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Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I followed a long conversation on FaceBook a couple of days ago concerning the length of fiction in ebook form--"Do you like short stories or novellas, or do you prefer a full-length novel?"

This was interesting, because there didn't seem to be much disagreement among those who commented. The general consensus was that if the story was entertaining, the length didn't matter.

I was surprised to learn, though, how many readers paid little attention to the length when searching for an ebook. Quite a few commented they looked at the cover and genre, read the blurb, noticed the price, and bought it. Most agreed, but added that sometimes they thought they were buying a full-length novel, but the purchase turned out to be a 20,000 word story.

My first Dime Novel, Angel and the Cowboy, was reviewed by a reader. She gave it one star. I was shocked. In her review, she said, "The heroine is no angel, I can tell you that much. And the hero was just hateful. Also, it was a very short story, and somehow I should have been told that."

I make a point of not replying to a reviewer, but I did answer hers. "I can't imagine why you think Angel was not a nice person. What did she do? And how did my hero act that was hateful? And did you not see the number of pages listed near the name of the publisher?" I offered her a refund and explained how she could get that. Her reply cracked me up--"Okay, I admit I made a mistake about the length. But you need a lesson on how to write romances. I suggest you read some good romances by these authors:...And she listed four names, all with the same publisher. I'd never heard of any of them. I suspect they were her friends.  

One of the first things I look for on Amazon when studying a book I might like to buy is the length. Would you believe that is not always available on the Buy page? Mine do state the length, but I have seen some without that information anywhere.

All my Dime Novels are close to the same length--about 21,000 words. For 99cents, the reader gets a fast-paced story with some humor--enough for one evening's reading. I'm a slow reader, but even I can read an ebook this length in one evening.

That's the beauty of novellas as ebooks. Even though we're saving a full-length novel for a special time or for a trip, the novella length provides a great amount of entertainment without investing days to read it.

Tagline for: Kat and the U.S. Marshal
One night in a barn on a cold December night was not enough for Diego Montoya. Will Kat Garrison welcome him with open arms as she did that night?
As they danced, Diego brought her body flush with his, and he kept his right hand just below her waist. He pressed her closer, too, much more than was proper. Slightly dazed, she could barely think.

She whispered. "Diego, move your hand to my back, above my waist."

Whispering back, he said, "No."

"Yes. Do as I say. People will talk."

His voice rumbled low and deep. "I like it where it is."
NOW AVAILABLE: 99Cent Dime Novel-a Western Trail Blazer novella




Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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  1. Celia, you're busy today. I know a lot of people who like short novellas. Still, my best sellers are full length novels. They're also the ones that get pirated.

    Your post made me think, even early this morning.

  2. Interesting post, Celia. Thank you. Writing a compelling short story or novella is an art. Your sales attest to your success at that.

  3. Celia, I like your post, and I like your Dime Novel. Glad you answered the nasty reviewer. I had my share of nasty reviews. I never answer, but I was surprised to see that two readers replied to a particular one, telling her that if she didn't want a love scene, she should search on Google for books without love scenes, and not hurt"this author." I don't know if I should answer and thank them.

  4. I think I'm much like the next person-one who looks at the blurb, cover, title and decides whether to read or not. Though, I have to say, I now do look to see how many pages there are on the amazon page. With a print book a quick check to see the font size, and an estimated heft in the hand, tells me how long I might take to read it. I DO think many readers are now looking for the quicker read- they lead such busy lives that their reading slot is very short!

  5. Writing a short story is an art form. I think in this fast paced world that people with little time would enjoy a short or novella.


  6. Celia, I love your dime novels for several reasons. The price point. You can't beat 99 cents. The length - just right. I can read your stories quickly. The enjoyment. Things come together quicker in a short novel. You know I'm not one for westerns, but I enjoy yours very much because you put me right there in the scene and you offer just enough explaination for me to understand the western atmosphere without bogging me down in description. Sorry for that one star. Sounds like she couldn't see outside her own little bo.

    I do read the blurb cover, title and price point. I want a good strong romance where the hero and heroine work on a problem to come together.

    I do think short stories/novella have their appeal for what Janice says - in this fast paced world people enjoy a quicker story.


  7. I enjoy anthologies for the same reason folks read novellas. Readers can invest less time but get a great story! We don't always have time to read an entire novel, soooooo...

  8. I enjoy the length of your Dime Novels, Celia. They're just right for me to get engrossed in the plot and still keep track of what's happening. Love those covers, also! You always pick out such good ones!

    Morgan Mandel