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MG Novella?

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Hello,

I just finished a manuscript intended for 8-13 years old. I am concerned because the word count is only 18,300.  I really don't want to add more just for the sake of adding more words to qualify for the middle grade novel category.

Is there such a thing as a middle grade novella? And if so, is it tougher to sell?

 
#1 - April 16, 2016, 09:58 PM

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Hi YB, :welcome to the boards!

Novellas in general are a tough sell and there isn't a MG novella category as far as I know. I have some personal experience with trying to sell shorter MG. I have a project that I first pitched as a MG serial (a throw back to Victorian-era serialization) and no takers. I was told by every agent I pitched that they couldn't sell a book in that age category under 25,000 (and even that's considered short these days). You might have the advantage of it being a stand-alone story, where mine is not, and you might get some interest based on concept/writing, but I'd be surprised if an agent didn't ask you to bulk up the word count.

Perhaps others have had more luck than I have though! :shrug

#2 - April 17, 2016, 06:13 AM
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Tougher sell, yes. Impossible, no. Some excellent short novels would be SARA PLAIN AND TALL and STONE FOX. They are much older, but I have sold MG recently that has fewer than 20,000 words such as my GADGETS AND GEARS series. I recall Holly Black's SPIDERWICK series being 20,000 words per book...like a hundred thousand word book in five parts. The BUNNICULA series (which is old as well) are 16,000 to 20,000 words.

Depending on your theme, your book might be considered a 'chapter book' and sold that way. So...if it is right the way it is, keep it and write the next book.

:) EAB

#3 - April 17, 2016, 06:31 AM

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Very interesting, Auntybooks.  :thankyou for sharing that!
#4 - April 17, 2016, 10:07 AM
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I wouldn't pitch it as a novella; I'd find some recent MG novels that are around the same length, use those as comps in your query letter to show you've done your research, and go from there. Good luck!
#5 - April 17, 2016, 04:16 PM
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Thank you so much!
All your feedback means a lot to me. 

#6 - April 17, 2016, 07:50 PM

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Keep us posted, YB! And so much luck!  :star2 :star2 :star2 :goodluck
#7 - April 18, 2016, 05:53 AM
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Amazon lists the Spiderwick books as ages 6 or 7 (depending on the book) to 10 or 11. That makes them young middle grade. Maybe you could call yours Young Middle Grade.

Another possibility would be to pare down to chapter book length if you can revise the story for a slightly younger audience. (Ages 6-8 or so.)

Otherwise, I agree with Deena. Along with using the books you find as comp titles, you could create a submission list from them. Those publishers take shorter books, after all.
#8 - April 18, 2016, 07:47 AM

I went ahead and self-published my own middle grade novellas. I think novellas might be a tough sell in general. But I tend to structure my books as two novelettes with the same MC, so what can I do?

It just might take more work, that's the main thing.

Besides I did a YA novella, so there is that.
#9 - April 25, 2016, 07:52 PM

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Thank you so much everyone!
#10 - April 26, 2016, 10:45 PM

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