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What does one do with a 17k word story?

I'm confident in its quality, and I don't think it needs scenes added or removed, but there doesn't seem to be much of a market for stories of this length. Even novella publishers prefer something a little longer. I suppose I could self-publish, but I don't want to give up on finding a publisher just yet. Any advice on what to try? (The genre is urban fantasy, subtype gothic punk.)
Publish it?

For 17k words, you can probably charge $2.99 for the ebook. Definitely can charge $1.99. Or put it up for 99 cents as a lead in to other, longer work you have published.

Novella length work is VERY hard to get a publisher for, with the exception of digital-only publishers (who do ask for this sort of thing).


I had a similar problem with my first novella, The Swordsman of Carn Nebeth (18k words). I didn't even know of any novella publishers, in fact. I thought it was pretty good, though, and I ended up starting out in self-publishing because I wanted to put it out there.


Self-publishing is always a viable option. But you could also, if you wanted, lengthen it a bit and submit to novella publishers. The most important part is that you're comfortable and confident with the finished product.
I'm trying to avoid self-publishing, because I know nothing about how to market a story. Still, I'm beginning to think I might have to--most publishers want less than 15k or more than 20k. I'm just trying a couple more publishers before I give in.


toujours gai, archie
I self-published a 14k story. It was supposed to be a short story, just a quick diversion from my WIP. *erg*

I decided to self-publish in part as a way to have something available for when the novel is finished. In writing to an agent I can mention other publications (I also have a published short story).

There really isn't a market for novella-lengths works nowadays. There used to be a bit of one in magazines, but that's mostly gone and what remains is for the Previously Published. So if the work is ever to see the light of day, you either self-publish, or you wait twenty years until you're famous and a publisher comes to you looking for a compilation.


Submit it to Myths Inscribed? Long as you don't mind not getting paid, that is.… ;) We'd serialize it, so consider how well it could be split into parts, and how many, before you do so. (Among the advantages of e-zines: we don't have paper costs, or set page counts we need to wedge everything into.)

By the by, if you decide to self-pub, you can still submit it to MI as well. Since we don't pay, we don't insist on exclusivity. Just need to make sure that whatever mechanism you use to self-pub doesn't, either. You'd lose a few paying sales that way, most likely, but only you can guess how many that might be, or whether it's worth it if you have other things out there you think attracting people's attention to would offset that. Just sayin'.
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Bruce McKnight

I think if you have something of that length and you are satisfied with the quality, you should get it out however you can to get people reading your work. If they like something that short, you may pull them in to trying your longer work.

If you don't think you can get it accepted by a publisher and you don't want to self-publish, then I think you have nothing to lose (and readers to gain) by submitting it to a compilation, entering it in a contest, putting it up on your website, or doing anything else you need to do to get it out there and use it as an introduction to your work.
You could also use it for promotional purposes (giving it out for free and including a sample of a larger work of yours). Or you could give it for free to people who purchase one of your larger works. Doesn't matter what you give to people, if they get something free with their purchase, they'll always consider it a better deal.

And a 17k story definitely is a big bonus on your purchase.

Or you could write a second story of that size and publish them together (maybe set in the same realm?)