[LMB] truth in labeling puzzle

Fred Smith fredex at fcshome.stoneham.ma.us
Wed Oct 19 15:11:20 BST 2016


On Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 10:10:21AM -0400, Fred Smith wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 09:05:04AM -0500, Lois McMaster Bujold wrote:
> > So, as has been indicated here, the new Penric novella is done,
> > undergoing final tidying.  (A goal with moving posts, always.)
> > 
> > Soon, I am going to have to figure out what to put on the cover
> > besides my name and the story's title.  The prior two entries in
> > what is developing into this series-in-miniature were labeled "A
> > novella in the world of the five gods", but... this one came out at
> > 45,000 words.
> > 
> > Technically, a novella is capped at 40,000 words.  45k words isn't
> > even half the current market weight for a novel.  The thing was
> > certainly written with the _intent_ to be a novella, and should read
> > and be read like one.  But it now falls between two stools.
> > 
> > So _technically_ it maybe should be labeled "A short novel in the
> > world of the five gods", but I wonder if readers not up on the
> > nuances of literary length labels would be misled.  I had trouble
> > enough the last two times out with complaints from readers who went
> > blasting carelessly into the tales expecting a novel, either because
> > they paid no attention to the subtitling or because they didn't know
> > what the term "novella" meant, which a lot of people don't.  On the
> > other hand, that audience may be becoming trained by now.
> > 
> > Putting the word count out prominently won't help with the careless,
> > because they normally think of books in page count if they think at
> > all.  (Most people not in the trade don't think in terms of word
> > counts enough to translate them into reading expectations.)
> > 
> > So my options are
> > 
> > A novella in the world of the five gods  (incorrect)
> > 
> > A short novel in the world of the five gods  (correct but confusing)
> > 
> > A story in the world of the five gods  (ducking the issue)
> > 
> > Other
> 
> the second, plus maybe a blurb somewhere in the book explaining the
> industry terminology on story typing vs wordcount.
> 

and I meant to add: I'm looking forward to the Penric Omnibus edition :)

-- 
---- Fred Smith -- fredex at fcshome.stoneham.ma.us -----------------------------
                        The Lord is like a strong tower. 
             Those who do what is right can run to him for safety.
--------------------------- Proverbs 18:10 (niv) -----------------------------


More information about the Lois-Bujold mailing list