By Narelle Atkins @NarelleAtkins
A romance novella can be defined as a short and complete romance story with a typical word length that ranges between 20,000 to 40,000 words.
Stories longer than 40,000 words are considered short novels.
Traditionally Published Romance Anthologies
Novellas and novelettes have always been popular in the romance genre. Pre-Kindle and the emergence of ebooks, romance publishers would often release trade length novella collections containing a number of stories. In 1997 Aussie author Mary Hawkins had a Christmas novella, Searching for a Star, published in the Christmas Dreams 4 story novella anthology by Barbour.
In 2017 Aussie author Lucy Thompson had her historical romance, Waltzing Matilda, included in a 9 story anthology The Captive Brides Collection published by Barbour. The stories are connected by a common theme: Can their captive hearts be freed to dream, to dare, to love?
Novellas that are connected to a series
A Tuscan Legacy is a multi-author contemporary Christian romance novella series that includes a family mystery plot. A Tuscan Legacy opens with a short novel length Book 1 - That's Amore.
My contribution to A Tuscan Legacy is Solo Tu (Book 7) set in Sydney, Australia. I've indie published four romance novellas and Solo Tu is my longest, coming in at just under 40,000 words.
Mary's Hawkins' Australia romance collection from Barbour included three short novels and a novella.
Nicki Edwards' Operation Mistletoe Magic and Operation White Christmas are part of her 'An Escape to the Country' rural romance series.
Novella Prequel to Book 1 in a Series
In recent years we’ve seen the rise in popularity of the romance novella being used as a marketing tool to launch a series. The prequel ebook novella is effectively a loss leader. It's often priced at 99c or free with the goal of funnelling readers into the new series. Alternatively, the prequel novella may be a 'reader magnet' and given away for free to readers who have subscribed to the author's newsletter. These marketing strategies are used in all fiction genres for both traditionally and independently published series.
Novellas in ebook multi-author boxed set series
Boxed sets started to gain popularity in the Kindle store in 2013 and they remain a favorite with readers. 'An Aussie Summer Christmas' was released two years ago. For a limited time we offered six ebook novellas for the bargain price of 99 cents. The novellas in the set included A Christmas Resolution, All is Bright, Falling for Maddie Grace, Melbourne Memories, Santa Next Door and my novella Seaside Christmas.
My Inspy Romance author friends have put together A Christmas to Remember - on sale for Christmas 2018.
Print book single author collections
Standalone Romance Novellas
Tips for writing a romance novella or novelette
Ensure the plot isn't too big and complex
Limit the point of view characters to the hero and heroine or a single viewpoint.
Shorter time frame stories often work well
Reunion romances are popular tropes
External conflict and forced proximity is important
Tight writing and fast scene transitions
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