the general public has no awareness of (or appreciation for) the time and effort that goes into creating works of art, craft, or writing.

      You’ve written a lot of literature, Patricia. Congratulations on your success. And thanks for adding to the collective wisdom here at TKZ!

      • I, too, love working with wood. I’ve carved little 3″x3″ Celtic knots and 6″ round plaques with haiku spiraling around a central image. And made puzzles and a chess set with a radial arm saw.

  16. I wrote a Christmas novella in my Heroes of the Tundra series, called Northern Hearts. It’s just under 40K so a bit on the long side but it was fun to write and I’d love to do more Christmas novellas. I’m also writing one just to indie pub for my newsletter readers as an experiment to see if the character “floats” with them. I think they’re a wonderful compliment to series as well as getting those secondary characters out of your head when they won’t leave you alone.

    • Great ideas, Laurie.

      “as an experiment to see if the character “floats” with them” – what a way to audition characters, to see of they make the cut with your readers. Wonderful idea. And if you have fun doing it, even better. If it clears your head of secondary characters that won’t leave you alone, fantastic.

      Thanks for sharing your experience!

  17. I’m a few weeks late to the Kill Zone party, Steve. I unplugged into the marine wilderness for some R & R. In my terms, it’s not so much Rest and Relaxation as it’s Rita Rodgers time (alone with my wife on a boat in BC’s Desolation Sound).

    Novellas. Good topic, and I think a very current one for indie e-publishers. My understanding of a novella is it’s anything under 50K words. Somewhere, I heard Amazon slotted fiction into novellas if they were less than 50K and into the novel category if over 50 which affected the list placing and justifying a higher price for wordier novels. Not sure how true this was/is, but it guided my based-on-true-crime series of eight books where I shot for a 52K+ word count each.

    I’m into a new series that is novella-based with a w/c aimed at 25K per episode – so micro-novella if you will. The series is targeted at 20 episodes so 20 x 25K = 500K total which is a long, long character arc resulting in a super novel. It’s underway and to late to turn back.

    Happy Sunday tomorrow! (Get in the hole if you’re watching the Masters)

    • Thanks for stopping by, Garry. Glad you were able to take some R&R with your wife. You’re never late to this party.

      Thanks for the info on Amazon and novella vs novel, and for your strategy with your true-crime series. Good luck with your new series super novel.

      Happy Sunday to you, too!

  18. I’m so glad you brought up the subject of novellas, Steve. Great post and wonderful comments! In our time-crunched society, giving readers a story they can complete in one sitting may be very attractive.

    I’ve never written a novella, but I’m thinking of writing a middle-grade book which would probably fit the novella length.

    • Thanks, Kay. I agree with you, “In our time-crunched society, giving readers a story they can complete in one sitting may be very attractive.” Not only are readers crunched for time, but when they do read, the book is competing with social media. Hopefully, shorter, fast-paced stories might get the attention of the reader. It’s certainly worth a try.

      Good luck with your middle-grade book. If the story involves the two young girls that were in Time after Tyme, that should make a great book.

      Have a great remainder of the weekend!

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