I just read an interesting short article on the possibilities of the Novella (short novel- 20,000-50,000 words) which have come with the rise of the ebook. In short, Novellas weren’t really practical to produce in print form for their size-cost ratio, but now in the age of ebooks they are very much practical and possible. The issue would be setting a proper price point for them.
Amazon’s Kindle provides a tricky example- on the Kindle your book needs to either be below $2.99 or above it. Below $2.99 you as a writer recieve 30% and Amazon takes 70% of the profit. Above $2.99 that reverses and Amazon gets 30% while you get 70%! So the question becomes- do you charge $2.99 in hopes readers will consider it worth the price? (Especially when some full novels are out there for $2.99?) Or do you charge under that, take the loss in profits, but increase your possibility of people buying your Novella?
Or, are Novella’s the perfect $2.99 product? Quicker to write and produce, but still long enough to justify the cost for the reader? (If only there were a viable $2 price point on the Kindle, to get Novellas in at less than a $2.99 novel , and more than a 99 cent short story.)
What do readers expect? Are they disappointed with only a “short” 20,000 word story? I priced my first outing Hot Soup (which clocks in at just over 10,000 words) at 99 cents, which seemed reasonable since it’s clearly a short story. However, would a reader feel cheated to pay $2.99 for a high quality work only twice that length?
Either way, there are possibilities here. Novellas can let short stories breathe, and keep longer ones from being unncessarily bloated. They may also be a fast form of reading for an ever faster world!