Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: “Extra” Novellas To Go With Your Fave Book Series

 

DANNNG. I haven’t done a Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down in a long time. A LONG TIME. Probably had something to do with planning a wedding and the questions would have been more like this: How do you feel about yellow and gray together? How do you feel about The Way I Am by Ingrid Michaelson for our first dance song? How do you feel about table linens? I had a single track mind, friends. ANYWAYS. The topic is about something I’ve been noticing a lot recently!

 

It seems like, as of recent, there has been this growing trend of publishers releasing novellas from the authors (seems to be mostly in e-book form) in between the most recently released and the not yet released book of a series that. They are extras — things that add to the stories, or are prequels, come from a more minor character’s perspective — stories that seem to supplement our reading and add new dimension to the story and to help satiate readers who are waiting for the next book to be released.

It seems like a ton of series have them lately. I’ve noticed a few showing up for series I’m in the middle of.

To name a few:

In between Delirium and Pandemonium there was Hana – a novella from the perspective of Hana who is Lena’s  best friend in the series.

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In between Shatter Me and Unravel Me there will be Destroy Me (out in October) — a novella that will ” bridge the gap between these two novels from the perspective of the villain we all love to hate, Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45.”

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In between Wither and Fever there was The Seeds Of Wither — a novella that is from the perspective of “The First Bride” before Rhine is ever in the house.

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In between Under The Never Sky and Through The Ever Night will be Roar and Liv (coming out in October) — a novella that is a prequel to the series and that is from the perspective of the much loved Roar.

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It seems as though most of these novellas do not HAVE to be read and will not effect you if you just go straight to the next book but I’ve heard rumblings from people of a few that make it seem like you will be missing out on things if you do not in fact purchase it. Most of these cost around $2.99 on Amazon (though Seeds of Wither is 99 cents) and I’ve seen some instances where they are offered as “free extras.” It seems like many people love them but it also seems like some people are getting weary of them — like they just would like to not have all these little extras floating around and want just the series as it is.

What I Want To Know From You: Do you like to read these novellas — why or why not? If you have, which ones? Do you feel like these add to the story or do you feel like they are kind of annoying? Do you think they are just more of a moneymaker or do you think they truly add something to the stories and are a way to keep the reader of the series engaged? How do you feel about them when they could potentially add things for the next book that you’ll miss?

So let’s vote and then discuss in the comments!

 


My Opinion: I have never read a single one of these “extras.” When I read Delirium I didn’t even really know anything about Hana. Same with when I read Wither. I’m slightly interested in Roar and Liv but I’m just not sure that I’d actually devote some time to read it. I guess they just don’t personally appeal to me. I mean, true, I can’t get enough of the series that I love and would love to be able to “visit” the characters and the story in between books but I really guess I’m just a purist in the way that I figure if it was important it should be in the book. That being said, I do think they could be fun and really keep the reader satiated in between the long waits. But I just don’t know that they are FOR ME. I’d really hope that they don’t add TOO much that I’d miss out on something in the book because I chose not to read the “extra”…if it’s important than make it part of the series. I don’t have super strong opinions on this one as I haven’t experienced them one way or another but I know in general that their appeal is lost on me. I’m super excited to see what YOU all think of this!

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 28 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating gelato, listening to music with oversized headphones and teaching her niece how to be as awesome as she is.

Comments

  1. Like you, I haven’t read any of them. So I am definitely a thumbs down. I don’t think they are integral to the plot and I do feel like the publisher is just trying to squeeze a few extra bucks out of me by doing this. I’m so not biting. But if they ever do start making them integral to the plot, well that’s just a really sneaky and jerky thing to do. I hope it does not come to that. Great post!!

  2. I am with both of you. I really don’t like novellas at all. They are just too short and leave me wanting more.
    I vote thumbs down.
    I really enjoyed this. Looking forward to seeing more of these type of posts.

  3. It depends on how much I love the book/series that the novellas go along with and what characters are featured in the story. For example, I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in reading about Hana from Delirium. On the other hand, Roar’s story from Under the Never Sky? YES, please!

