I wrote a novella (about 22,000 words). What do I do now? Novellas seem to be squarely in the sour spot, being too long for online zines that specialize in short stories, and too short for agents who specialize in novels. I know some publishing houses (Tor, for instance) have shown a renewed interest in novellas, but as far as I can tell, it's not yet widespread in the industry. Should I look for small publishers myself? Self-publish? Wait until I'm a rich and famous author, and editors are begging to publish anything from me, up to and including my grocery lists and third grade ode to the A-Team?
PS--It's a horror novella, if that helps (or hurts).
PPS--My question actually goes deeper than this single novella, as I've discovered I enjoy the form and am likely to write more novellas in the future. Am I unwittingly limiting myself to a career of self-publishing?
You're in luck.
Novellas are making a comeback.
Short fiction in general is experiencing a resurgence.
For querying an agent, generally a novella is paired with several short stories to make a "book length" book.
You'd query the entire project if you're going the agent route. At least a few of the short stories
should be already-published to demonstrate you've got an audience.
And a fan audience is key here. To get fans you publish stories and build your name recognition.
That can be through smaller presses first, then when you've gotten started, editors and agents are more likely to take a look.
I have two clients, Laird Barron and Jeff Somers, who are actively involved in writing and publishing short stories and novellas. Tenacity and consistency are key here. Send things out regularly, don't get discouraged.
Now, if the ONLY thing you want to write are novellas, you can combine two of them (or maybe three) for a book length project. You'll need an over arching theme of some kind and you query both of them in one query letter. This is trickier than querying a novel, but if you've got a compelling query, I'll read the book.