I Like Short Books and I Can Not Lie




Last summer, this happened: James Patterson’s BookShots.

I love it. I want to sing it to the world! I’ll settle for the tiny corner that reads my blog but I’m singing, my friends. Loud and proud. “I like short books and I can not lie!”

Take a look at this. (And, if you’ve seen it, heard of it, know everything about it…don’t spoil my fun.)

Their message for readers is:

Under 150 Pages. Under $5.00
Impossible to Put Down.

All the info you need (plus a modest boost) in a small, catchy slogan.

What’s this all about? This is what it’s all about.

Patterson’s catering to people who love to read but have very little time to do so. In fairness, he’s also targeting those who don’t read often or have the attention span of…what was that? Aw. A chipmunk! How cute!

The bonus for me, aside from having very little time to read, is that, as we’ve established, I love short books. I’ll be writing more on my undying love for novellas later but, the thing is, BookShots is bringing back novellas for the digital age with some clever marketing. Because, really, they’re just novellas in disguise.

(This whole line of books kind of reminds me of pulp fiction but, eh, what do I know about that?)


My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.


Have you heard of BookShots? What are your thoughts on it? In general, do you prefer shorter or longer books?


46 thoughts on “I Like Short Books and I Can Not Lie

  1. This is fabulous, Sarah. It might help me read a few more books. I read too many (but not enough) blogs and definitely not enough books. I’m thinking your wonderful collection of even shorter stories deserves a mention. Like a box of chocolates with so many varieties to try – it’s difficult to know when to stop; and you probably shouldn’t. Great post. Thanks. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, yes. I love the blogs I follow but that cuts into my book-reading time (among other things). I am not getting enough reading in and I miss it. I can’t seem to keep up online, either. Books wait for you. 😁

      Aw, thanks! I absolutely love the description of my book as a box of chocolates. 💖


  2. This is a great idea! I hadn’t heard of these “book shots” (fab marketing name), but I could easily get on board.

    I know I’m getting cranky in my old age, but do you find long novels tend to be over-written? I’ve noticed, in my limited reading experience, that if a novel is over 500 pages, there are easily 100 pages that could be removed. But that’s just me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right? That is a fab marketing name. Hopefully it expands and flows over to other short books. Um…maybe I’m getting older, too? I agree. Not all, of course, but some long books I’ve read could have been edited down and, in my opinion, would have been better for it. So, all that to say, it’s not just you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I hadn’t heard of Bookshots but I do read novellas and have a review one up on my blog today: The Last Summer & Birdcage Walk and just checked, it’s only 121 pages although, sadly, as it’s a translation it costs a little more than $5.

    I think my brain is trained to expect stories that run to 250-350 pages (so some novellas are a bit short) and I have to confess that, although I have a lot of time for reading, I do sometimes resent those that I don’t think have earned the right to be significantly longer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • While I love novellas, I think 250 is still fairly short, depending on text size, spacing, etc. It’s tough for me to get into a 500 page book right now. I have so little time to read and so many books I want to read. But that’s not the only reason. I actually do enjoy shorter books. Personal preference. (Of course, there are exceptions: Harry Potter, for one.) 🙂 Resenting novels that haven’t earned the right to be significantly longer. Love that!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Frankly, this sounds like your ideal book length, as in for you to write full lengthwise. I haven’t heard of a book shot. But I love the term, and more to the point, I agree totally on where the market is going. I think books generally are getting shorter, and I think part of that is the authorpreneur movement – it’s more efficient, effective and strategically sound to produce more books, fast. The best way to do that is to write shorter books. But I also think you’re right, and that attention spans are waning.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I haven’t heard about this, Sarah, but I can see how for people on the run it’s just right. I like big immersive tomes where I can get completely lost in the story and have to surface for air. It does make me aware that novellas are perfectly legit stories 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is just right. And there are a lot of us on the run. Some from the law, some from our bosses, some from our kids… 😉

