3 Key Points about Sexy Selling Novellas from Eloisa James...(2014 RWA Nationals) - Jo-Ann Carson

3 Key Points about Sexy Selling Novellas from Eloisa James…(2014 RWA Nationals)

“The Fabulous, Sexy, Selling Novella” Workshop

by Connie Brockway, Eloisa James and Julia Quinn  (2014 RWA Conference)

This was the first workshop I attended at the conference, and one of my favorites. Here are the three key points I took away:

One – Focus on an Intense Slice of Life

  • it’s not a novel, a novella involves a much smaller canvas
  • don’t write it as a novel without a beginning
  • it could be a story about a secondary character in your work, a gift for your fans, a snippet, an appetizer…
  • good for promoting series, or for trying something new
  • a good novella has a good sex scene – not as a gimmick, but as an integral part of the plot
  • think: reader pleasure

Two – High Concepts work well for anthologies

  • a unifying theme that carries the book – a plot gimmick like a marriage switch works well
  • the presenters collaborated on Lady Most Likely and Lady Most Willing, very successful anthologies with themes

Three – Cut Extra Exposition

  • keep it lean and make it hot
  • focus on the primary characters
  • focus on a main conflict
  • you can experiment with characters and story lines, but keep it lean


I’d love to write more novellas, but I need to find the time. I wrote one between writing novels that  I love, set in a small fictional town on Vancouver Island. It’s funny and light and I loved writing it, but it doesn’t link back or forward to any of my other work. It’s like a stand alone cozie. I can’t market that. Maybe some day I’ll write more stories for those characters. I particularly liked the Labrador dog called Marlowe. Maybe. But right now, I’m focusing on my Mata Hari Series.

Could I write a novella for the series? Definitely, but right now I’m working on novels and short stories. We’ll see.

What about you?

Do you like reading/writing novellas?


Crowd Sourcing my Cover

I’m crowd sourcing my first cover design with 99designs. It’s exciting. The preliminary round ends tomorrow, when I choose 6 finalist and work with them. So far (Sun afternoon) I have 47 design entries <!>and many of them are knock-your-socks-off good. It’s not going to be easy to choose. You can follow the action here.

And… you can comment either below or send me a direct email at: connect@jo-anncarson.com if you have favorites. Love to hear from you.

Crowd sourcing, in this case, means that I’m soliciting through a company designs from a large group of artists and then choosing a group of finalists, working with them and then picking a final design. I’ll keep you posted.

Newsletter Contest Reminder

If you’re interested in receiving my bi-monthly newsletter click here to sign up. At the end of October one subscriber’s name will be drawn for a ten dollar Amazon gift card.

6 Replies to “3 Key Points about Sexy Selling Novellas from Eloisa James…(2014 RWA Nationals)”

  1. You’re so clever, Jo-Ann with the crowd-sourcing thing, Great way to get folks involved. I, of course, have to give you my opinon. Lots of good examples. I like the first on the 3rd line down. Jelenakrstic, krstic (something like that, I had trouble reading my scribble.) The masks look like Carnival to me or something for a masquarade ball.So if either of those are in your book, then it makes sense to use one of those others, but if not. I like the feeling of this one with the taupe and black (it appears to me) and the red lips are great contrast. Sophisticated, sleuthing. IMHO. LOL Whatever you choose will be great. I wouldn’t use the one with the script title. Very hard to read. Fun to follow your progress on this, Jo-Ann. I’ll share.

    1. Hi Marsha
      Thanks for your feedback. I really appreciate it. With 72 designs up, I’m getting overwhelmed.
      I really appreciate your support and shout outs, dear friend.
      Happy Writing

  2. I appreciated your comments on this workshop that I planned to attend but ended up somewhere else. I’ve written one novella -and the feedback I received was that it was too short. Even though I precisely mentioned ‘it was a novella’. I think it depends on readers’ preferences. One reader loved it because it was shorter. So there you go. I would like to try another one though, ‘in the fullness of time’. As in not today.

    1. Hi Jodie
      How frustrating. You write a shorter form of fiction and someone complains that it’s shorter, and another loves it for the same reason.
      When I have time, I’d like to write a few, but my time seems short right now. lol.
      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.
      I’m getting lots of traffic, but people aren’t saying much. I appreciate that you take the time.
      Happy Writing

  3. I’m enjoying writing the novellas, in between longer works. I think it keeps reader interest high, and a lot of readers just don’t have the time to devote to a big, fat book unless they’re on vacation. A novella works for those train commutes, and calorie-free lunch hour indulgence. At lesser cost than a full book, they’re also affordable.
    Kathleen Lawless

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