Novellas? Short novels? What’s the difference? Take a look at our previous article for more details, but for now, we’re going to focus not on what makes a novella (or a short novel), but how writing one can be a great idea to exercise your creativity, combat series fatigue, and help you gain new readers. Esquire really got into the popularity of short books over the last few years – particularly why readers gravitate toward shorter novels. The reasons are many, but at the end of the day, we can all agree: when a book is good, it’s good! The length of a good story is the least of your concerns.
While novellas have been around for as long as the publishing industry, if not longer, there is certainly a noted uptick in interest in short volumes over the last few years – across genres! Whereas before you might find plenty of novellas in the areas of literary fiction and romance, now it is fairly easy to find novellas in any genre or subgenre of your choice.
Writers should feel empowered to try writing and publishing a short novel, regardless of their genre of choice. So, what’s so great about short novels on the author side of things?
Here’s what we see as some benefits of writing novellas:
- Short novels can be written quickly – novellas are short by nature! Most are 40,000 words or less, meaning that they can be written fairly quickly. If you already write every day, a novella can be completed in a month or less, depending on how much you write. Consider trying dictation if you haven’t before for an even speedier writing process!
- You can release novellas between major releases – if you release a novel every two or three months, twice a year, or even every other year, it doesn’t matter – you can definitely slide a novella release somewhere between your major releases! Whether the novella in question is related to a longer series or not, novellas are a great way to keep your readers interested in your works between longer waits for your longer novels.
- Short novels can be standalones in a linked world or longer series – if you ever had side characters whose relationships you wanted to explore, or an idea for a shorter story in a much larger world, novellas are there for you to use their space to execute these ideas. Who knows – they may even spark a new series in and of themselves!
- You can leverage novellas in your newsletters, advertising, or other marketing projects – offering a short novel for free if readers sign up for your newsletters is a great way to get readers hooked on your writing, especially if the novella in question is part of a longer series or world you have created, as mentioned above.
- Novellas are fun to write – despite their relatively short length, novellas can offer writers a lot of freedom, as they don’t have to be steeped in complex worldbuilding or saddled with more plot points. Novellas are a way to explore an entirely new idea or to capture aspects of elements from your other narratives. And, of course, they can be a side project to give your brain a break from your ongoing series, for example – which is a great way of combatting series fatigue. Get your wildest ideas out onto the page while know you don’t have a long commitment in store when it comes to writing a novella!
Have you ever written a novella? Do you have plans to try writing a short novel? Let us know! And as always, happy writing from the KWL team.