Toward the beginning of the year, I decided I wanted to spin off Wilford Saxton into a kind of serial set of stories. None of them would be terribly long. If a novel is a movie, Saxton’s tales were supposed to be more like T.V. shows. I kind of followed the idea of a single plot per story, but with an overall arch to the series that would let me explain a bit more about the sometimes good guy, sometimes bad guy from Henchmen and Arise. It would also give me a chance to do some of the setup for the forthcoming Transmute, expanding on the bad guys and giving a closer look at why Wilford changes so much between Arise and Transmute. Plus it has Nazis, home-brew monsters, and Sanngrior.
Well, I’m happy to say that series is done and the events of The Brotherhood take place mostly at the same time as the events of Transmute. Unfortunately, I’m gonna have to say the experiment was pretty much a failure in terms of sales. Oh, ah. At some point in the distant future, someone will discover the stories and they’ll give that person a bit deeper look into one of the main characters from the Henchmen series. At some point in the near future, I’ll compile all the stories into an omnibus edition.
If you happen to be interested in the Saxton stories, the links are to your right. Or at least were when I published this. They’re fun reads and only $0.99 each. The compiled omnibus edition will drop at $2.99.
What can you take away from this? I’m not entirely certain. The advent of digital publishing has taken a lot of constraints off things like word count. Traditionally, novels are considered to be over 40k words, although in reality most sit between 70k and 300k. The Saxton tales clock in at about 27k each, which puts them firmly into the novella arena. Since it costs exactly as much to publish a 60 page story as it does a 400 page novel, digital publishing and print on demand technology open up the ability for authors to do more exploring and experimentation. Hopefully, the future will see more authors looking at how the written word can be handled. Not every story needs to be a thousand pages long and you don’t always get the same depth or length of story from 60 pages, but it’s nice to live in a world where both the epic novel and the shorter novella can live together.
What do you think? Are novellas just not as inherently interesting as novels?