Don't know what I mean? Let me explain a bit more. Recently, there's been a spat of YA authors, in the midst of putting out relatively popular series, who have released novellas, usually in e-book form, to go along with the series. I'll give a few examples in a bit; probably some of you can think of them yourself, if you've been keeping up with said series.
This isn't an entirely new thing, as I said at the beginning. As I matter of fact, I can remember this happening a while back, with the most famous children's series of all, Harry Potter. In this case, it wasn't novellas, but short supplementary (print) pieces that J.K. Rowling wrote to go along with the series. Most of these were sold to benefit certain charities. I'm thinking The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Quidditch through the Ages, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. You guys remember those? I read them all multiple times. They didn't contribute in any way to the plot of the series, but they expanded general knowledge of the world of Harry Potter, and continued to prove that J.K. Rowling is a genius world-builder.
After this, I don't recall much happening in the front of series with novellas. Certainly there were more children's series that put out supplementary guides after Harry Potter, basic books about the world of the series and such. But there was generally a still point, up until Twilight hit.
After the Twilight Saga became a phenomenon, after that whole nonsense where Meyer was going to write the series again from Edward's view but then threw a tantrum when part of it leaked, she released a novella, called The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, which focused on the story of an entirely inconsequential character in Eclipse. Meyer had written the story to help the movie writers with their understanding of the vampire world, and honestly, it was kind of cool. It both told a story and supplemented the world that surrounded Twilight. And though I know we all hate to think Twilight did anything for the world, I believe that this was where the YA series with novellas trend began. Interestingly, like with Harry Potter, part of the Twilight novella funds went to charity.
The only reason I really noticed this enough to start talking about it is that I have a Kindle. I use it mostly for school stuff, but I also keep a huge backlog of free classics on there to read, and some other modern books that I like to keep on my person. Because I have a Kindle, I can buy e-books. I also, ultimately because of my Kindle, have a few Amazon wishlists. And this is how I came to notice that the recent YA series I've enjoyed the most have begun releasing supplementary novellas.
The first one I noticed was for the YA sci-fi dystopian with fantastical elements series Shatter Me. I loved Shatter Me, which I know I've mentioned, and was super happy when the second book, Unravel Me, didn't fall flat, as second books often do. The third book has yet to come out, but when I started searching to get the first two books on my wish list, I found something interesting--a novella, released only in e-book, and for pretty cheap.
It's called Destroy Me, and it's a supplementary story looking at the time in between the first two books from the view of the villain/not-villain (it's a long story.) And honestly, I thought that was super cool, which is why it's on my Kindle Wishlist now. This book doesn't appear to be for charity, but nonetheless, it's a great idea.
This novella thing is honestly a brilliant idea. I am in no way putting this trend down, because I quite like it. But I do have some questions. Like, for example, how did this happen? I haven't heard anything from the industry on this sudden trend, and as a YA writer, I'd like to know. Are YA authors with successful series now being pushed to do this? Are publishers and agents asking them to put these novellas forward? Or is it a personal choice? Or both?
I've written one series, as you readers know, and I'm coming up to writing a trilogy for NaNoWriMo, in November. So someday in the future, if they get published and become successful, will I be expected to write supplementary novellas to sell? I feel like that's something I need to be prepared for, at least to begin brainstorming some ideas for the set.
Personally, too, I'd like to use such novellas for charity, as with Rowling and Meyer, which is something I haven't seen in any of these recent releases. Is that allowed, or is that an old idea?
In basis, what is the deal with this trend?
I'm honestly asking right now. If anyone out there, anyone reading, has any input on this, I would absolutely love to hear it. I might write an addendum if I get enough info, telling people what the deal is on this new trend. So if you have any idea about this trend... come forward, minion.
Images via Goodreads.