View Full Version : Word count & pricing & technical terms?

Celeste Carrara
12-03-2014, 08:41 PM
On the cover of my books for my series I put under the title or my name "novel" "novella" "novelette" to be upfront and let my readers know what they were getting before their purchase.

For my stand alone books I don't do that. I do like to be upfront and usually put a novelette in the short story category when I list it for sale or sometimes I've put in the description "novella" or whatever.

My question is twofold. Is this even necessary and does anyone else but me use the term novelette? lol

I've always gone by these word count rules for my books:

short story: under 7,500
novelette: 7,500 - 17,500
novella: 17,500 - 40,000
novel: 40,000 & up

I have a book I'm about to release & I keep calling it a short story, but it's 17, 551 words. I felt it's more of a novelette and didn't feel comfortable calling it a novella, but technically it's a novella, no? But since I haven't seen anyone else use the term novelette I shied away from that and am just calling it a short story. I guess I'm confused ;)

I'd love to know what others do.

*I need to clarify it for myself also because of pricing. I have pricing that I follow for all my ebooks: short story & novelette's .99, novellas $1.99, and novels up to 80,000 words $2.99.

12-03-2014, 08:46 PM
I don't think there are standard industry-wide definitions, to be honest. I always try to list the word count and a description in my blurb: 'a 12,000 word short story'; 'a 45,000 word category-length novel' etc. For pricing, you can go with whatever you think is fairest. I think it's fine to charge $1.99 for that story, personally.

12-04-2014, 02:15 AM
I've just labeled my novelettes as short stories, since I don't think that most readers are familiar with the term "novelette." Technically, your story is a novella, though, and I don't think it would be wrong to label it as such!

Celeste Carrara
12-04-2014, 02:58 AM
Thank you both!

Yeah, I'm thinking readers don't really know the term novelette either. Going foward I'm just going to use the term short story for anything under 15,000 words.

I guess I will change my new story and call it a novella and price it at $1.99 as my other novellas are priced. Also, I think I'll add word count in my blurbs for all my books.

12-04-2014, 05:38 AM
My most popular novella is 17,500 words and is labeled as a novella and with its word count. It's priced at 99-cents, tells a complete story, and the most common review complaint is, "I wanted it to be longer." Even at 99-cents?

12-04-2014, 07:49 AM
I read a lot of SFF shorts so am familiar with the term novelette, as that's how the Hugos and other awards divide things (they use exactly your dividing lines, by the way). I don't know how common this is to know, though.

For what it's worth, as a reader:

1) I'd appreciate having the word on the cover. Knowing the length going in helps the pacing feel right.

2) I'd think of the terms exactly as you define them. Even before I quite knew what a novelette was I had a vague concept in my head as "longer than a short story, shorter than a novella" so I think that's fine to use. Even people who don't know it will connect it as "shorter than a novel, probably longer than a short story."

3) I think you can call your new book a novella and be just fine. When I'm reading I'm not counting words, lol! I'm only going to notice if something "feels" very far off what I think it should. I think you're just fine calling it a novella -- that many words will "feel" like a good enough chunk of text that I don't think anyone will be thrown.

These are just my two cents, of course; other readers may differ. But I hope that helps! :D

12-04-2014, 10:02 AM
Pricing-wise, my rule of thumb is a buck per 10K, rounded down, but I don't do short stories except as anthologies. Just not cost effective.

I do think in novelettes, though, just because I vote for a fair number of awards where it applies, but I've never tried selling it as a marketing category, because I think it'd just confuse people.

12-04-2014, 10:14 AM
Pricing-wise, my rule of thumb is a buck per 10K, rounded down,

Wait, really? Do you put a ceiling on that? *is curious* My novels are around 100k, and I really don't think I could get people to put down $10 for them. (Although maybe I am underselling myself, heh.) You might be in a different bracket, though, considering your following. ;)