    I often find short stories and novellas to be unfulfilling, but there have been some good exceptions. For example, I loved how Sarah J. Maas published four e-novellas prior to the release of Throne of Glass (each at only $0.99). These were all pretty long novellas, together ending up to being the length of a whole book. Totally, totally worth it! I also will definitely be buying Destroy Me because it’s more than 100 pages, and I really think it will be worth the read (and hopefully will help tie me over until February when Unravel Me comes out).

    I do LOVE when authors offer free prequel novellas prior to the release of the first book in their series, like Brigid Kemmerer’s Elemental, so you get the opportunity to see what the author’s writing is like before the series comes out. Free is always good when it comes to these e-novellas and is a nice bonus for us readers! I feel like some e-novellas are priced too high: there are a couple of e-novellas by Andrea Cremer that I want to read, but haven’t bought them yet (not sure if I will) because they cost $2.99 for stories that are under 20 pages, which I don’t think is worth it. I buy plenty of e-books that cost $9.99 or more, so I’m not one to balk at price of e-books, but for a novella only about 20 pages, I just can’t quite justify that amount.

    Again, there are exceptions. I did purchase Free Four, which was a very, very short story of a scene from Four’s perspective. This is because I love Divergent so much and am dying to get my hands on anything related to that world, especially when Four is involved. I thought it was worth every penny!

  4. I think that the idea of the novellas is a good one. I mean, who wouldn’t love to have just a little bit more of a favourite series? If I found out that there was an extra bit to the Harry Potter series, I’d be all over it. Having said that, most of these novellas are released in e-book format and, since I’m a little old-fashioned in my reading tastes, I’m not able to partake. So, since I can’t read them, I’m still not sure of whether I actually would if I could.

  5. I’m not really too fussed about keeping up to date with all the extras. I don’t think I read Hana, though now that you mentioned it I have this weird desire to go ahead. It seems like a fair few of them feature characters that were left behind. I think it’s cool that authors go ahead and write out these extras that can sate the hungers of fans, but eh.

  6. Honestly and truly, I find them annoying. I’m not terribly up to date on my “super in/hip” YA series, b/c I’m either waiting for the series to finish, or I’m not sure I want to read it period, or whatever. And every single time I see one of those novellas pop up for ONLY %2.99!!! it makes me less interested in reading the series, because it feels like they are trying to milk an already popular idea, WAY too many people are doing it, I just plain hate short stories, and if it’s REALLY that important, REALLY that cool, then just put it into the book in the first place. OR I have no problem with things like the free short story from Four’s perspective that Veronica Roth put out, b/c it’s a different perspective of the same event, and it’s on her website as a fun extra. But I really don’t like this-OMG, if you don’t ALSO read and buy this e-novella, you are going to miss out on all of this SUPERDY DUPER important stuff that just couldn’t go into the book!

    Add to that that I won’t buy e-books, b/c then I can’t put them on my shelf, and I don’t actually feel like I own, an e-book, and… well, it’s just something that makes me put on my ornery pants.

    (And, umm… Wow. Didn’t realize it annoyed me quite so bad until I started typing :P)

  7. I have mixed feelings about the extras. I’ve only read a couple, and they were both for the Iron Fey series. They really felt like chapters cut from the series but I still enjoyed them. I think it just depends on how interested you are in the series and the price/length of the novella. It’s nice to have the extra content, especially for a series you love, but at the same time, I can see it being done just to keep a story going.

  8. I too have mixed feelings about added novellas. I read one for the Divergent series that was supposed to bring out more of Four’s character. I found myself unsatisfied with this four page insert that cost me a dollar. (Yes, a dollar is not a lot to some, but for a college student that is four packages of ramen…if you choose to go that route.) I think if the material was really important the author would have included it the first time. However, I think if Suzanne Collins would have released a novella between her Hunger Games Series I would have forked over the dollar without thinking twice about it.

  9. I’m not really a fan of the whole novella trend. Mainly because I don’t feel that they do anything for the book/series that its supposed to enhance, plus I’m not really the kind of person that’s going to pay nearly $3 for an extremely short read that I can finish in thirty minutes.

    The final reason I don’t do novellas would be that I like to hold the physical book in my hand, and then line it up nicely on my shelf when I’m done.

    My vote is thumbs down.

    I’ll definitely have to check back later and see what everyone else has to say about novellas. =)

  10. I’m thumbs down, I haven’t actually read any but if they aren’t important to the story they just feel like a money maker.

