[LMB] truth in labeling puzzle

Fred Smith fredex at fcshome.stoneham.ma.us
Wed Oct 19 15:10:21 BST 2016

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.

---- Fred Smith -- fredex at fcshome.stoneham.ma.us -----------------------------
                       I can do all things through Christ 
                              who strengthens me.
------------------------------ Philippians 4:13 -------------------------------

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