      Haha! You are so immersed in the story you need to surface for air! That’s awesome. A case can be made for that. Sometimes, I don’t want a book to end. I mean, I really don’t. But, I’m hoping, as you’ve said, that shorter works are more accepted and aren’t dismissed outright based on word count without a look at quality.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Your title rapped in my head and made me laugh, but I read and now I’m really into the vibe! Pulp fiction, dimestore novels, these are making a comeback! We’ve talked about this before, about bringing back pulp fiction. Just as it’s fun for busy readers to devour, it’s fun for writers to write! I’m still thinking about Sheriff McCanles short books for a fun side series. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad I made someone laugh. I was singing a little, I’ll admit. Ooh…I hope you’re right, I’d love to see these make a comeback. We *have* talked about this before but maybe now, with this backed by Patterson, it will get more attention. ? Completely agree about these being fun to read AND write. (Hope you get that side series written!)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ll be honest, it kind of pissed me off that James Patterson was acting like he’d invented the concept but they’ve existed for centuries as novellas. All he’s done is just give it a new new name. The pulp movement was making a comeback in 2011 when my first novella came out, but we didn’t have a famous spokesman to slap a marketing term on it back then.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally understand. I was looking at it from a different angle. I was hoping that, with his backing, these would be reintroduced into mainstream or, at least, accepted by readers, publishers, agents, other writers as “real” books.

      Exactly! Novellas have been around for a long time. I want them back. In full force. I know the pulp movement was making a comeback but do you think this will help? Now that there is a spokesman to market short books? Were you thinking it might hurt? Wasn’t looking at it that way…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Heh. I wrote a post once entitled “I Like Bad Puns and I Cannot Lie.”

    I read a lot of plays, which are much shorter than books. A consideration? Also the inspiration for the least popular feature on my blog, Flip the Script Friday. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! I love puns.

      That would be interesting. I don’t read plays often. They’re a very different type of read. (But I do love reading Midsummer Night’s Dream every June so…) 🙂 I should look into some plays for a switch.


    • I don’t skim, either. I want to enjoy every word the author penned. That’s why I love short stories so much. Every word is a treat. And I’ve so little free time, I’d rather read a short book than a lengthy one (if I’ve the same interest in both).

      Liked by 1 person

    • I hear you, my friend. I’m not opposed to long books and, if it’s good, I’ll read it no matter the word count. (Harry Potter, anyone?) 🙂 In general, with my lifestyle, time constraints, and responsibilies, I prefer shorter works. Looking forward to your books!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I love this, why? Because I too love short books! We can read more and don’t have to wait till we can get those stolen moments to finish a longer book. No wonder I also like to write short books. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think Mark Twain said it well, “There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.” It’s one of my favorites. I love the idea of Book Shots … and old idea with a new marketing spin on it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I love novellas! I think there are a couple reasons for this, I think. One is the bloating of the modern novel. I read too many books in the 400-800 range that could be 100-300 pages shorter and be better books for it. Probably a decline in the number of editors employed by publishing houses??? The other reason is that I grew up reading and continue to read classic genre fiction written from about 1880 to 1960. It’s rare for one of those to be more than 300 pages and most are closer to 200. I think that has influenced my preference for shorter reads.

    Also, as I get older, I don’t feel like devoting an entire month to one novel. It would have to be a really awesome novel. And most of them aren’t.

    The publisher, Tor, also started a line of fantasy/sci fi/weird fiction novellas a couple years ago. They have published quite a few at this point (and I’ve read quite a few of them!). They are in the 90-200 page range — mostly 120 to 180, I’d say. In fact, I think Tor authors have 4 or 5 up for Nebula Awards in the novella category this year.

    Enjoyed the post! 🙂


  12. I read one of Patterson’s book shots. Or rather, I read the first three chapters and gave up. While I like to write short, I like to read long. That’s why I prefer books over magazines, and novels over short stories. I like more substance.

    That said, I’m not a fan of Patterson, in terms of his writing. He’s doing great things for bookstores and their employees.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yikes! 😄 That sounds awful. Well, they’re not for everyone. And, as I was chatting about with Icy, I wish they had more genres. I’m just excited about the possible comeback of the novella. They can have substance, when done right, but I see what you’re saying. There is a lot to be said for longer volumes that pull you into their world and keep you there for a time.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I really want to get into writing novellas. Swanskin was my first attempt but beta readers said Nooooooooo! You can’t do that! Writing shorter fiction is MUCH harder than longer stuff. Except for you… Queen of shorts and micro-shorts. I’m talking fiction, not fabric, here. Lol! Maybe both apply, I don’t know. 😁 Anyway, I’ve never heard of Bookshots, but I’m all for that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! You can do that! And I’d love to see it. I agree that writing short fiction is difficult but in a different way than longer pieces. Ha! Queen of micro (fiction) shorts. 👑 Love it. Thanks! I do love writing short fiction and find it fun but I marvel at 750 page novels. Let me know if you start writing novellas. I’d really like to see what you come up with.


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