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Provrb1810meggy
02-18-2007, 06:55 PM
My WIP looks like it's going to end up in novella territory, somewhere between 20,000 and 25,000 words. I was wondering, is there any market, even if it's small, for YA novellas? Do any print publishers take them? Does anyone have examples of YA novellas? If you sent a query for a YA novella to an agent, would you automatically get rejected? Is e-publishing the only way to go? If so, what are some good presses for YA works? Also, can you sell 2 or 3 novellas with a similar theme, like you would a novel, or do you have to be an already established author?

Thanks for the help! I'm almost finished with the first draft. If there is no market, I don't know if I'll go on to making revisions.

laurenem6
02-18-2007, 10:20 PM
It depends on what you're writing about. There's a big interest now in finding books for struggling readers (usually boys). If your book is short, easy to read, and appeals to boys, then there might be a chance. If not, I'm sure there's something you can add. :-)

weatherfield
02-18-2007, 10:27 PM
Hi Meggy,

I'm about to give you a really mixed-up answer on this, so proceed with caution;)

A lot of really (really, really) good YA comes in at under 40,000 words. That being said, a majority of these shortish books clock in at somewhere between 30 and 35k. They are not marketed as novellas, but as novels, since the standard is a little bit different for YA. So, my very pragmatic question is, does this story have another 10k in it? I'm not trying to be cut-throat, but it sounds like you're ready to let this one rest if it doesn't have market potential, and I think you're in a range where you can give it market potential by working it a little more.

Do you think that if you were to leave your book for a bit, you would come back to it with a sense of how to deepen it (not pad it, but actually serve the story)? Obviously I haven't read your project, so I have no idea about the structure of the story. To me, the current length suggests one of two things: either you have a lot of things going on, but you cover them in a fairly cursory way, or the plot happens to be straight-forward and you've done what you can with it.

I'm guessing it's the second one, because that's the one I personally have a really hard time with. When I write something and realize that I'm writing too shallowly, I get lots of ideas for developing the story, but when I write something and feel like I'm doing justice to it, but the idea just isn't huge, it's hard to keep developing it in a way that actually helps the story. My internal pragmatist says Subplot. Something the parallels the main story line or theme, but doesn't take over. Another character's problem, the-same-but-different, can do huge things for the main story if you are so inclined. On the other hand, I may not know what I'm talking about. Cue short answer:

You're almost there, so don't let it go yet—but maybe don't call it a novella, either. YA is a market where your book can be short and still be a novel. Just make it tight, make it gripping, and you'll be fine.

moth
02-18-2007, 11:12 PM
What weatherfield said.

Another thing you could do is let the WIP set for a while. Start plotting and/or writing your next novel and come back and look at Q (it is Q you're talking about, right?) maybe a month from now. Distance helps.

Then you can look and see what other obstacles might get in your MC's way, or at least make things worse for her. Or give her 2 Q guys (maybe the current Q could have a twin brother...?) and she can't seem to get anywhere with either one of them. Frustrated protag, yay! ;) Of course you'd handle it properly and make sure it's all story, no filler. That's another thing the month-long break would likely do for you -- let your subconscious work on what else the MC needs to learn/experience/do/etc.

Just thoughts Meggy, please ignore if they do you no good at all. :)

ETA: I just realized that giving her 2 Q guys might end up being visually confusing by its very nature (2 characters with the same initial...rare initial too). If (if) you do decide to try that, I'd suggest finding a Q name or nickname that's very short, so at least the names will be visually different by their length.

And I totally didn't mean to get all wordy, but I couldn't leave this post alone with a clear conscience. =P

Provrb1810meggy
02-19-2007, 01:42 AM
Nope, it's not Gotta Get A Q. It's a new book. Gotta Get A Q is on submission right now, though. Yay!

Unfortunately, this book would not appeal to boys at all. This, most likely, is the type of book that would have a sparkly pink cover and would make boys of all ages cower in fear. It's way girly and tres romantic, so that won't work.

