[LMB] truth in labeling puzzle

Antoine Guillaud antoineperso at gmail.com
Thu Oct 20 06:38:35 BST 2016

Would vote for "A Story in the world of the Five Gods"

and would add an afterword about the official length definitions, perhaps
with some excerpts of the discussions on this mailing list to boot, just to
show that there wasn't any unity of view amongst your fans.


On Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 4:05 PM, 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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