5 Things You Need to Know About Why I Write Novellas

Publishing continues to change and shift and the length and style of books continues to do the same. Writers are not held to one length or one contract anymore. We can publish what’s right for us right here and right now.

Readers have asked me over the years why don’t I write longer. I get reviews and emails saying, man I wish this or that story was longer. So, because I am in this reboot of Lissa Matthews so to speak, I thought I’d answer this question, because I don’t see me changing the length I write too drastically in the near future. It could happen, but until then, here are my …

Time … Writing novella was a conscious choice for me. I wanted to write shorter than full length. It doesn’t take 30 forevers to write a novella. My sweet spot is between 25,000 and 40,000 words. I have plenty that are under 22,000 words and a few that are over 41,000 words. I write where the story takes me. I write what the story in my head is meant to be. I write what is necessary for me to tell through the characters eyes. Not every story is meant to be 50,000, 75,000, or 120,000 words. It doesn’t take you that long to read, either. And everyone, readers and writers, our time is precious and ever more limited and distracted. But don’t take that to mean the story isn’t important, it is. Its very important. Each one is saying something, showing me and you something, pulling us in to a different life for a moment. You can read one of my novellas and escape for a few hours and then get back to your life and the things you need to get accomplished. Time is valuable. There aren’t enough hours in our days. Most of us, even if we had an extra 6 hours would still need more. I love novellas for this reason. I can read a book, get involved, get finished and get back to my day. It allows me a little fantasy in the midst of reality. I’ve been reading a lot of full length books the last few months that take me days or weeks to finish and I’m way behind on my reading goals for the year because of this.

It takes skill … Some do not think this is true, after all, it’s a novella, how hard can it be? Some of us know it is true. And some who don’t write novellas know it’s true, as well. Not every book written has to solve a huge outward problem. Not every book written has to solve any problem at all. It could just be about sex, which is definitely not a bad thing. Nope. But just as writing long, in depth, full length novels take skill, writing novellas takes skill too.

More titles … You get more stories. Presumably. If I do my job. You get more stories. More often. And this is not about quantity over quality. That’s not what I mean. What I mean is that I’m able to finish something quicker and get it edited quicker and into your hands quicker. Several authors do this very successfully … Alexa Riley and Mina Carter. They write quick, hot books and get them out for their readers to devour.

Because I can … Yes. I said it. Because I can. I can write any length I want. As I said at the beginning of the post, with publishing the way it is, authors can write what they want, any length they want, and publish when they want. We no longer have to wait on a publisher to give us the go ahead or give us guidelines to follow, only accepting this length for this type of story. It’s in our hands now. It’s within our power. And, while it once scared me, I’ve righted that thought process and find it to be awesome now.

Price points … When my novellas were at publishers, they could charge whatever they wanted. Sometimes, they had to charge outrageous amounts in order to make money. They were slightly higher than average, but it worked for them for the most part. When things began to go downhill, they still charged outrageously and paid for it with lower sales. It was too late once they began lowering prices. I can charge for new and re-released titles whatever I want. Whatever I believe is reasonable. I have several things at $0.99 right now and some of those will go up and some will stay at that price. My novellas are worth more than $0.99. I write well. I write raw. I write real. I put real emotion into what I write. Some readers only want free books. I get that. Some only want $0.99 and some won’t pay that because they perceive it as a bad book if it’s priced that low. The market has been glutted to death with $0.99 books for several years now and honestly, while I will buy some at that price or free (usually new to me authors), I pay $2.99-4.99 for an ebook. I want to cry if it’s more than $4.99. But that’s a whole other argument (it doesn’t cost near as much to produce an ebook, no matter who you are). Especially when NY publishers charge $8.99 and up for fiction. But for these books, I often go to the bookstore and buy the print or hop over to an online shop and order the print. Which is part of the game … But like I said, that’s an argument for another time. I want to keep my price points affordable to those who read my book, but I also want to make money at my job, the same as readers like you make money at your jobs and unless a writer has rabid readers, for most, $0.99 isn’t the money maker. It’s the $0.99 money loser.

So, those are some of the reasons I write novellas over full length novels. It may change. But I’ll continue telling the story from the characters as they want and need me to tell them. They often have a specific point in their lives, a certain thing that changed for them that they want told. They may not want the whole drama spilled on the page and novellas work for them. And yes, I talk about my characters as though they’re living and breathing like you and me because in my head, they are.

