And with that, our novella project is over. Or... well... is it? Is it really?
As with many things, the real work isn't actually in the big initial push, when it's exciting and current and easily quantifiable actions. The real work is continuing it in the day to day, in the after, if it's something you really care about working on.
So while this project was brought about in response to a current situation, where a single publisher is dominating the awards lists for novellas in so many awards, and with the hope that it might inspire you to have a think and an explore and to maybe mix up your nomination lists in 2024, there's a wider aim to it too. Certainly, for my part, I want to be more conscious with my reading, more deliberately seeking out the smaller presses, the less known, less marketed gems that need that little bit of hunting to uncover. This project has been great - I have spoken to wonderful authors and publishers, read and written reviews of books that I'm so glad to know about - but that was just for 2023 publications. And not even all of those. We are only a small team of people, with our own specific interests and focuses, and so will only ever be seeing and talking about a small slice of what we're even aware of. There's a whole big landscape out there of fascinating stories being told in the novella format, outside of the scope of the big publishers. And if I - if we - want to keep seeing those being published, we need to find them, we need to read them and discuss them, and nominate them for awards if we find ones that speak to us, that we love. Publishing is always precarious, but it seems now more than ever, with the threat of AI and the economic squeeze and changes in pressures and priorities that push big businesses to try to get the maximum money for minimum effort, input and care for their authors, let alone artistic investment.
So if you enjoyed what you've read here, if these novellas have inspired, excited or intrigued you, what you might take away as a secondary conclusion is this - to take that little bit of time, here and there, where you have it, to look a bit further afield. Seek that bit wider. Give your support to the places who do the good work, who make the good art. And then maybe talk about them with other people. Make sure those books are also part of the conversation, not just the ones who got jazzy press packages and adverts in train stations.
That's what I'll be doing, anyway. And I'd love for you to join me.
And, in case you missed any of our posts, or want to look back for ideas on presses, authors or stories to dig into, here's a round up of everything we've covered in this project:
The Last Dragoners of Bowbazar by Indrapramit Das (Subterranean Press)
That We Maye With Free Heartes Accomplishe Those Thynges by Thomas M. Waldroon (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
Ashes of the Ancestors by Andrew Knighton (Luna Press)
Virgin Land by Chloe Smith (Luna Press)
Another Life by Sarena Ulibarri (Stelliform Press)
They Shut Me Up by Tracy Fahey (PS Publishing)
Eynhallow by Tim McGregor (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
Between Blades by Filip Hajdar Drnovšek Zorko (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
Green Fuse Burning by Tiffany Morris (Stelliform Press)
If Found Return to Hell by Em X. Liu (Rebellion Publishing)
A Necessary Chaos by Brent C. Lambert (Neon Hemlock)
The Past Trader by A. M. Donohoo (Ambuscade House)
To The Woman in the Pink Hat by LaToya Jordan (Aqueduct Press)