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My first two books, and the next one I'm about to publish, all hover around 45,000 words.  Do you think of this length as a novella, or just a shorter novel?
 

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I'd say that at that length you could pick whether you wanted to call it a novella or a novel.

However, if you publish it as a novel, then you might want to make sure that it has the estimated page count or a similar disclaimer/explanation regarding length.  That way, people who only want War & Peace size novels know what to expect!
 

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As Patrick said above, according to the rules of Nebula Awards, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA is the correct abbreviation, despite the two Fs) considers a novella to be 17,500 - 40,000 words.

40,000 and above is novel territory.

However, this designation is more flexible in the world of other genres or general fiction.

Also, since the popularization of NANoWriMo, many consider a novel to be 50,000 and above.
 

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In the 1980s and 90s, I read The Destroyer series of novels. They were often under 300 pages, which would put them in the mid 40,000s. I think these giganto novels of today are a fairly recent invention.
 

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I consider anything between 20k and 50k to be a novella. The 40k range is pretty dubious at best.

If you're writing sci fi/fantasy, Iwould go with the SFWA.

If you're not, I would pick whichever one you think best fits. And make sure you put down the length in your blurb.
 

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i'm chiming in to say novel.

i've seen a few publishers calling 30K a novel, but I think that's pushing it.  most say 40.
 

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Do note, however, that the convention is to count characters and divide that count by 6, rather than counting actual words.
 

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I have one at exactly that length, and I've been calling it a novella...but in all fairness, that's mainly because the 40-50K range is a bit nebulous depending on who you ask and I figured it was easier to go conservative.  That being said, I think you're pretty much tipping the scale there, so you're probably safe using either.
 

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Per RWA guidelines, a novella is 20-40k words.  But then a category length begins at 50k. If you dwell in between the two, I would say (as a reader, not writer) that this is novella territory. I wouldn't call a 45k book a full-length novel.
 

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45k a novella? No freaking way. That is a NOVEL.

20k or so would be a novella. I just finished reading Clive Barker's Thief of Always, which is about 38k words. He bills that as a novella, and I believe him. The story flew by at cheetah speed. I think 45k would have padded that story out a wee bit too much.

Write the word amount you need to tell the story.
 

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Opinions vary.

If you are in sci-fi/fantasy then technically it is a novel, but I call my 50K one a novella sometimes.  (Mainly that is because it forms one part of a collection of short pieces - short stories, novelettes & novellas - that I am writing, each a stand alone story but part of a whole.)
 
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