I went through this conundrum when I was working on the first Rick Shilling book, 'Ginger, Spice, and Everything Not Nice.' The story wasn't long enough to be considered a full-length book, because I wanted to get it out before Christmas and ran out of time to write one that long. I also wanted it to be a snappy book, not drawn out, but just long enough to give the reader a cute story for Christmas.
I went to the Internet and found lengths of books (fiction). First, I looked up full-length novels. They range from 40,000 words and up. If the book is more than 110,000, that's considered an 'epic' novel. However, depending on the genre, different lengths seem to be 'normal' or average for full-length. See here for more information on the genre for full-length novel word count.
In general, if the story is shorter than full-length, which mine was, it falls into the following categories:
Short story: 7500 words and less
Novelette: 7500-17,500 words
Novella: 17,500-40,000 words
Also, I found this information from daringnovelist.blogspot.com:
Shorter stories use different techniques, and have different kinds of subjects, so the Short Mystery Fiction Society subdivides the shortest categories further for their Derringer Awards:
· Flash story: up to 1000 words
· Short short story: 1001 - 4000 words
· Long short story: 4001-8000 words
· Novelette: 8001-17,500 words
So short stories are even classified further. I guess the 7500-8000 range is in that 'gray' area since two of my sources say different things.
My goal, for these books, is to make them a novella. Novelette sounds too short, and a short story, to the average person, is probably anything less than novel length. But a novella sounds about right--shorter than a novel, but long enough to have a good plot.
Thus, the Rick Shilling stories are considered novella length, but still packed with tons of action and a fun plot. I hope you enjoy them!
Have a great week!