[LMB] truth in labeling puzzle

Zan Lynx zlynx at acm.org
Wed Oct 19 16:49:01 BST 2016


On October 19, 2016 8:05:04 AM MDT, Lois McMaster Bujold <lbujold at myinfmail.com> 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
>
>
>Thoughts?
>
>Ta, L.
>
>
>--
>Lois-Bujold mailing list message sent to zlynx at acm.org
>Lois-Bujold at lists.herald.co.uk
>http://lists.herald.co.uk/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/lois-bujold

I say go with novella. It is only a little bit bigger.


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