A novella is simply a short novel, usually about a quarter or third of the size of a full-length book. It contains all the same elements as a novel: well-drawn characters, interesting plot, love interest (for romances), and internal character growth. But the story is much less complicated and moves fairly quickly.
As publishing and books have entered the digital age, novellas have increased in popularity. In fact, over the past few years, I’ve published two novellas. This week my third novella, An Awakened Heart, just released. And I’m currently working on a fourth novella.
Why have novellas increased in popularity?
1. Novellas are shorter and thus take less time to write.
Novellas aren’t necessarily easy to plot (especially for those of us who are accustomed to long novels!). But novellas are less time-consuming to write and thus easier to squeeze into a busy writing schedule.
2. Novellas help keep an author visible.
With thousands of authors vying for attention, it’s all too easy for an author to fall by the wayside or get lost in the crowd. In the current competitive book market, publishing multiple books a year helps authors stay visible.
Novellas offer authors a way to keep their name in front of readers in between full-length novels.
3. Novellas can act as a marketing tool, especially for a series.
Often when a book is sold at a discounted price (or perhaps offered for free), it can act as a means of attracting attention to the author’s other books. Readers see the discounted or free book, read it, then (hopefully) fall in love with the writer and go on to purchase her other books.
While writers may balk at discounting or giving away full-length novels that require considerable time and effort, we’re more apt to consider discounting a novella.
For example, my new e-novella, An Awakened Heart, introduces my orphan train series. The first full-length novel, With You Always, comes out in June, but the free e-novella just released and will hopefully get readers excited about the upcoming story.
4. The lower price and shorter length of novellas makes them an appealing purchase.
With the plethora of books available and the busyness of our modern culture, readers are more hesitant to pay $10-$15 on a new book they might not have time to read.
But readers are more willing to pay a couple of bucks and often appreciate a “quick read” that fits into their hectic schedule. The shorter, inexpensive book offers an appeal that can put novellas at an advantage over longer more expensive books.
5. Novellas can bridge the gap with new readers.
Many readers are wary about trying new authors, generally sticking to authors they know and love. Buying and reading a book is an investment, so readers are often careful about where they spend their hard-earned dollars and their limited time.
In the age of self-publishing and with the explosion of new authors, there are those daring readers who like to explore and branch out. But many readers have become even more wary about trying new authors, especially if they’ve purchased a book that sounded good but didn’t deliver.
Novellas offer readers a way to “try” an author without having to make a big investment in money or time. If they don’t like the author’s style, then they don’t feel they’ve “blown” their money. But if they do like the story, then they’re excited to find a new author they can add to their must-read list.
If you’ve never read a novella (or even if you have!), I invite you to try my newest novella, An Awakened Heart for FREE! You can find it at any online bookstore or you can discover more information about it and download it HERE.
What do you like best about novellas? What do you like least?
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