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Friday, January 16, 2015

Guest Blog: Em Petrova: More Book for Your Buck

Recently I’ve noticed a new trend. It’s a little disturbing to me and some of my author friends because most of us cannot hit reader expectations and we aren’t even going to try.

There have been a lot of readers leaving poor reviews that have nothing to do with content or an author’s writing. These low-star reviews weren’t given for bad grammar or typos.

They were given because the books are TOO SHORT.

Books that are novel-length according to publishers, 80-120,000 words, are now being classified as a novella to readers. Why?

Here are a couple of my ideas:
1. The Boxed Set is at fault—when you box up 12 authors who each have 20,000-word stories, you end up with—I’m no damn good at math—I’m a writer—240,000 words for a whopping 99c.

Yes, the boxed set has its place. It gets your work in front of a wider audience and teases the reader to buy more from you. But are readers now becoming so used to a whopping book upward of 500 pages, do they feel gypped with a 250 page novel?

2. Huge books are popular. Look at Outlander and the other books in Diana Gabaldon’s series. Outlander is 850 pages in mass paperback. In Kindle it probably looks a hella-lot longer.

If readers are used to massive books, I’m sure they are feeling cheated by a 180-page novel I write. Samhain Publishing considers anything over 55,000 words a novel. My books hit that as do millions of other titles getting bad ratings because they’re too “short.” You can check out some awesome long books here (http://listverse.com/2009/06/06/top-10-longest-novels-in-the-english-language/).

Back in the day we went to the bookstore. We purchased paperbacks for $6.99-9.99 and sometimes higher. I don’t know about you, but I generally read a romance novel in a day. Didn’t you? I paid $6.99 for a day’s entertainment.

Now consider ebooks. The same book might be $3.99-$6.99. The pages are the same. You’re paying less plus you’re not storing thousands of books on your shelves at home. You can make room for things like canned goods and batteries for the coming Zombie Apocalypse.

Are readers happy with these prices for a day’s entertainment? I’ll ask you to weigh in with comments but first let’s talk novellas—much shorter in length.

I consider a novella 20,000 words to 55,000 words. Publishers have different viewpoints on this as do Indy authors. It takes me half the time to write a novella compared to a novel. It might take readers half the time to finish the book. If my novella is $2.99 and it takes you three hours to read it, it’s still less than going to the movies. Less than bowling, roller-skating, jumping in a bouncy house or buying a #7 extra value meal at McDonald’s.

Is that value to you? Are novels too short in your opinion? Do you prefer long or short books? Do you feel cheated when the story isn’t long enough for you?

Please weigh in!

BLURB:
Here’s a little peek at my smoking-hot cowboy menage REINING MEN (considered a novel LOL)
Reining Men out now!

The Boot Knockers Ranch, Book 3
 There’s no escaping ranch policy—anything to please a lady…

The Boot Knockers Ranch caters to women in all ways. And now rookie Paul is officially part of the team. He’s had six months to hone his skills with the ladies and prides himself on being a prime catch.

Jack would agree. He can’t get the rugged cowboy out of his system. He wants Paul in his bed more than anything, but his best friend has always been resistant to relations with other men. Jack’s instinct says different, but he values Paul’s friendship too highly to push it.

Then Jack takes on beautiful new client Lissy Lofton and finds himself falling hard for the confident show jumper. He’s not the only one. Lissy has caught Paul’s attention, and the attraction is mutual.

But now Jack has a problem. Lissy’s sexual appetite is so ravenous, he doubts he can last the week without backup. Which presents an irresistible opportunity to invite Paul into their bed—where the incandescent heat brings all their walls tumbling down.

Warning: Contains two smoking-hot cowboys whose drive to please the same woman spurs a desire to please each other.
BUY Links:
Amazon   B&N   Samhain


BIO:
Em Petrova lives in Backwoods, Pennsylvania, where she raises four kids and a Labradoodle named Daisy Hasselhoff. Her dream is to buy an old pickup and travel small-town USA meeting people and hearing their stories. Her heroes are hardworking—in bed and out and she is known for panty-scorching erotic romance.

