Discussion: Novellas and Short Stories

When I was working on my Top Ten Tuesday post about sequels, I noticed how many of the series have little extras, one or more short stories or novellas that tide fans over between releases of the full-length books and fill in some gaps. It’s a real trend right now. Think: Divergent (3 books, 5 short stories), The Caster Chronicles (4 books and a novella), The Morganville Vampires (15 books and 16 short stories!), or Vampire Academy (6 books plus 2 short stories).

I’m not a big fan of short stories or novellas in general. I just never liked them. I like my reading to be longer. I’m a completist. I have no problem DNFing a book or a series I don’t like, but if I do like it, I want to read ALL of it, including the novellas and short stories

Unfortunately, I have two problems with that. One, it’s extremely hard for me to keep track of all of these extras. I read A LOT. I’m constantly encountering new books and new series, and it’s hard enough to keep track of the major releases of the ones I’m already following without also trying to keep up with minor releases, which tend to be quieter. I didn’t even know some of the stories and novella mentioned in the first paragraph of this post and from the series I mentioned in that TTT post existed until I went looking for them!

My second issue is that I often don’t find them very interesting. A lot of them focus on a character aside from the main character(s) and sometimes I just don’t care enough (or at all) about that character. I’m not really interested in their point of view of things.

Yet, I want to read them because they’re there. Can I really say I finished the Delirium series before I finish Annabel and Raven (I already read Hana)?

I don’t feel like I can.

What do you think of these extras? Do you like them or do you wish they didn’t exist? Do you feel compelled to read them, or do you not care if you miss out on them?

This post is linked up at Thursdays with Luxa. Visit Thursdays with Luxa for more discussion posts.


  1. I try to read them if I can but I feel no compulsion to. If I’ve read a series and liked it, I may buy the novellas but it doesn’t bother me if I don’t. I usually only read them if they sound like they are actually good stories in and of themselves. For instance I love Sarah J. Maas’ series and this series has four e-novellas. These short stories are actually relevant to the books and are really fun reads. But I never bothered to read any Vampire Academy novellas. I feel like if I read the actual series then I’ve finished it, I don’t need to read the short stories unless I really want to.
    Jennifer recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Sequels I Can’t Wait To Get My Hands OnMy Profile

  2. I’m not a big fan of novellas either. I don’t know if I’d say I feel ‘compelled’ to read them, but I do kind of wonder what I’m missing if I don’t. I did read two of the Divergent extras, and kind of liked hearing from Tobias’ point of view. It also helped tide me over while I was waiting for Allegiant. But it is a fine line between ‘enhancing’ the story by adding details you didn’t get the first time, and ‘commercializing’ the series by turning out numerous novellas. At some point, if feels more like the author (or probably publisher) is milking it by getting as much profit as possible.
    Kim@Time2Read recently posted…Giveaway Friday: November 8My Profile

  3. A couple of months ago I published a companion novella that was a sequel to my stand-alone novel (30k words, long enough that it felt like a short novel), and when it came time to market it I was surprised at how many people have come to resent companion novellas. The reasons were usually pretty simple — they had been burned before. They had downloaded and even paid for “novellas” that were thousand-word short stories. And many of these shorts added nothing to the plot of the series, but were just the same scenes as before, narrated from a different character’s POV. I felt like I almost had to defend my new book before I even pitched it — that it’s not just a rehash, it’s not a short story, it has a plot of its own, etc. It’s a shame, but these little “extras” from big publishers have definitely embittered a portion of their audience.
    Abria @ Read. Write. Discuss. recently posted…New Read-Along: Echo in the BoneMy Profile

    • I think it’s at least partly because there are SO many of them. It seems like most of the series I looked at had multiple extras, not just one. It’s hard enough to keep track of the books in a series (especially a longer series, like The Morganville Vampires) without having to look for extras too. If you’re not using a site like Goodreads, and checking it to see if your series has them, it’s easy to overlook them.
      Jenna recently posted…Review: Waiting for Romeo by Diane Mannino (Blog Tour + Giveaway)My Profile

  4. If the novella is rich, and fleshed out and offers up more deets or side stories to the original series then I enjoy them However if they are short, and by short I mean less the 100 pages and they are filled with fluff and nothing new..then I get mad. If I am madly in love with a series, like for example Shatter Me..then I will read those novellas. If the series is enjoyable skip them.
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…Sunday Post #81 Sharing blog news and book haulMy Profile

  5. I have mixed feelings about novellas. Some of them can be so frustrating because they aren’t fully developed and end up being little more than a tease (when part of a series) or a disappointment (when standalones). But I’ve encountered some really good ones lately and I do love when I encounter shorts for a series and those shorts manage to work their way into the main books in fun fascinating ways. I do find it hard to keep track of them sometimes though, I wish it were a little easier.
    Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun recently posted…Sunday Post | 18th EditionMy Profile

    • Keeping track is the biggest problem. I need some kind of huge database that will let me know in some way (and not with a zillion separate emails that I have to sign up for) when a new book or novella comes out in a series I like. I need an assistant to keep track of these things for me.
      Jenna recently posted…Weekly Rewind: November 10 – 16My Profile

  6. I like short stories. But I like short story collections (Like Zombies VS Unicorns). I don’t like how all of a sudden all these YA books are having these companion novels and charging for them. It’s like “let’s make an extra 5 bucks and write this short and quick book”. Honestly it seems more like a scam to me then anything.
    Angie recently posted…Goodreads and it’s book clubsMy Profile

    • I really hate it when they’re included in an anthology of short stories, especially if I don’t like the other authors. Maybe it’s not such a big problem anymore when you can (probably?) buy the ebook of just the one you’re interested in, but I remember shelling out a lot of extra money for Nora Roberts/JD Robb short stories that were included with the stories of other authors I didn’t care about.
      Jenna recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Dystopian Book RecsMy Profile


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