The growing popularity of the novella in the twenty first century is down to these five main factors:
- Discoverability – When online retailers became increasingly important, it was clear that there was going to be great difficultly in finding titles in such an infinite online space. Success was going to depend on visibility. But how to make a book stand out? Publishers found the answer by increasing spending on marketing and massaging metadata – but what could authors do? The answer is that authors found that they could increase visibility for their titles by having more titles available in the retail space: more titles, more reviews, more recommendations.
- Maximising author income – For many authors, advances are not what they were and new author revenue streams have had to be found. For some, this has been through literary events or historical tours, for others it has been penning quick novellas in-between writing more substantial, traditionally-published works.
- Fast publishing – Thanks to the advent digital distribution, a 25,000-word novella can now be self-published a six weeks and an author can have their first royalty cheque in their bank in six months. Many traditional publishers simply aren’t set up for this quick turnaround publishing. This is why many authors are choosing to self-publishing novellas and reap the benefits of more revenue and more readers (who, happily, often go on to buy other titles by the same author).
- Reader habits – Sad but true: recent studies – not to mention the success of James Patterson’s Book Shots – have shown that many readers prefer quick reads.
- Pricing – Many of today’s book buyers are highly price-sensitive – especially when purchasing ebooks and paperbacks. Short-form works benefit from low prices and low costs, which means they have strong profit margins – which is crucial when you are self-publishing and receiving 100% of the profits from a sale (as you do with Type & Tell).
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Image: Walk Quiet Run Quick by Jacqueline Francis & London Faces, Going Places by Jon Appleton are Type & Tell users who have recently published their novellas and are available to buy on Amazon.