Defining the Novelette
Wikipedia gives the following information regarding the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and their Nebula Award categories:
Novel: over 40,000 words
Novella: 17,500 to 40,000 words
Novelette: 7,500 to 17,500 words
Short story: under 7,500 words
People seem to use the terms novella and novelette interchangeably, as I’ve seen “novellas” out there that are under 17,500 words. At the end of the day, I don’t think it’s too important exactly what you call it, as long as readers know what length of story to expect.
So why did I decide to publish several shorter stories instead of one (or more) longer novels? Well, there are several reasons:
1) I noticed that most successful self-published authors have a list of published works behind their names, not just a single novel. So I wanted to do that too, but it would take me years to publish several novels. So I figured the easiest way to get multiple titles out into the world in a short-ish amount of time would be (obviously) to make them short works.
2) I’ve always loved series, and not just book series, but TV series too. Watching characters and relationships develop over multiple interlinked stories is fun—and kind of addictive!
3) Writing, editing, polishing and formatting a story of around 20,000 words is a lot more manageable that doing all of that for a massive novel!
So for Creepy Hollow, I took all those reasons and put them into a series of episode-length books, to be published at regular intervals (which has now stopped for a few months, because planning a wedding seems to take more time that I’d anticipated!)
The Response from Readers
The response has been mixed, actually! Some have said in their reviews that they enjoy a story that’s short enough to fit into a single evening / busy reading schedule. Others have said that the stories are too short and just as they’re getting into them, they end.
Would I Publish Future Series in the Same Way?
Hmm ... Right now I’m thinking no, but I suppose I shouldn’t rule out the possibility! As a reader, I can understand why most people want a longer novel rather than receiving a story in little bits. Also, while it’s easier to write and edit shorter works, it’s a lot of effort to produce (cover, ISBN, launching each time) multiple books. There is definitely a place for novellas and novelettes, but perhaps it’s better to keep shorter works as companions to series of longer novels? What do you guys think?!
PS - In case anyone's interested in word counts, here they are:
Kick-butt faerie girl + cute human boy who shouldn't be able to see her
= trouble for both of them!
The Creepy Hollow Series
Thank you for stopping by, Rachel, and for a compelling post!
May you find your Muse