I welcome questions and comments, but for now, I’m going to sign off …

~lissa

To Finish Or Not To Finish The Book…

There really isn’t a question or an option. Finishing the book is a must. And soon. Like soon soon. Like a few weeks ago soon.

So, once again, I’m on a mission to write 10,000 words this weekend. 2500 words a day for 4 days. That’s what I must do. The book will be out later this month, so, I really have no choice. Life, once again… Well, it’s can’t get in the way. It has to be put on hold and the family has to fend for itself and I have to be left alone for a few hours a day.

Writing sprints are my friend.

Family members who want to know what we’re doing, eating, etc… are not my friend in cases like this. Can anyone else relate? Anyone? Bueller?

10,000 words in 4 days (or whatever amount you need). 10,000 is a goal, but maybe not your goal. I’m flexible.

Leave a comment if you want to play along. Starting word count, if you’d like.

Social media, too. #10KWeekendsforWriters

Join me in my insane quest, please. Won’t you?

~lissa

 

I’m the road, but I’m planning to write…

It’s that time of week again. Time for word count challenges and working your way and mine up to 10,000 new words by midnight Sunday (9/24/2017). Can you do it? Can I?

I didn’t last weekend. I think I maybe got 200 words, before the spouse came down ill with an infection and fevers. I haven’t written anything all week, either. I’m on my way to the mountains of North Georgia this weekend for a little time away (though the famdamnily is coming with) and hopefully some distraction free (meaning no pets, no chores) writing and relaxation.

ILinky is still not working on my site, so if you want to play along, simply leave a comment below and keep track with your starting and ending word count. The hashtag for social media is #10KWeekendsforWriters and you can find me on Twitter (@lissamatthews) and on Facebook (authorlissamatthews and LissaMatthewsAuthor) and on Instagram (@lissamatthews).

So, give it your best shot and I’m going to give it mine. I’m behind on finishing my current WIP and it’s time to buckle down, even in the mountains.

Good Luck and Get Writing!

~lissa

10K Weekends for Writers – January 5-8, 2017

Happy New Year, Writers!

It’s a new year and another chance for us to write ALL THE WORDS!

I pledge to be better at this. And I hope… Like really, really hope I can’t get more people involved. This could be such a fun thing, if I could just get it to grow.

So, the way this works is…

From today, Thursday, January 5th through Sunday, January 8th, you, me, whoever, writes or aims to write 10,000 words. Broken down that’s 2500 words a day for 4 days. It’s a lot, or it sounds like a lot. I’ve been averaging about 1000 words a day this week on revisions. I’d like more.

I have several WIPs going and haven’t decided yet which one I’m going to pull out and try to make some progress on. Yet. I’ll have that decided by the end of dinner.

There is a Linky at the bottom of the post where you can add your name and website, blog, etc…

You can grab the button from the sidebar if you’d like for your own site or for social media. The hashtag is #10kweekendsforwriters

Invite your friends or your enemies. I don’t care. I’d just like to have a crowd of people this year join in.

Leave a comment with what you’re working on or just with your starting word count. Or, leave a comment on social media (don’t forget the hashtag #10kweekendsforwriters) with your starting word count and throughout the weekend with your progress and with your final word count on Sunday evening.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Otherwise, get writing!

~lissa

10K Weekends for Writers – December 15-18, 2016

Are ya gonna play with me? Write with me? Cheer me on?

What do you mean, no? Meanie…

Okay, seriously… Who’s with me? Yeah, I know it’s the weekend before Christmas, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get our write on a little bit, does it? Of course it doesn’t!

10,000 words or however many you can manage with your hectic holiday schedule. Me, I have no plans but to write. Well, college football bowl games start Saturday, so… But, I can still write.

And write I will. There’s another holiday book to get out to whatever readers want it!

There’s about 9000 words left to write on this book. I can crank that out.

#10kweekendsforwriters on social media… For support and cheering on.

Comment below with your starting word count and come back Sunday night with your ending word count.

Add your name to the Linky below as well.

Have fun. Add words.

(And one of these damn days, I’ll have other writers to play with and I can stop talking to myself!)

~lissa