Weatherfield, I think you're right. The plot is fairly straightforward. Most of my plots tend to be. Also, the events of the book happen over one week, and I feel if I extended the amount of time, there'd be a loss of urgency. Maybe that contributes to the shortnes. I could probably add some more obstacles to the story. I will have to look at it after I finish.

chibeth
02-19-2007, 02:31 AM
If you do decide to go the epublishing route, Samhain (http://www.samhainpublishing.com) is expanding into YA and will take novellas. Just for the record. :)

Arisa81
02-19-2007, 05:44 AM
Orca Soundings.
I don't know their website for certain. But I do know their books are short. Novellas, maybe novelettes. I recommend you check them out. And check out some of their books if possible, they are very quick reads. Our library has all the books because this a local publisher.

Website: http://www.orcabook.com/

Cassidy
02-19-2007, 10:08 AM
orca soundings books are great (and short). but orca only accepts submissions from canadian writers... i'm in BC too arisa!

Provrb1810meggy
02-19-2007, 07:35 PM
Yeah, I was actually looking at Orca Soundings, and I was all, This would be a great publisher! I've even seen these books in my school library! Then, I was let down when I saw they only accept submissions from Canadians. Thanks anyway, guys.

Ha, chibeth, an hour or so before you posted your message, I was doing research, found Samhain, and put it on my list of publishers.

Arisa81
02-19-2007, 10:51 PM
Aww...that is too bad. I'm sorry. I hope you do find the right publisher for you. I am sure there is one out there. Keep looking! :)

Moon Daughter
02-20-2007, 04:46 AM
A lot of really (really, really) good YA comes in at under 40,000 words. That being said, a majority of these shortish books clock in at somewhere between 30 and 35k. They are not marketed as novellas, but as novels, since the standard is a little bit different for YA.
what I'm talking about. Cue short answer:


I have a WIP that's 41K and I while I was looking for a publisher, I went to one place where they were talking about how generally fantasy books are about 80K. Also, I've been told that agents won't touch novels that are only 40K. Talk about confusing.

Sempine
02-20-2007, 05:19 PM
After reading these posts, I decided to shorten by MG fiction to 25,000 words and retarget it for the Reluctant Reader audience. It deals with American football and Lobster Press (Canada) is the publisher I had in mind. I made the ending more straightforward (actually better).

Now, I don't know if Lobster Press distributes in this country. I'll have to do dome more research. But thanks to the poster who mentioned Reluctant Readers. I think it's a great fit for my book--I'm sure I can find some US publishers looking for Reluctant Reader manuscripts.

Maurice

weatherfield
02-21-2007, 12:00 AM
I have a WIP that's 41K and I while I was looking for a publisher, I went to one place where they were talking about how generally fantasy books are about 80K. Also, I've been told that agents won't touch novels that are only 40K. Talk about confusing.

Hi Amanda,

To me, the guidelines you mention sound like they're intended for adult fiction. I haven't come across any guidelines specifically for YA (well, I haven't actually looked very hard:D ). Judging from some of the books on my own shelves though, publishers don't seem to have a problem taking on short YA projects. Here are a few examples of short YA that I absolutely love:

Cut, by Patricia McCormick, is just under 36k.
Cormier's The Rag and Bone Shop is almost 25k and is terrifying and beautiful. I love this book to pieces and it creeps me out every time I read it.
Francesca Lia Block is officially Queen of Very Short Books. Weetzie Bat was her first novel and it's not even 15k. Wasteland is just over 20k, and Echo just under 28. Most of her novels hover somewhere around that mark. I wouldn't necessarily call what she writes “fantasy,” but it's at least magical realism. Eventually, HarperCollins combined all the Weetzie Bat books into their own kind of mini-anthology, but they continue to publish her other novels as stand-alones
The Girls by Amy Goldman Koss is 23 thousand words. It's intended for a slightly younger readership (grades 5-8), but I think it still qualifies as YA. It's about clique-ish behavior and is very intense, and also highly efficient when it comes to language.
Louise Rennison's books (Angus, Thongs, etc.) average out to about 40k words apiece. Some are longer, but some are still in the mid-to-high 30s. I think this kind of book actually benefits from brevity, since, rickety boy-chasing plot lines aside, they're mostly just concerned with being clever.

These books are all relatively short, but they all accomplish a lot in a very economical way. They each tell a complete—and often very intense—story. So, to sum up: based only on my bookcase, and on absolutely nothing scientific ;) I think the YA market tends to focus more on an engaging, emotionally accessible book, than on coming in over a certain wordcount.

