[This is a continuation of this article from earlier this year, where I examine the idea of creating novellas to supplement author income.]
In the last post, I discussed more the ‘self-publishing’ component of novellas. To summarize that post.
Pros: Can be done quickly, requires less editing, allows you to expand different parts of a story without having to create a fully fleshed out novel, builds out your world and provides other small, continuous income streams.
Cons: Takes you away from your primary goal of finishing novels, too many or the wrong idea can slow you down, still requires effort and money to self publish, can be a low return on investment.
I promised that I’d revisit this in order to give my opinion, now that I’ve completed two and it’s been a full chunk of time since the last one was released. I can say that, while they were fun to write, I definitely think they delayed me from working on Iron Tribune. If you read one of my previous articles, I’ve had a really hard time sitting down and focusing on my third novel. Part of it is, I think to blame on the amount of time spent between novel two and three. I released number two in early 2013, here it is late 2014, and Iron Tribune is not close to being done. I may have two novellas to show for the time lapse, but not everyone is as interested in them as they are the main story. In fact, people can be taking somewhat of a leap of faith that they’ll enjoy a sidestory or something about a background character.
Another issue is also pricing. Novellas fall into a pricing no-man’s land. They aren’t loss leaders because they require the novels themselves to be understood to their full effect. I’ve been running Antioch Burns at $1.99 and Roma Aeronautica at 99 cents, just to see if the cost made any difference. My eventual plan is to run them as part of an anthology, but that’s a ways in the future. But too much cost makes people feel like they aren’t getting enough for their money. Too little and your return on investment in time and effort (and editing, cover art, etc) is minimal. Each sale of Roma Aeronautica grants me roughly 33 cents. It will take quite a long time to pay off both cover art and editing getting only that amount. So pricing can be difficult for novellas as well, and I’ve found that to be a challenge.
Finally, getting reviews for novellas from established reviewing sites/groups/bloggers can be hard as well, since it isn’t a novel, and most places already have heaps of books waiting to be read, much less your e-book only copy of the novella.
So what do I really think? Novellas are fun breaks, if you consider them to be just that – a short break from the main story – but in reality, can delay and hamper an author’s main story. It’s taken me a while to get back into regular writing, but I been writing a bit more every day, which makes me happy. We’ll see how it all shakes out. In the meantime, Carpe Diem!