Jump to content

Disclaimer



Photo
* * * * - 2 votes

Word Counts


  • Please log in to reply
205 replies to this topic

Poll: In Range? A Word Count Poll (401 member(s) have cast votes)

What's the word count of the book you are currently pitching?

  1. Right in the sweet spot (75-80k) (66 votes [16.46%])

    Percentage of vote: 16.46%

  2. Voted Upper end but not scary (80k-100k) (146 votes [36.41%])

    Percentage of vote: 36.41%

  3. Praying because I write historical fiction or fantasy I'll get away with it (101k - 125k) (57 votes [14.21%])

    Percentage of vote: 14.21%

  4. I like to push boundaries but I'lll be leaving the word count OUT of my query :) (125k-150k) (22 votes [5.49%])

    Percentage of vote: 5.49%

  5. I am ENTIRELY delusional (150k-200k) (6 votes [1.50%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.50%

  6. There are PHONE BOOKS smaller than my tome (over 200k) (5 votes [1.25%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.25%

  7. novella anyone? (less than 60k) (16 votes [3.99%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.99%

  8. I am a little short of words but the ones I have are irresistable (60k to 75k) (49 votes [12.22%])

    Percentage of vote: 12.22%

  9. I write YA/Juvenile/Childrens so there is nothing wrong with 50k or less (34 votes [8.48%])

    Percentage of vote: 8.48%

I think the books coming out today are --

  1. Voted Too short -- when I pay $20 bucks I want more than 200 bleeping pages (144 votes [35.91%])

    Percentage of vote: 35.91%

  2. Just right (237 votes [59.10%])

    Percentage of vote: 59.10%

  3. Too long -- this is the age of the 140 character Tweet, please folks! (20 votes [4.99%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.99%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#61 Patience Worth

Patience Worth

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 9 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:I have published some articles in Helium.com mainly in the Ethics category.

Posted 01 November 2010 - 09:50 AM

You know, right now the word count thing is driving me nuts.

I'm working on a slipstream novel. It's early enough that the concern about length isn't affecting the work yet but once again I'm hearing conflicting reports.

I've read that slipstream novels are preferably thin... not sure I remember how thin... but in the first post contained the link to the blog on word counts it stated that slipstream novels typically come in at 80-100k.

Frustrating.

Sorry for how this post may sound I'm passing out in my chair.
"All murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets."
-Voltaire

#62 S.K. Keogh

S.K. Keogh

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,365 posts
  • Literary Status:published, in-between agents
  • LocationUS Midwest
  • Publishing Experience:My debut historical novel, THE PRODIGAL, was published in 2012 by Fireship Press. My second novel, THE ALLIANCE, was released in Dec 2013. Currently I am querying agents with another historical novel.

Posted 01 November 2010 - 10:39 PM

books that fall in the delusional category


OK...this just cracked me up. :laugh: Perhaps my historicals fall into that category...or at least their author. :laugh:

____________

 

SKKeogh.com

 

http://www.facebook.com/S.K.Keogh


Click to purchase your copy or to read free samples
Photobucket.jpg19279504.jpgSmallCover_zpsa4ea36fe.jpg


#63 lake

lake

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 178 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, emerging
  • LocationUS Midwest
  • Publishing Experience:Not yet!

Posted 12 November 2010 - 07:16 PM

Hemingway was/is known for Long sentences -- not a Hemingway fan : (
[quote][list=1]

[list]



[*][sup][sub][s][spoiler]Lake Michigan[/spoiler][/s][/sub][/sup]

[/list]

[/list][/quote]

#64 hubiestubert

hubiestubert

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 40 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging
  • LocationUS Southwest
  • Publishing Experience:Lake of the Dead, Syllipsis Press

Posted 12 November 2010 - 10:10 PM

Chippie runs at a little over 150,000.

Shadow of Doubt runs to about 132,000

I worry less about the count, than the story to tell. And science fiction and alternate history and fantasy tend to be a bit more epic in scale at times, so it's less of a concern of mine. The one I'm working on right now, it's probably going to hit about 89,000.

