1. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    Why aren't Novellas Marketable?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by lordofhats, Mar 26, 2008.

    I ask out of curiosity. I hear alot of people say there is no market for novella's. I'm just wondering why. Are they shorter than what most readers would want to read, but at the same time too long (Confusing yes). Are they no cost effective? Why?
     
  2. Milady
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    Milady Contributing Member

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    I think novellas remind people of high-school curriculums... I'm speaking from experience here. *nudges half-burned copy of The Pearl*

    On the other hand, Novellas also don't indulge the reader's "I'm smart, I'm reading a thousand-page-long work of genius" impulse. It seems too trivial in comparison.

    I'd say writing novellas is a gamble.
     
  3. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    I've never actually heard that, but then again, I'm not really sure what the difference is, so I guess that means I've never read a novella.

    But I'd guess the reason would be because the ratio of how much it costs to how much it sells for isn't as good. I'd explain, but it involves a graph, complicated mathematics, and other things that I can't rightly say I understand.

    EDIT:
    wait, so would Nineteen Eighty-Four and Lord of the Flies and such be novellas?
     
  4. Milady
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    Milady Contributing Member

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    Maybe. But I was going more for the Pearl or Of Mice and Men.
     
  5. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    I hate Of Mice and Men. It's a shaggy dog story. Where they shoot the shaggy dog.
     
  6. Pentip
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    Is Lord of the Flies really bad? I think we're going to read that after we get done with Julius Caesar. Shakespeare I can tolerate... other things not so much.
     
  7. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    Lord of the Flies is a cool book, I liked the analogy... you'll find out about it soon enough.
     
  8. Pentip
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    That's just the thing, I'm not sure, but I'd like to be prepared. A book we "read" previously, we were not ready for in the least. A book called "Better Thinking and Reasoning." Deep, that one. Too deep.
     
  9. soujiroseta
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    soujiroseta Senior Member Contributor

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    lord of the flies was pretty cool though you may not think so when you're reading it. i enjoyed it but thats going off topic. i agree with milady about the way people feel about reading novellas. they want to be know to read big books to give the im smart aura even though it may not be present.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The real market is novels. And the cost to the publishers is not so much in per-page costs, most of it is per-publication.

    On the other hand, the reading public does not expect to pay as much for a 100 page paperback as for a 400 page one, so either the publisher must cut the cost to increase the quantity purchased, to the point where there is little or no profit on each unit sold, or live with a very low sales volume with a margin very close to that of a full-length novel.

    Even if the publisher lowers the cost, how many purchasers scanning through the novels in the shelves for their favorite genre will pause to pull out the thin paperback mixed in with dozens of thicker ones, to take a good look at it? So the sales volume will remain low even if it is priced to sell.
     
  11. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    The problem with the novella is sales or profitability.

    Novella's are not long enough generally for publication in print alone, and must be bundled in an anthology or single author set of stories. Historically (with few exceptions) anthologies do not do as well in sales as novels, and single author collections do even worse--even popular authors often do poorly with collections of their shorter works in one book. (this can have an effect on print runs--what markets 'buy' ahead of time, and even the ability of an author to get a contract or improving terms---but that's another topic).

    Online, many markets prefer to go with shorter rather than longer, even with short story length works--tending toward flash fiction. Online readers tend to do better with the shorter pieces than with long (reading via screen). Thus, that discounts novellas.

    Now, with some e-markets, especially romance and such, there is a market for novellas, but not necessarily profitable...or no authors that I've come across that are doing really well.

    That is not to say that there is absolutely no market for novellas, just vastly fewer than for novels or short fiction...and the pay for them is often inferior as well.

    But if your work is (ends up) a novella length, then is what it is. If it's good enough, it'll find a home.

    Just one opinion to add to the mix. Hope it helps.

    Terry
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    cog has nailed it... they don't sell!... people want more pages for their book-bucks, not fewer... so book publishers won't publish them... and they're too long for magazines... that's why there's no market for novellas... in the us, that is...

    i've been told that in europe there is a small market for shorter novels that are sold in airports...
     

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