Monday, September 10, 2012

Guest Post - Rachel Morgan - Why Novelettes?

Rachel Morgan is stopping by today!  She is the author of the YA paranormal fantasy novelette series "Creepy Hollow."  You may also remember her as the 2012 A-to-Z Video Challenge Winner.  I was interested in why she chose to do a series of novelettes, rather than a regular ol' novel, and she was nice enough to let me know, despite being in the middle of wedding planning.  Here's what she had to say:

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.

Why Novelettes?

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:

GUARDIAN: 13,700
TRAITOR: 15,200

Kick-butt faerie girl + cute human boy who shouldn't be able to see her 
= trouble for both of them!

The Creepy Hollow Series

Rachel's Links

GUARDIAN is now *FREE* on Smashwords, and should hopefully be free on Amazon soon too!

Thank you for stopping by, Rachel, and for a compelling post!

May you find your Muse


  1. Multiple titles is a good idea. (I know I can't write that fast!) I've read some really good novelettes this past year and enjoyed them.

  2. That's very cool, and pretty much something we're striving for too, having a diverse number of titles under our collective belts. And interestingly enough, the next thing slated for release, after our zombies tale, is a novella.

  3. Thank you so much for hosting me here today!

  4. Actually, what I think is kind of on my blog today.
    Unfortunately, those definitions aren't static anyway. The "definition" of a novel used to be "over 80,000 words," so those things change as tastes change, and tastes have been changing to shorter and shorter.

  5. I'm with you, Rachel! Shorter works are easier to write and edit (harder to do the other stuff, but that's okay) and create a backlist of sorts. That's why I like self-pubbing shorter works. :)

  6. I can never remember the differences between the lengths, so thanks :) I like the idea of a novelette being a complement to a longer piece, like a 'deleted scenes' or a short spin off from the same world/time-frame.

  7. Interesting guest post.

  8. Alex, true. Every time I go to write my bio I sort of slump. This definitely sounds like a good way to get publications out there and readers coming in.

    ABFTS, interesting! I think you guys are kicking ass at getting multiple titles out there. Interested to know what the novelette will be.

    Rachel, thank you for a great post! I enjoyed working with you.

    Andrew, really? Over 80,000 words? I guess that makes sense as my older books are often thicker. Minus Bradbury, I think.

    Cherie, I know a few people who do the same. It really does seem to help.

    Jamie, I've thought of doing that for my novel. Or even short story form to get the characters out there. Not quite sure how to go about it, though.

    Susanne, it was an excellent post, wasn't it?