One of the wonderful aspects of being an author chasing down the self-publishing route is that I am not constrained by the rules of traditional publishing.
This means I can release stories on my own timeline and sooner than I could through traditional means. I can decide on what cover I want for each book. I also get to experiment with pricing to be able to get books into the hands of the most people possible.
One of the other positives with self-publishing is that I can also explore literary forms that traditionally are difficult to sell, such as the novella.
As I have been planning out my Hounds of the North fantasy series, I decided that even though I had Black River completely written as a full length novel that I wanted to be able to provide my readers with a shorter, inexpensive introduction to both my characters and world.
So with that in mind, I decided to write a novella that takes place prior to Black River and focusing on one of the major characters, Shield Scyldmund.
The novella, The Witch of the Sands, covers a few days in the life of Shield and the Hounds while they are in the deserts of Hopht as the last of the walled cities are falling to the Dhurman legions. Shield and his sword brothers are called away from the pillaging of the city to hunt down a witch.
Novellas are traditionally a hard sell in the publishing world.
Short stories reach an upper limit at 17,500 words and works fall into the novel category at 40,000 words.
And novellas inhabit the territory in between, ranging from 17,500 to 40,000.
Now, these lengths are not set in stone but provide a general guideline for categorization and are useful as a reader. You wouldn’t want to buy an ebook calling itself a novel only to find out it is 10,000 words long.
The length of a novella presents problems in traditional publishing. Too long for a short story magazine format and too short for a print book.
But the rise of ebooks has created a space for this literary form.
So I have decided to take advantage of this shift in publishing and have written a 18,000-word plus novella for my readers.
I am anticipating the release of The Witch of the Sands in October 2014. [Note: The Witch of the Sands is available on Amazon now.]
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