Publishers publishing novellas

29 March 2013 / 5 comments
So it's looking like my latest work in progress Unfit for motherhood is going to be a novella. Hovering at around 30,000 words, it's not quite as long as I would like it to be. But do I expand it for the sake of a word count? Or do I accept that the story dictates the form?


I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that it is probably a novella and I'm trying to reassure myself with the novellas that I like, Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Old Man and the Sea, A Clockwork Orange, The Death of Ivan Ilyich and The Metamorphosis. These are all brilliant works, despite, or maybe because of, their shorter length.


I had been feeling like a failure, like someone who embarks on a marathon, but stops halfway, until I read this quote by Nouvella Books' editor Deena Drewis on The Masters Review Blog 'No one really sits down to write novellas—it ends up that length because there’s no more to cut and nowhere to expand; it’s a display of both stamina and restraint.'


Now that it's time for me to start embracing the novella, I'm starting a list of independent publishers publishing novellas. I'll be adding to it over time ...


Nouvella Books http://nouvellabooks.com/
Fremantle Press http://www.fremantlepress.com.au/
Blemish Books http://www.blemishbooks.com.au/index.shtml

Seizure – Viva la Novella (annual competition) http://seizureonline.com/projects/viva-la-novella-2/
The Paris Literary Review (annual prize) https://www.parisliteraryprize.org/index.htm
The Great Novella Search – Busybird Publishing http://www.busybird.com.au/?page_id=1945

5 comments:

  1. This is timely for me because I'm also interested in this form and am working on a novella at the moment. For me it was a decision to work on something smaller than a novel, and also I deliberately chose something that needed a smaller space. I'm also working on a novel, so it's nice to have two different things on the go, and I'm hoping to finish the novella before the other one (it's at 27K words now and I plan for 45K).

    There are a few people championing this shorter form at the moment. If you'd like to read some more contemporary books that I believe are novellas: Helen Garner's The Spare Room; Don DeLillo's Cosmopolis; Julian Barnes The Sense of an Ending and Allison Moore The Lighthouse. All fabulous. Oh and probably Zoe Heller's Notes on a Scandal.

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    Replies
    1. Glad to hear you are also working on a novella! I agree that there seems to be a lot more buzz surrounding novellas at the moment and I've just seen that a major unpublished manuscript award in Australia has dropped their word count to 30k - so it seems that it's becoming more accepted. Thanks for the other book recommendations!

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  2. Actually I meant to publish that comment under my real name with link to my wordpress... annoying for some reason I can't sign in as me. Jenny Ackland

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  3. I seem to be having real problems signing in to comment. Ahem. It's Jenny Ackland, 3rd time lucky:

    30K seems low even for a novella but I don't really know. So is there a range in word counts - like 30 - 45K or something?

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  4. expand it for the sake of a word count? Or do I accept that the story dictates the form?

    I could never advise changing the muse's natural output to fit some particular word count.

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