Posts Tagged ‘ novella ’

The Mystery of the Disappearing Modern Day Novella: Why Length Shouldn’t Matter 

img_0123I occasionally get asked by my readers why some of my books are short. And by short I mean between 30 and 60,000 words. In fact only three of my books are what the industry accepts as novel length. Truth is, traditional publishers and literary agents tend to reject work that doesn’t hit the golden mark of 75,000 words (80,000 in some cases). There was even advise on a very popular agent search site for writers to shelve any novellas they have and focus on getting a few novels accepted by an agent or publisher first. Their novellas would then get a chance to see the light after they develop a strong readership. And when seeking to advertise your work, if you are self published, don’t bother trying if your book isn’t novel length. Most websites have clear rules stating they won’t accept your work. This idea baffles me. It really does.

I admit I initially started off by following these guidelines (hence the three books) but the simple fact is, not all stories need to be fleshed out to get the message across. Sometimes all a writer needs to share with the world can be conveyed in 60,000 words. Or 40,000. Maybe even 10,000. You get my drift. Don’t get me wrong, a tome is fine if it is actually written in such a way that readers feel the length is justified (one of my favourite books is the Pillars of the Earth and it’s a whooping 312,000 words). We can all relate to flicking through a few pages of a book just to realise that the only thing we got out of all those words was that it was a cold autumn’s day. And then we wish for those few minutes of our lives back, to no avail.

There is also the silent rule that books of novella length are only acceptable for children or middle grade books. Obviously this is nonesense as there are a good number of critically acclaimed works written for adults which fall very comfortably below (or just above) the 50,000 word mark. The problem being that most of these books were written over 40 years ago, which supports my theory that the rejection of novellas is a recent push by publishers and agents to appease some unknown quota. I wonder how different the world would have been if these books had been thrown into the rejection pile just based on their word count. Which brings me to the list below (yes, I actually spent some time doing research for this post). Some books on the list do in fact fall into the short novel category, but they count if we consider the modern day rejection rule of nothing less than 75,000 words. It could be a much longer list but I decided to go for books I’ve either read or have on my reading list so I can (mostly) attest to being satisfied by the completeness of the prose. A simple search engine click will throw up hundreds more and, trust me, some titles may surprise you. Here we go:
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925

Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad, 1902

Breakfast at Tiffanys – Truman Capote, 1958

Animal Farm – George Orwell, 1945

The Mist – Stephen King, 1980

I Am Legend – Richard Matheson, 1954

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens, 1843

A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess, 1962

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The Summer of Brian – Rebranding

The Summer of Brian cover

Seeing as I’m a sucker for over working myself, I recently decided to rebrand some of my older books. The covers for Aversion and Sentient kind of stand out from the rest and I’ve wanted to give my other novels a makeover for some time now. So, I started with the short and sweet “The Summer of Brian”. Funny thing about this novella is that I’ve never marketed it like I’ve done for the others, yet it has been my fastest selling work and given me the most total sales (I think it’s probably out sold all the others put together). Shocking! Anyway I thought I’d give it some TLC first, seeing as it’s been so good to me. Like all my other covers, I’ve gone for a simple theme – single(ish) item in the middle of a page. Hope you like it.

Author Interview at Indie Author Land

Aversion - Cover revealOh yes, I’m loving 2013 so far! I was recently interviewed by the lovely people at Indie Author Land where we took a look at Aversion and also covered a few bits on me 🙂 Click here for a link to the interview.

Aversion – Book One of The Mentalist Series

Aversion - Cover reveal

It’s finally here! You can now get your e-copy of Aversion – Book One of The Mentalist Series via




It will be available on iBooks, Kobo and Nook later on in the month so look out for further updates here. Thanks to everyone who made this project grow from an idea into a finished product. I’ve really appreciated all your input. Now, let’s start clicking those download buttons!

Announcing Book Blog Tour for Aversion

My first blog tour for Aversion launches on the 5th of December! I’m extremely excited about it and very grateful to Fara Hanani, of Tumbling in Books, for hosting and doing all the hard work. There will be opportunities for reviews, guest posts, interviews (author and characters), excerpts and giveaways so lots to get stuck into.

Please share this link with anyone who might be interested in participating in the tour.

Goodreads link for the book is below –