There has been some talk about novellas lately, mainly how they are a good fit for sword and sorcery. Check out one such conversation over at Fletcher Vredenburgh’s site.
But that’s not really where I want to go. I had a conversation on Twitter this morning that started out about how to find markets. No, that’s not where I’m going either, but feel free to make any suggestions you have about markets in the comments. I want to discuss how best to sell novellas.
My natural length to write seems to be novelette and novella length. Mark Finn made a throwaway comment on one of the last panels I attended at Armadillocon, and the basic framework of a story popped into my head. I came back and immediately started on it. In just over 2 weeks I was finished. The first draft came in at 21.5k words. The thing pretty much wrote itself. I’ve let it sit, not only to put some distance between me and the story before I start editing, but classes have started. The two weeks before and after classes start tend to be pretty hectic, with extra headaches this year I’m legally prohibited from discussing. (I’m not kidding. Can you say FERPA? I knew you could.) I’m hoping to do a cleanup pass this weekend and send it to a beta reader while launching into my next, which will be a hard science horror story.
One of the things about this morning’s conversation, aside from an agreement that we need to write shorter, was the lamentation made by more than one person that most markets want shorter pieces.
This didn’t so much get me thinking as it brought some thoughts to the surface that have been rattling around looking for a hole in my head through which to escape.
I wrote a sword and planet novel for NaNoWriMo a couple of years ago. It needs a lot of work before it’s ready to see the light of day, but I wrote a novella set in that world earlier this summer. I’ve got at least two WIPs that will be novelette or novella length, along with a few other pieces sitting on my hard drive.
I’m thinking about self-pubbing these since most of them are longer than what I’ve seen in guidelines for most markets they would be suitable for. The question is what is the best way to go about this?
Do I publish each one separately? If so, how do I determine price? Anything less than $2.99 on Amazon gets a much smaller cut of the sale price, so I’m reluctant to price below that amount. On the other hand, I want readers to feel like they’re getting their money’s worth.
Should I bundle some or all of them together? The one just completed is a stand-alone that I don’t think needs a sequel. So is one of the WIPs. The other is part of a series, an installment of which has seen print in StoryHack Issue 0. I have several completed entries in this series of varying length, so a collection of them isn’t out of the question.
What does the market want? Would you rather read a collection of novelettes and novellas (with maybe a short story or two) where the stories have no connection to each other? Is the better approach to collect stories in a series or common setting? Does it even matter? Befuddled minds want to know.