Archive for December, 2012

Monday, December 10th, 2012
Let’s Talk Size, Baby

No, I’m not talking about that kind of ‘size’. Get your minds out of the gutter. I’m talking about book length. I was on Amazon the other day and noticed that Cynthia Eden had a new release called, The Wolf Within. After buying the book (she’s one of my favorite paranormal romance authors), I noticed that some of the reviewers referred to it as a NOVELLA. Blink. The book is approx. 60,000 words. That’s NOT a novella. That’s a category length book.

Anyway, it made me realize that I don’t think a lot of readers know the differences between book lengths. So I’m going to try to clear up some of the confusion with this post. Wish me luck.

Back in the day, I used to write novellas for Kensington Brava. This was when the late, great Kate Duffy was the main romance editor at the publishing house. Novellas for Brava at the time were running from 20 to 30K in length. I’m sure some stretched over that higher number, but the minimum was 20K for their anthology stories. There were three stories in each anthology and they charged $14 per anthology, which worked out to be a little over $4.50 per story. Yep, you read that right–$4.50. My novellas for Ellora’s Cave were priced even higher. (Keep that in mind, the next time you see a novella priced at $2.99 or $3.99. 😉

Back to my original point, the higher length for novellas in general tends to be around 40K/45K. Are their exceptions? Sure, but once you venture into the 50,000 word range you’re hitting what is known as ‘CATEGORY LENGTH’. This term was coined by Harlequin, I believe. It was used to describe a mid-length book. (ie Longer than a novella, but shorter than a novel.) These books are priced between $3.50 (publisher site price and Walmart) to $5.75. The word count ranges from 50K to 75K. They oftentimes are (and should be) priced a little higher than a novella. Novels start at the 80k length and go all the way to 200K. Though to be honest, if your book is hitting the 175 to 200K range, it might be time to break it up into TWO novels. Again, there are exceptions ***coughHarryPottercough***. Finally, there are short stories, which are at the other end of the spectrum. They can be anywhere from 1000 words to 14K. Once you hit 15K you’re starting to inch into novella range again.

These word counts were developed so that paperback book/magazine lengths could be determined. With the onset of Indie publishing, it’s changed how readers and authors view book length. It’s also changed the value of books. There’s a fine line between valuing and undervaluing work. As an author, I try very hard to balance value with profit. I charge less than what my professional publishers charged because I want readers to feel like they’re getting a good deal. Personally, I LOVE getting a good deal. At the same time, I don’t want readers to think that I work for free–or that I ‘should’ work for free. (That’s CRAZY talk.) Writing is my passion, but it’s also my profession.

For the first time in the history of publishing, midlist authors are making a living with their writing. It’s a great time to be a writer. It’s also a great time to be a reader. 🙂 Authors (like readers) are trying to find their way in this new ‘world’. That means experimenting with book lengths, covers, prices, etc. Most authors aren’t trying to rip anyone off. They want to make their readers happy. (I know I do.) They also want to grow their readership. But it takes time to figure everything out. I know I’m still working on it and my first ebook came out in 2003.

Sunday, December 9th, 2012
Feeling Better/Preparing For Next Year

I went to a Christmas Party last weekend in California and came home with a head cold. It knocked me for a loop for a couple of days, but now I’m feeling much better. I figure since this is the only cold I’ve had this year I really can’t gripe much. 😉

Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends. May the holiday bring light, laughter and love.

Right now I’m finishing up the last of my Christmas shopping, addressing X-mas cards, and putting together project lists for next year. I have a lot I’d like to get written. And I have several advanced writing classes that I’d like to attend, along with a conference or two. If everything goes well, I will be busy, busy, busy. I have a few novellas I plan to tackle next year, but I’m going to try to focus on books that are 50K or longer. What does this mean? It means I probably won’t release nearly as many books as I have this year. Longer for me means writing slower. This is especially true since I plan to explore projects under my other pen name (I have a finished YA that I’m going to read through again, then send off to an editor.).

As you can tell from the above list, 2013 will see a variety of genres from me. I want to finish up my Lords of the Night trilogy (because it’s bugging me) and the follow up to A Wolf’s Tale, Moonlight Kin 2: Aidan’s Mate. Once those are finished, I’m going to work on a couple of Urban Fantasies. One will be the next book in my Ghost Hunter Chronicles. The other will be based on my story in the BLOOD LITE 2 anthology because frankly I’d like to write more horror/dark fantasy. I also have a sci-fi romance trilogy that I almost sold to Tor that I’m still crazy about and a special ops contemporary romance trilogy. Then there’s the erotic vampire horror novella that I need to finish–emphasis on the word horror. I know I won’t be able to get all of the above finished, but I can make a dent in the list if I plan well.

I’m not sure how many of you caught the CBS segment on Indie publishing this morning, but it was a good piece. If you missed it, here’s the link:


Times definitely are a changing.