My Novella

I – or at least my alter-ago, MJ Iles, has a novella out. It’s called Urquell I. When I say “out”, I mean I’ve stuck it on Amazon. No editors, no publishers. You can purchase a copy here for £1.99 (or your local monetary equivalent). It’s about 50 pages long.

Why Don’t You Send It To a Publisher Then?


a) Publishers aren’t the least bit interested in 50 page novellas

b) The sentences and paragraphs in it are long and tortuous and contain strange grammar and punctuation; and nothing like that is ever published these days

c) I can sell it to you for £1.99 if I don’t have one (I wanted to sell it cheaper, but Amazon doesn’t agree)

But Why Write a Novella?


a) I’ve never finished writing a novel in my life, usually out of boredom and a loss of belief in my original purpose

b) I’ve become convinced that novels are actually too long and far from an ideal art-form; art is much better consumed as a unified whole (e.g. cinema, theatre)

What’s It About?

Boy meets girl, that sort of thing

Is It Like This Blog?

I doubt it’s quite the kind of thing you’re expecting; but on further consideration, perhaps it does make some sort of sense.

Can I Get a Review Copy Off You, Or Just Read it Free?

Yes, ok. Email me at and I’ll send you it. It will be in some computer format, probably Acrobat. (Also, if you’re signed up to Amazon Prime, you can read it for free anyway).

Can I Not Get a Hard Copy?


But I Only Read Literature Translated From Foreign Languages / Literature Prior to 1930

Yes, I know that. So do I.

If I Criticise Your Novella, How Are You Likely To Feel About It?

If you say something good, I’ll suppose you’re just being kind; if you say something bad, I’ll think you know nothing about literature. If your views – whether positive or negative – happen to coincide with my own, I’ll consider you a very astute critic.

Do You Think The Novella Is Any Good Yourself?

There’s bits of it I like; though I’m troubled by nebulous doubts whether I should publish it at all. (In fact, if you substitute the concept of love in the novella for art, that’s how I feel about it).

What Are You Writing Next?

Another novella, about Helen of Troy.


7 thoughts on “My Novella

  1. Great. I was just reading today in the Guardian about people who got million pound film deals after posting books up on Amazon. Can only be a matter of time.

  2. Well, I liked it. It reminded me in style of Ernst Weiss, though it’s been long enough since I’ve read Weiss that this is based on my doubtless faulty memory of my doubtless faulty impression of his style.

  3. Great, glad you enjoyed it. I must put “reminiscent of Ernst Weiss” on the dust jacket; that’s sure to get people to buy it.

  4. I also enjoyed it: the narrator is finely balanced just this side of pathetic, and it made me pine for the time in college when relentless solipsism was the goal to which all available time could be dedicated. I particularly liked the “strange grammar and punctuation”; – it gives the book a distinctive and very memorable flow. Thank you for sharing, and onwards with the TV mini-series…

  5. Good, I’m glad you liked it. The solipsism and its being a campus novel are probably the two things I’m most sceptical of about it. It worried me in particular reading Ben Lerner and thinking, does it really come across like that? But I think the narrator is a bit more self aware, if not actually feeling only contempt for himself. Still, my next work will be not the slightest bit solipsistic. In fact, I’m inclined at the moment to break off from what I’m doing and write a play instead.

    There’s another article in the Guardian today about people selling millions of self-published books through Amazon. Secret seems to be to offer it for free. Maybe I will at some point. Though it probably only applies to thrillers and romances.

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