Provrb1810meggy
02-21-2007, 12:31 AM
Thanks for all the word counts. Where did you get them?

weatherfield
02-21-2007, 01:33 AM
Thanks for all the word counts. Where did you get them?

It's one of my favorite features on Amazon. When they give you the option to search inside a book, one of the many things you can look at is the text stats. There, it gives you the word count, character count, a list of words most often used in the book, and all kinds of other things that mostly just constitute obscure trivia, but are interesting anyway.

Moon Daughter
02-21-2007, 03:31 AM
I never knew Amazon had those features.

moondance
02-21-2007, 01:51 PM
Just a quick word about reluctant readers (I have published three). Certainly here in the UK they are a tiny market (although expanding) and there are only about three publishers who accept them. They are also a very specific skill - the guidelines I have to work with are for teenagers over the age of 14 who have a reading age of below 8 (that's a specific category; there are also strands for writing for the same group with a slightly higher reading age). I have 2500 words for each stand alone story and the vocabulary and sentence construction is extremely limited.

If you are interested in writing reluctant reader books, I would do some homework before submitting - many publishers won't accept them, and those that do may have very strict guidelines for format and structure.

Of course there may be more leeway in the USA, but it doesn't hurt to get the catalogues and find out.

Jimmer
02-21-2007, 09:07 PM
There's a big difference between padding word count and adding depth and complexity. One of the things that separates YA from MG is complexity of plotting and characterization. A typical YA novel is layered and treats more thought provoking issues than books intended for younger readers. It would seem to me that your "novella" could probably benefit from additional layers. Have you had outside readers take a look? Often an objective and experienced outside reader can suggest options for developing additional subplots or areas where additional detail might prove worthwhile regardless of targeted word counts. A lot of time for me, when an outside reader points out a neglected theme or subplot, I smack myself on the forehead and moan, "How did I miss that?!?" It's often amazing how much improvement is realized with a simple addition or enhancement. Don't lock yourself out of any subplot possibilities. Think outside the box. Continuously ask yourself "what if" questions. It's fun to explore beyond the original plot premise.

Shady Lane
03-06-2007, 08:18 AM
Hi....my book that's getting published is actually only about 22,000. Very little. Cantarabooks, my publisher, is very interested in YA novellas that deal with interpersonal relationships and such. They are a print publisher; The first contract is for an ebook, but after 100 copies are sold you're guarenteed a paperback contract. I'd check them out if you're interested.

Elektra
03-12-2007, 05:16 PM
After reading these posts, I decided to shorten by MG fiction to 25,000 words and retarget it for the Reluctant Reader audience. It deals with American football and Lobster Press (Canada) is the publisher I had in mind. I made the ending more straightforward (actually better).

Now, I don't know if Lobster Press distributes in this country. I'll have to do dome more research. But thanks to the poster who mentioned Reluctant Readers. I think it's a great fit for my book--I'm sure I can find some US publishers looking for Reluctant Reader manuscripts.

Maurice

A quick warning: from everything I've seen, a reluctant reader for MG hovers around the 5k mark, maybe even lower.

K.L Hallam
06-10-2014, 10:18 PM
I have a YA novella I've been sitting on for almost a couple years. It's definitely for boys. My own son(and reluctant reader) inspired it. ~Also Gary Paulson, who's just about the only author my son will read.

What do I do with it? I figure I'll have to search for magazines. It's just over 25K. But which magazines? I'm querying a MG project right now. Thanks for any help.

Sage
06-12-2014, 07:35 AM
Wow, I saw who started this thread, and I knew it was ancient ;)

As far as I know, the market for novellas lies in e-pubs, not magazines. I know Tor just started a novella imprint (if SFF), but I don't know if they accept YA for it.

Windcutter
06-22-2014, 01:13 AM
I also wanted to add that the absolute majority of super short YA novels (40k+) I've come across are contemporary/literary. I think I've only seen one 55k fantasy and I read a lot of spec YA.

lauralam
06-22-2014, 01:43 AM
I'm writing 2 novellas to tie into my main series but I'm self-publishing them. At some point I'll do a print collection.