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Thread: Novellas?

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW pschmehl's Avatar
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    Novellas?

    I didn't see a section for novellas. Apparently they are the black sheep of the publishing industry. Unfortunately, that's what I've written (22,978 words), so I'm having a hard time getting any agent interest.

    Am I in the right place? Is there another place specifically for novellas?
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  2. #2
    Most Unbecoming of an AW Moderator zanzjan's Avatar
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    Novellas are a form of short fiction, so you are in the right place. And though I don't know what genre you write in, novellas are having a bit of a renaissance in SF/F. Do not despair!
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  3. #3
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Alternatively novellas function as short novels, in the genre rooms. Most of my works are novellas but the issues are mostly the same as for novels.
    Emily Veinglory

  4. #4
    I would say most novellas are going the self publishing ebook route these days. Agents and publishers seem to prefer novels, specifically in the 60-80 word range.

  5. #5
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Most of mine were non-self-published ebooks when they debuted. I wrote novellas because it was the most efficient way to turn words into money in my genre. The highest $ per word being in the 30-40k range.
    Emily Veinglory

  6. #6
    The force is strong in this one. williemeikle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DamienLoveshaft View Post
    I would say most novellas are going the self publishing ebook route these days. Agents and publishers seem to prefer novels, specifically in the 60-80 word range.
    I've sold 11 in genre presses for print and ebook, 5 of them in hardcover in the past couple of years, and been paid pretty well for them too, so it's not all self-publishing / ebook

  7. #7
    Not as sweet as you think Aggy B.'s Avatar
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    I agree that agents usually don't have a lot of interest in repping just a novella. But there are small presses that take them so it's not impossible for them to see the light of day even if you don't want to self-publish.
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  8. #8
    please distract me mccardey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DamienLoveshaft View Post
    Agents and publishers seem to prefer novels, specifically in the 60-80 word range.
    If wishing made it so...

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW pschmehl's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the responses. I'm still on the fence about self publishing, but I'm trying to learn as much as fast as I can. My first book is less than 23,000 words, so it doesn't even quailfy for a novella at some of the publishers that accept novellas.

    The problem is, the story is done. I don't want to add fluff just to meet a word count quota. My second book, which I'm now working on, is probably going to be in the 30-40K range, so I may have more luck getting an agent for that.
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  10. #10
    Most Unbecoming of an AW Moderator zanzjan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DamienLoveshaft View Post
    I would say most novellas are going the self publishing ebook route these days. Agents and publishers seem to prefer novels, specifically in the 60-80 word range.
    All my novellas have been professionally published at pro rates.

    As I said above, it varies widely by genre. Blanket statements about publishing that don't take that into account, no matter how helpfully intended, are rarely meaningful.

    Quote Originally Posted by pschmehl View Post
    Thanks for all the responses. I'm still on the fence about self publishing, but I'm trying to learn as much as fast as I can. My first book is less than 23,000 words, so it doesn't even quailfy for a novella at some of the publishers that accept novellas.

    The problem is, the story is done. I don't want to add fluff just to meet a word count quota. My second book, which I'm now working on, is probably going to be in the 30-40K range, so I may have more luck getting an agent for that.
    You may find it more useful to start a discussion in the room for your genre (I'm guessing Christian from your sig, but I know most of us hop genres now and then so I don't want to assume) to get more specific info about novella prospects, as people there will be a lot more familiar with those markets and can share their experiences more directly. You may also find it worthwhile to get feedback from a beta reader, if you haven't already, who could tell you where your 23k one could be expanded without just adding fluff. Or they could tell you your instincts are right and keep it just as is. Either way, the additional perspective can be nice to have.
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  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW pschmehl's Avatar
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    Thank you, sanzjan. I will check out both of those avenues. I was not aware there were beta readers that might give advice.
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  12. #12
    slow and steady Jade A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    Most of mine were non-self-published ebooks when they debuted. I wrote novellas because it was the most efficient way to turn words into money in my genre. The highest $ per word being in the 30-40k range.
    I didn't know that. interesting!

  13. #13
    figuring it all out gbondoni's Avatar
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    I understand your reticence to self-publish. In my experience, novellas can sell, but it does require a publisher who likes them. At the 20K range there are many who will at least have a look, and some mags will even take them. Unless you know what you're doing, self-publishing is difficult to do, especially selling your work once uploaded.

  14. #14
    Power to the pen! Taylor Harbin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by williemeikle View Post
    I've sold 11 in genre presses for print and ebook, 5 of them in hardcover in the past couple of years, and been paid pretty well for them too, so it's not all self-publishing / ebook
    I think we'd all benefit from hearing the details of these ventures.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor Harbin View Post
    I think we'd all benefit from hearing the details of these ventures.
    Agreed. Regale us please.

  16. #16
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin redrobin62's Avatar
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    So far, I've written nine novellas - five were published and four more wait in the wings. I have this creepy feeling that publishers just don't want to waste their time with them so I just sneak them into my story collections. Three have been incorporated into "Wetland & Other Stories" and two stand alone. Three more will appear in "Obey the Darkness: Horror Stories." The last novella, "Strung Out" hasn't been published. I actually haven't thought about it till now! Maybe I'll touch it up later and see if I can find a magazine on Grinder that might be interested in it.

  17. #17
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    When you have a completed work you just look at all the opportunities that exist. Opportunities do exist for novellas. They are different then for novels and for short stories, but not necessarily worse in any way. To discuss them in more detail would require more details about the manuscript.
    Emily Veinglory

  18. #18
    Tossing Elves in bed with Unicorns PinkUnicorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DamienLoveshaft View Post
    I would say most novellas are going the self publishing ebook route these days. Agents and publishers seem to prefer novels, specifically in the 60-80 word range.
    I'm wondering where you got this information, considering most publishers do not consider it a novel until it is at minimum 120,000 words, while anything under 50,000 is considered a short story, and novellas are the stories in the 50k to 120k range. I've worked in the publishing industry since 1978, these numbers are industry standard across the board for all the large press houses and most of the small press houses. Outside of the NaNoWriMo forums I've never heard anyone call anything under 120k a novel before.
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