Long novella or short novel?

So, Suelen.

This is the long novella / short novel, set directly after Tuyo, that involves a Lau surgeon going into the winter country to care for the soldiers too badly wounded in that final battle to immediately travel back to the summer country. But, well, which is it? Calling this a novella versus a novel is essentially an aesthetic choice because it matters only with regard to how I define it on KDP. Here are the choices:

A) Call it Tuyo: Book 5 and consider it part of the series

B) Call it an “associated novella” or other related work.

If Suelen were under, say, 150 pp, I’d say fine, it’s a novella. But it has (I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn this) gotten a bit longer over time, not shorter. It’s going to be about 220 pp (68,000 words). That’s in novel territory. Any number of older novels (and recent novels if you look at romances) are about this length, even though my personal novels average about twice this length.

It’s shorter than Nikoles, but not a lot shorter. That one was about 75,000 words. If I called Nikoles part of the series, well, how about Suelen? The former was set before Tuyo; the latter is set immediately after Tuyo; there’s no obvious guidance from in-world continuity.

I’m about done with revisions, by the way, and just about to begin proofing.

I decided it probably wasn’t necessary to put an animal on the cover. The element that seems like it ought to be emphasized is the Sun. I sent the artist various photos like this one from Pixabay and suggested some variation on this theme. I did consider animals, but nothing came to mind that seemed as suitable.

I will add, Suelen’s actions in the winter lands are undoubtedly going to cause significant ripples in Ugaro society, and arguably in Lau society as well. I hadn’t realized that before I started writing the story, but it certainly became obvious before I reached the end. I think it’s fine that those ripples aren’t showing up yet in Tarashana — there are excellent reasons for a lag — but I’m going to have to remember this for the future.

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9 thoughts on “Long novella or short novel?”

  1. I vote for Tuyo Book 5. I’ve been picking up some new authors lately and have been rather annoyed that their “novellas” aren’t showing up in continuity. Anything that makes it more difficult to find the next story in a series is a bad thing.

  2. I’m assuming Amazon won’t let you insert it as Tuyo volume 2.5, which is what it actually *is*. That being the case… the fact that I don’t recall ever seeing “associated novellas” on an Amazon series page makes me think Allan is probably right about them being difficult to see, but I’m not sure: can somebody point to an existing example on Amazon?

  3. I vote for Book 5. It’s so much easier to find it if it’s part of the series as Allan and Craig said.

  4. Okay, thank you all. Craig, you’re right, no decimal points allowed. I think Amazon may have only recently started to include “associated content” on the series page; an example is on the Black Dog series page, where the paper editions of BDSS I&II and BDSS III&IV are listed below the series titles as “collections.” However, I certainly don’t want to make anything the least bit difficult for anyone who might be inclined to click to the next book, so Book 5 it is.

  5. Was just checking the Starship Mage series page. This is the one I had in mind about there being a novella that doesn’t show up. 11 book series, but also has a novella (which doesn’t show up on the series page) and a 3 book related series in the same universe (also doesn’t show up on the main series page except in the “customers also bought” listing.

  6. FYI, the author’s page suggests he’s writing 8 books a year, which is insanely fast if true, and would explain how he’s got such a big back catalog.

  7. Wow, that is insanely fast. I wonder what the average wordcount is per book.

    The associated content doesn’t show up unless you edit the details of the book to tell KDP that it IS associated content, so that may be why those novellas aren’t showing up on his series page. But you all have persuaded me: I’m making Suelen “Book 5.” If it had turned out to be under a hundred pages, maybe that would be different, but at 68,000 words, it seems pretty defensible to call it a book.

    At this point I’m not even guaranteeing that Tasmakat will be Book 6, since I have other … novellas, stories, who knows what … in mind that I might right before I finish Tasmakat.

  8. If there’s some chance of another short piece before Tasmakat, would you put Suelen together with that (them?) for the printed volume?

  9. Good question, Craig, but probably not. After all, Nikoles was only about 7000 words longer.

    I’m trying different things with Suelen — I think I may put it to 1.15 line spacing. That’s comfortable to read (for me) and brings it to 300 pp, a comfortable size for a book. Or I could go for a slightly larger font. Or I could let it be as short as it actually is about 220 pp, which decreases printing costs and therefore the eventual cost of the paperback.

    One minor complication is that 6×9 is the smallest size for hardcovers, or it was last year. I may not do a hardcover, or I could again mess with line spacing or whatever.

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