The closer I get to the end of the revision process, the more I need to answer a few basic questions about this piece. I mean, what am I selling here? The choice of the word “selling” is intentional; I know what I’m writing. The question is how to describe it to people who buy books (aka, readers) so they know what they’re getting.
- Is it sci-fi? Space opera? Space fantasy? Adventure? Alternate history? What genre does a retelling of an Irish myth fit in to? What if it’s… IN SPAAAACE? The protagonist is possessed of some wacky ‘powers’, but they’re based in scientific theory. Spice that lets you see the future sounds a lot like fantasy, but Dune is sci-fi.
- Is it a novel? It’s long enough to be called a novel, but is word count really the only defining quality? It feels like a novel, if a short one.
- And most importantly, is it any good? Once I’ve finished, will I have done what I set out to do? Will it be worth reading?
The first two will decide how I classify this thing to the customer, which check-boxes I check on Amazon’s site. The last… best not to think too hard about that one.
The word count is in that weird middle-space between a novella and a length publishers want to see. Will the self-pub revolution loosen the laws of nomenclature? Will mid-length works become more readily available? Or is my book just missing a few chapters?