Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What is a Novella?

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2015 is turning out to be my "Year of the Novella." Having only previously been published once in novella length ("Christmas Service" in the NYT Best-selling Log Cabin Christmas Collection) this year I have FOUR novellas releasing.

Some folks have asked me "So what's a novella, anyway?"

Easy answer: (from


nounplural novellas, novelle 
 [noh-vel-ee, -vel-ey] (Show IPA)
a tale or short story of the type contained in the Decameron of Boccaccio.
a fictional prose narrative that is longer and more complex than a short story; a 
short novel.

Clear, right?

Basically, a novella is a story that varies in length from 15 thousand and 45 thousand words. Anything shorter is considered a Short Story, and anything longer is considered a Novel.

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Novellas have risen in popularity in recent years, with novella collections that center around a particular theme at the forefront.  Today's readers seem to appreciate the shorter lengths that allow them to finish a story in an evening, plus the ability to read authors they are familiar with while sampling the work of authors that are new to them.

Novellas are also being used as marketing tools, value-added material that accompanies a release of novel-length fiction and gives the reader a little extra. In just a few weeks, I'll be having a novella releasing ahead of a novel as part of a marketing campaign to garner interest in the coming novel.

In their own way, I have found novellas both easier and more difficult to write. Easier in that the word-count is shorter, but more difficult in that you really have to streamline the story. There is no room for subplots, and not much room for secondary characters. Having a theme, like Homesteads or Eligible Bachelors helps to narrow the focus, but it also hems in the possibilities.

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In the end, I've decided that I love writing novellas, and I love being part of novella collections. In just three weeks, my first release of 2015, The Homestead Brides Collection releases, and we're planning an epic blog tour and giant gift-basket giveaway where each of the 9 authors in the collection has selected a gift or gifts that pertain to her story, and they're all being collected for one lucky reader. We're also giving away autographed copies of the collection signed by all 9 authors! I love this type of cooperation and joint effort.

Question for you: Do you enjoy novellas?

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  1. I haven't actually read one yet Erica! I need to get cracking on that. Maybe yours will be the first. :)

  2. As a general rule I do not like novellas. I have read some in a collection, which is fine if it carries the story along. Really enjoyed the Smitten series. If it's just a teaser or leaves you with an uncompleted story just to get you to buy the complete novel I don't like that. Especially when you find out after the fact. Sneaky and I won't buy from that author again. Things like that should be told in the blurb on the back or in the description if it's an ebook. That's why I read a lot of reviews before I decide if I want to buy a particular book. I really prefer novels of at least 250 pages. In a novella, by the time I really get into a story, it's over!

  3. I love reading novellas because it's an easy way to get a quick reading fix at the end of a long and busy day without committing to a full-length novel. Novella collections are also a great way to get introduced to a new author- that's how I discovered I like Regina Jenning's writing style.

  4. Yes and no - for the above reasons mentioned by you and Gail. I love the fact that they can be read in a limited amount of time and do enable one to become acquainted with a new author's writing more quickly, also enjoy them around holidays - such as Christmas. However, my preference will always be reading a long book that contains more sub-plots and characters - especially, if it is a book written by one of my favorite authors.

  5. I generally don't enjoy novellas, to be honest. I have found a few I like, but most feel too short and lacking. I don't get to know the characters very well and often find the romance to be unrealistic. But, I'm one of those people who loves to sit down with a 300 page book and plow straight through it. I will pick up novellas if they are free, to try a new-to-me author or if a favorite author has one coming out, but otherwise I typically avoid them.


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