  11. I have never picked up the novellas for any series I’ve read and while it was originally because they are usually e-book only and I didn’t have an e-reader, now it is more because I feel like it is just another demand on me from that series. I suppose if I really enjoyed the series and characters, I wouldn’t feel like it was just another way to get me suckered into paying more for the series and to keep me talking about the books while the next one is in production. But I can’t say I’ve ever come across a series-related novella I had to have so badly that I bought it! Then again, I get a little resentful of series themselves sometimes for demanding such a time/money commitment from me, so adding another bit to the series doesn’t make it more appealing, but probably less appealing…

  12. I voted for thumbs up, but my feelings are mixed about it. If I love a serie and the enovella’s bring something extra to the story I love it. In the Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer I love them. Because you get extra information. And extra stories. I also read the enovella’s from the Iron Fey series, I liked them, but I could have missed them (well maybe not the last one, but that has more to do with The Lost Prince).
    I heard that the enovella Shadows (before Obsidian) is a must read, but it’s really expensive if I buy it here (The Netherlands) and I don’t think a book of not more than 50 pages is worth that, so… I’m a bit undecided.

  13. I like the novellas writers put out, but am also extremely picky about them. I don’t want them to be SO IMPORTANT that you MUST READ THEM in order to understand a series. I also prefer to read them after a series rather than wherever they happen to fall in the series. They’re like little visits with my favorite characters when I don’t really want to spend hours with them. I haven’t read any of the ones you listed – haven’t really read many to be honest. I did just read the Iron Fey novellas and thought they were very cute. I think if authors are just wanting to get new stories out of their characters, fine; sometimes I think writers have little situations floating in their heads that they just really want to share. But if they’re milking a story for everything it’s worth, then I can’t get behind that. Sometimes it’s best to just leave things as they are. Great post!

  14. Yes and no. There have been some I really enjoyed (Carrie Ryan’s novella to accompany her trilogy is mind-blowing!) and others that feel as though the publisher asked the author to cook up something extra “for the fans” but really for the money. I believe these stories should be substantial and not rehashes of things we mostly already know, and should be mostly free as extras or 99 cents. Some longer stories do merit money- again Carrie ryan’s was soooo worth it, but usually I’m a skeptic.

  15. I have not read any of these extra novellas. I know that Rae Carson also wrote one for her Fire and Thorns trilogy, and Leigh Bardugo wrote a novella about some folklore/legend that further expands the world of Shadow and Bone. Although I can’t offer a truly fair opinion since I haven’t read any of these, I just have to wonder what the point of them are. Like you state, if these novellas truly add things that are important to the books, then they should be part of them. Perhaps it is a way for authors to keep us excited for a series. But really. I’d much rather have authors focus on the upcoming installments to the series than novellas that almost seem like a way to placate and distract the readers while they wait. There are so many books out there to read as it is. I don’t think that authors should underestimate their fans’ devotion to the series; I can be patient.

  16. I love the idea but usually these novellas are only available as ebooks. That’s the one thing I dislike since I don’t own an ereader. I wish that authors would publish them as part of the next book or group them together into a larger book.

  17. I actually really do like these little novellas! I read Hana and thought it was interesting, but that really did leave me wanting more. It was interesting to know that Hana was going through similar things like Lena, but we just never knew about them because we were involved in Lena’s story. I also think that since (I think officially) Requiem is split up between Lena and Hana’s POVs, I think that could be helpful to those who want to get more familiar with Hana before hearing half a book from her POV!
    I think The Seeds of Wither could be interesting… I like hearing about “before the stories”. It depends on how the story really goes with that one. It might be a little too irrelevant, if that makes sense?
    And I will definitely pick up Roar and Liv! Roar was my favorite character from UtNS and I definitely want to hear more about him! :)

  18. I will probably purchase a novella if I really, really, really loved the series I was reading and wanted to get a complete insider’s point of view on a character or on the story. I think it’s always interesting to see what extra tidbits an author has to offer her readers.

    It is, however, important to me that the reading the novellas are not essential to continuing a series. I’m not a big fan of when the novellas are a part of the story that you “must” read before moving on to the next book. I’d love to have them as extras, but that’s it!

