Thursday, October 23, 2014

Query Question: "petite novels"

Are there agents who are willing to represent 100-ish page women’s fiction manuscripts these days? And if so, what is the market? I see the petite novels in self-publish eBook formats but I am uncertain of the global mainstream market.

Generally agents are looking for books that publishers want to print. That means 80-100K words, not 25K. (100 pages =25K approximately)

I'm sure there's a market for shorter novels in ebook format where the writer/publisher can offer it for sale at a low price.  Publishers have overhead that generally preclude offering books at that price unless it's a special, time-limited, discount.


Colin Smith said...

A couple of options spring to mind:

* Hunt around online for publishers in your genre putting together anthologies.

* With a bit of editing, the ms might be eligible for inclusion in a genre-specific magazine. I can't say I've come across many if any mags or journals taking 20K-word stories from unpublished writers, but you never know...

* Self-pubbing is probably your best bet, but be strategic. If you want to self-pub all your work, going this route with this novella might be a good way to introduce the world to your work. Alternatively, you could shelve this and work on a more traditional-length piece, something that an agent/trad. publisher might be interested in. Once you have a couple of trad. pubbed titles under your belt, pull out the novella. You'll be in a better place to discuss options with your agent/publisher (e.g., using it as part of your own anthology of novellas, or epubbing it as something to satiate your fans as they eagerly anticipate your next novel).

I'm sure these are not the only (or even the best) options...

Inkworthies said...

I would say if the story is impossible to flesh out further, trim it to fit an anthology publication and try submitting there - something that length would probably fit right into one of those "Year's Best *insert your genre here*" books. A friend of mine tends to do her best work in short stories, and she's had more luck submitting them to anthologies than trying to bunch 3-4 related short together and sell them as a "book of short stories".

Alternatively, you could self-publish it like Colin suggested and offer it on Amazon and others to build an audience. I have only one caution for that - do NOT, under any circumstances, design your own cover. Don't do it. Writers are very rarely designers as well, and somebody who does covers professionally will also know the market and what works.

Covers are a huge, huge deal for a reason - they sell books. I've seen dozens of these self-designed, low budget catastrophes and they are NEVER good. (At best, they simply could have been a better fit for the genre with a different cover.) Don't do it. Wait until you can afford an awesome cover, or hold off entirely.

The Sleepy One said...

I've seen a few e-only publishers who will acquire novellas. I'm not sure about the quality, etc, of these presses, but it might be an option. Just research the heck out of it and go over the contract carefully (I'd hire a lawyer experienced with book contracts).

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

This is great info. Thanks for sharing!

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

When asked, every agent who's offered an opinion on novellas will say no to them. Reasons vary, including low profit. Novellas are a niche market.

That said, there are many small publishers out there that will take on novellas (frex, The Wild Rose Press for Romance, who has published two of my novellas), but publish them e-book only--again, the whole profit issue.

Self-publishing is always an option, but if you choose this route, do your best to put out a high-quality product. Get edited, splurge on a good-quality cover, and do not cut corners on ANYTHING. Remember, you are competing against professionals. Bring your A-game.

Kitty said...

Why not pair it with two, maybe three, more 'petites' and submit it as one book?