Website: http://empetrova.com/
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Blog http://hardworkingheroes.wordpress.com/
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Thanks for reading,
Em Petrova
~hardworking heroes—in bed and out~

9 comments:

Sandy said...

Gorgeous cover, Em!

I read Harlequin Intrigues a lot, but I bet they're considered short now.

vicki batman said...

Hi, Em! A story should be considered and read no matter what the word count. I write anywhere from 1,000 words to 80,000. For me, word count depends on what the story dictates.

So someone might be missing a good short piece.

Paris said...

I think I approach reading from an author's perspective and the length of the story has little to do with how much I think it's worth. If the writing holds my interest and the author's voice is intriguing, I'm satisfied. If I'm reading a short story, I don't have the expectation that it should be longer but I am disappointed if the author hasn't done their job, namely effectively tell the story that he/she promised.

As for boxed sets, I think readers realize they are getting a taste of an author's voice and storytelling capability which is all an author may expect from this promotional venue. The reader might be more inclined to pay more for a story by an individual author that they've practically read for free.

Rose Anderson said...

Oh so true. I've seen authors mention right in the blurb that the story is a novella. Anyone reading the blurb then buying knows up front it's a shortie. Still, bad reviews for being too short are left. I've also seen bad reviews given to authors for slow download from Amazon. The internet gives meanness an opportunity to shine.

jean hart stewart said...

I've given up trying to meet expectations as to length. Stories, at least to a certain extent, dictate their own length. It's a constant puzzle,though.

Cara Marsi said...

Em, I love your bio. I consider a novella anything between 25k-50k. I have no problem reading short works. In fact, I like it because I have so little time. I've not heard the complaints about short works but for my novellas and short stories I put the word count in the description so the reader knows upfront.

Melissa Keir said...

Hi Em! It's wonderful to see you. I love to read books about amazing characters. Some authors I buy no matter what length and price. But my free time is harder to come by. I love to read shorter books now...under 50K. I can get a satisfying read and all the love I want.

I agree with Rose about how Amazon and the internet allows people who wouldn't say anything to your face, to hide behind the screen and comment on your life, the size of your books or the color of your hair. I just hope that some people who read the review will shake their head and just ignore the ones who write the obviously crazy reviews. :)

Karen H said...

Most of the books I read are print with between 375-400 pages. Don't have a clue as to word count. I don't care for books with less than 200 pages for the simple reason everything feels too rushed. Time hasn't been taken to develop characters, plot, conflict, etc. and the whole thing is wrapped up neatly on the last page! Doesn't fly with me.

I do like novellas in ebook format if an author has a few secondary characters that need their own story but don't require a full blown 400 page novel. I like those little tidbits stuck in between a series of books. They're kind of like snacks..tasty enough to hold your interest for the rest of the series.

I think I prefer anthologies better than boxed sets. Those stories are usually each less than 200 pages and as long as the story is forced to fit the page/word count, I'm happy.

I do have several boxed sets on my Kindle. Some were free, some were contest wins and others were 99 cents. I haven't read most (or any) of them yet, so I don't know how many pages each story has. If the boxed sets are really short stories of 30-50 pages, it's hardly worth reading, IMHO.

All that being said, sometimes a story is way too long...400+ pages when it could have been nicely wrapped up at 350. It's like the author kept writing because she had a required word count in her contract but the story didn't really need that much space.

These are just my opinions as a reader. I would never leave a negative review because the story was too short. There's more to a book than that. I try to consider all aspects of the story when rating and reviewing it.

Karen H said...

"Those stories are usually each less than 200 pages and as long as the story is forced to fit the page/word count, I'm happy."

My bad...this should have read "as long as the story isn't forced to fit the page/word count, I'm happy."

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