WITS is pleased to welcome back Sharla Lovelace! And psst, she's doing a giveaway. 🙂
Hi! Thanks to Orly and the other peeps at WITS for having me!
I was asked to talk about novellas today, and I’m excited about that. Novellas have become the new in-trend, short little bursts of story that can be wonderful all alone, or fill gaps between novels, or attach themselves to a series. Possibilities are endless. My first shot at writing a novella was back in October, with JUST ONE DAY.
When my agent suggested it, I honestly was already thinking about it. I had friends who were diving in the novella pool, and I thought it would be really cool and a quick way to get some new material out there. I thought it would be easy. Hey, a third the length of a novel—piece of cake, yes?
Novellas are tricky little creatures. It’s taking what you see in your head as a full story, and putting that in a compression chamber, hoping it doesn’t get the bends. *sorry, that’s my former scuba-diving life talking*
But it is challenging, at least for me. Plots have to be lent to a quicker resolution, relationships have to develop faster, but yet at the same time that needs to make sense. You can’t just chop things off or rush a plot, there needs to be a reason for the short timeframe. When I was thinking of how to approach it, I thought of my friend Roni Loren’s novella. She writes erotica, and her novella Still Into You had the tagline: Three days, no rings…
See? Three days. There’s a reason for the timeframe to be short. Everything had to move to be resolved in three days. That helped me think about things I could do, story ideas I could come up with that would have a reason to be short. And I ended up with a story about a woman who’s been given 24 hours to give an answer…yes or no. And JUST ONE DAY was born.
Now, back there I mentioned that I wanted to get some new material out there, and this was the primary push on why I went the novella direction.
Mine is a standalone, but like I said, these are great little tools for connecting to a series … maybe taking off with a minor character and having a little fun with them. Or, like in my case, to fill in a time gap between novels.
My first book came out in April, and my second was slotted for November, so to give readers something AND generate some buzz for the upcoming book, my agent and I self published the novella a month before that release.
Traditional publishers pull these into their contracts as well, but mine didn’t happen to have that, and while my agent and I talked about trying to attach it to a traditional house, the timing was off. Even with a short work that will only be pubbed digitally, a traditional house is likely to take six months with it. While you get the marketability of the house, we needed it faster.
I was lucky, in that my agent is also involved in an e-pub venture with all the online e-tailer connections and all the marketing and editing capabilities of a publisher. So she and I pubbed this one ourselves in a matter of weeks instead of months. In addition to that, she was able to score me a slot in Nook First.
This was a good thing. 🙂
I wasn’t sure about that at first. I thought that excluding a whole market (Kindle) for 3-4 weeks, would hurt my sales, but in reality it worked to my advantage in a major way. The exposure and push of Nook First pushed this little e-book novella to #3 on the Barnes & Noble E-book Bestseller list.
Can you say “eeeeeeeek”??? For a time (a short time) I was sandwiched between two of the 50 Shades books, and there for a whole three hours I was one above J.K. Rowling’s adult book. Did I take screen shots to save for proof and posterity? You bet I did!!
It didn’t last of course. LOL. Once I was off the Nook First roster, it slowly dropped under all these bestselling authors who actually stay there for the long haul, but that’s okay. I can say I was there.
And regardless of where it landed, it served as an “in-between” between my print novels, giving my readers something to chew on, that also had teasers of both my novels in the back. I’d recommend this to anyone. These novellas are jewels! You can use them how and where and when you like, doing the most important type of promo you can ever possibly do: putting something new in front of your readers. Whether it’s in between novels, filling up a dry spell between contracts, or having something generating sales while you are out on submission.
Have any questions? Please throw them out there, I’d love to help.
And as my thank you for coming by and commenting today, I’ll pick a random commenter tonight to win a download of my novella JUST ONE DAY. Enjoy!
Sharla Lovelace is the National Bestselling Author of THE REASON IS YOU, BEFORE AND EVER SINCE, and the e-novella JUST ONE DAY. Being a Texas girl through and through, she’s proud to say she lives in Southeast Texas with her family, an old lady dog, and an aviary full of cockatiels.
Sharla is available by Skype for book club meetings and chats, and loves connecting with her readers! See her website www.sharlalovelace.com for book discussion questions, events, and to sign up for her monthly newsletter.