  19. I’m not such a fan of novella’s in a series. I’m like you, I figure that if it’s important, it would be in the books themselves instead of being crammed into a short story inbetween. It could also be that I’m just not such a fan of novella’s in general, I like to immerse myself in the world the author has created and being thrown out of it after only 100 pages is way too early. The only ones I plan on reading are the prequels to Throne of Glass, but that’s because I have major love for the main character and the world Sarah J. Maas has created and I just can’t get enough of it.

  20. I read Hana and I looooved it. Hana was my favorite character in Delirium so I enjoyed her POV. It does seem like a ruthless ploy to suck everything out of a good story-idea, but I also think I will read “Free Four” (Divergent Novella).

  21. I’m not really sure that I have strong opinion, one way or another. Something extra that I have really enjoyed are the scenes from Daemon’s POV in the Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Particularly regarding the first book, Obsidian. Daemon was such a jerk in Obsidian, and it was nice to read scenes from his POV, because it made me care about him.

  22. Thumbs up. I like any extra reading I can do in a series that I like. I read Hana, and though I didn’t think it was mindblowing, I did enjoy the new perspective I had on the whole series. If I would not have read it, it sounds like I would be less prepared for the next book. My only complaint is that I felt like it wasn’t advertised. I only stumbled across it when I was searching my Nook for Lauren Oliver books.

  23. Honestly, I just can’t bring myself to pay money for a short story, especially if I can use that money for full-length books. I feel like it’s just another way to make some money in a tough market. Anyway, I rarely buy books at full price anymore, thanks to my profession as a librarian. :)

  24. OHHHHH and let’s not forget Bree Tanner, which made me do hurly-Qs all over the place. GIVE IT UP, MEYER. Your fans want Midnight Sun, not Bree frickin’ Tanner. Honestly.

  25. Blergh, not really a fan of these either because I’m usually not COMPELLED enough by the characters to actually read a whole novella from them. I hate feeling like I’m missing out on something important if i don’t read them too, ugh. I read Hana and there is something important in that novella, sigh. That being said I would read Destroy Me but not expecting much from it.

  26. I’m a thumbs up. I usually end up doing all the little novellas. First, they’re usually dirt cheap and super quick reads…which I enjoy. I also like the fullness they add to a series; the extra insight I get. And I guess Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads says it best with “who wouldn’t love to have just a little bit more of a favourite series?” I think they’re fun additions. Really they’re a pretty neutral option – a great little read if you want it – and completely skip-able if you don’t!

  27. I feel like a lot (but not all) of these novella books are very similar to deleted scenes in movies, and I’m not normally one to watch deleted scenes. There was a reason they were deleted. They didn’t fit in the movie/book. There are rare occasions when it’s like the most amazing movie or show ever(!) that I want to watch the deleted scenes. I have read a total of ONE of these novellas, and it was for the Fairyland books by Catherynne M. Valente. So worth it, but I LOVE those books with a fiery passion. I will probably read the Shatter Me novella because I’m reaaallly curious about Warner’s point of view.

    A couple other people have mentioned, and I agree, that these extras are pretty neutral. They’re not required, you don’t have to read them. Personally, I don’t think I’ll be reading a whole ton of them. I will if I absolutely love the series and want more, but I also don’t think I’d pay more than .99 cents for one (depending of the length). I also tend to HATE prequels, and that’s what a lot of them are. I couldn’t actually decide if I was thumbs up or thumbs down, so I didn’t vote. Can I be Switzerland instead?

  28. I don’t buy them. I don’t read them. Maybe if I was head over heels in love with a story I might consider it, but most of the time I can’t figure out why they’re worth my while. If it’s integral to the storyline or if it’s integral to getting to know another character better, I kind of feel like the author should have included it in the novel. For the most part, I figure it’s some kind of ploy to get more money from me.

    And, if they’re not integral to the story, I think I would rather save up my $2.99 and apply it toward another astonishing novel by a new author or maybe even the same author if I really liked them. 70 pages just isn’t a satisfying read.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Perpetual Page Turner vented on Novellas. Go weigh [...]

  2. [...] TUTD we had a great conversation about “extra” novellas to go along with your favorite series, this week I want to talk about book [...]

  3. [...] I’m hearing that my mind will change if I read the novella Destroy Me (which you know I have reservations about novellas) and then Unravel Me (book 2). I don’t [...]

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