Series novels are common in YA genre, more and more stories are being published in installment basis. And lately not only novels are included in this series books but also short-stories and novellas. While short stories are mostly available for free and accessible from publisher or author’s website, novellas are being published in electronic book format and usually cost few dollars. These novellas are what we call “mid-series novellas” since most of them are published as the in-between stories of other installment of the series, for instance there is a book 1, book 1.5, book 2, book 2.5 and book 3. Those with .5 are the in-between stories or novellas.
These novellas are stories that actually part of the series, which normally takes place in the same world but not necessary integral or important to the plot. While most of these novellas give additional information they don’t always leave huge impact to the story. Most of these novellas does’t need to be read in order to understand or enjoy the series as a whole.
Authors usually write novellas in a different character point of view, where it offers a side story of that character from the main novel. This another character got the chance to narrate his/her story or maybe his own version of the same story from the original novel. There are also novellas that acts just like a prequel or mid-series stories which uses the same character/narrator from the main novel to give extra peak or teaser of the next book.
Though these novellas are quick and sometimes fun to read they are not always as satisfying as the full length novel. They don’t always offer essential story lines or new information for the readers. Some even are just like deleted scenes from the full length novel, or just extensions of the original novel. They don’t always stand alone on their own which means you still need to read the other books of the series. Though that set-up is good for authors and publishers as they are actually selling another item and gaining few more sales, for readers like me it is not always the case. Sad to admit, but most of mid-series novellas I have read are not really good or satisfying, they just leave me frustrated most of the times. There are some that I actually enjoyed reading because I have read and enjoy their main novels, but after reading when I finally analyzed the whole essence of the additional story I’ll realized they aren’t really that important. I like novellas who can stand on its own and not just glorified deleted scenes. What’s the use of paying few more bucks if I’ll be just getting scenes that didn’t actually make to the final cut during the editing process? If they are essential to the plot why don’t just include it to the novel?
I don’t mind paying few dollars in order to read extra stories of the series I love, but there are times that I honestly feel cheated by some novellas I have read. While there are mid-series novellas that are good, there are also those who feels like trash and not worth of the dollars I spent. I’m also frustrated with the pricing of eBooks, I know it has nothing to do with the author but more on publishers and distributor, I just don’t get it why Amazon in particular constantly changing the eBook prices. Like when I pre-ordered the Never to Sleep novella of Soul Screamers series, which I got for $3.99 then after few weeks it went down to $1.99. For someone who ordered way before the released of the book, I paid higher than most of everyone else. Add the fact that Amazon also charge higher to non-US resident buyer like me.
I’m not saying that mid-series novellas aren’t any good, as there are also few I have read that actually satisfies me. There are few who actually offers something new and significance to the story for the main novel and at the same time good as its own. Problem is these few I’m talking are really rare.
If there is a better use of novellas for readers, I think is the fact that it can act as a tester. We can use it to experience and know the author’s writing style before we send ourselves in buying and reading his longer novels. By reading lesser pages of stories, we can have idea if we will actually enjoy the author other works or not. It can help us know if we will enjoy the author other books or not, especially those novels that are set in the same world where the novella is set. For publishers and authors, novellas can be pretty useful in promoting their books, they can get readers excited by using these novellas as teasers. It can be a bonus for fans of the series and a taste for those curious to the main novels.
What about you, do you also read novellas? What do you think of mid-series novella? Do you think they are worth reading and spending money?