[LMB] truth in labeling puzzle

Corrina Lawson corrinaannelawson at gmail.com
Wed Oct 19 19:49:09 BST 2016


I like stories. I rarely track if they're novels or novellas, at least in
eform.

Corrina

On Wednesday, October 19, 2016, 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.
>
>
> --
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