I'll find someone who has faith in the story. If they're only worried about marketability RIGHT NOW, then they aren't the agent for me anyway. Chasing trends is a way to get published, but it's not really a good way to write and create. Which, of course, as an amateur I can say with glib certitude, but in the end, you have to write what you write, not necessarily what others are looking to push out the door.

If I wanted to chase the current trends, I could pop out a vampire love story with a cool talking heroine with a bevy of handsome lovers and at least one lesbian scene per tale. But, then what would I do with the stories I want to tell. Ultimately, you have to chase your own muse, not simply what is selling to someone else's market.

#65 RC Lewis

RC Lewis

    Splitting Braincells

  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,471 posts
  • Literary Status:published, in-between agents
  • LocationUS Southwest
  • Publishing Experience:STITCHING SNOW, Hyperion, 2014
    SPINNING STARLIGHT, Hyperion, 2015

Posted 12 November 2010 - 11:14 PM

Interesting, Hubie, and you've raised a question in my mind--is there a difference between "trends" and "marketability"?

Hmm, that's going to veer significantly off-topic. I think I'll go start a separate thread.

_-Snow-Small.jpg           Spin-Small.jpg
   Stitching Snow        Spinning Starlight
     October 2014                October 6, 2015
       Hyperion                        Hyperion


#66 redwood

redwood

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 366 posts
  • Literary Status:published
  • LocationUS Southwest

Posted 13 November 2010 - 10:37 AM

The novel I am currently marketing was purposefully written to be "short" (89,000). I figure it'll cost a publisher less to print if they are willing to take on a first-timer. :laugh:

My current WIP, on the other hand, is 153,000.

Long sentences. Hmm, I often write them and I find that some of my favorite authors write them (Pat O'Brian, Bruce Catton).


Wish I'd had the presence of mind to do things the way you did. I went the opposite: the first book is so big I can't even confess the word count. The last is barely 70,000.
“There’s no such thing as tough. There’s trained, and there’s untrained. Now which one are you?”
The Year-god's Daughter, book one in The Child of the Erinyes Series, will be published in November, 2011

#67 Robin Breyer

Robin Breyer

    Timelord & Traveler

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,900 posts
  • Literary Status:self-published
  • LocationUS Northwest
  • Publishing Experience:Smashwords, Kindle Direct Publishing, Createspace

Posted 16 November 2010 - 12:19 PM

As a writer, I always hear the advice "know your market". But I've noticed a lot of people give advice to others without knowing that market. I just read an article about word counts for novels and he author made a few mistakes. It came down to knowing trends in publishing, but not knowing the genres she was advising on. For those of us writing on the Tolkien model, the goal is a trilogy of 500k. We have had our Melanie Rawns and Robert Jordans who go far over that, but most like Donaldson, and Carol Berg hit it on the money. Everyone drills in the mantra "know your market" but that does apply to giving advice to others. Know THEIR market before you speak. Who are they emulating? Is that a good model? etc.

Website, Blog

 

Writing as Scott Seldon:
Website, Blog, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and iTunes

Writing as Robert Courtland:
Website, Blog, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and iTunes

 

 


#68 Litgal

Litgal

    Veteran Queen Bee -- Moderator "Here Be Historicals"

  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,496 posts
  • Literary Status:published, agented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:My debut novel, "The Sister Queens," (March 2012/NAL), was set in 13th century France and England and wove the captivating story of sisters, Marguerite and Eleanor of Provence, who both became queens. My next solo novel, "Medicis Daughter," (Dec 1 2015/Thomas Dunne) traveled forward three-hundred years to the intrigue-riven French Valois court, spinning the tale of beautiful princess Marguerite who walks the knife edge between the demands of her serpentine mother, Catherine de Medicis, and those of her own conscience.

    In between I became a "hybrid" as part of a group of six authors involved in a high concept novel-in-six-parts called "A Day of Fire" which released in November of 2014. The book, "A Day of Fire," tells the story of the final days of the doomed city of Pompeii in a way you've never read it before.

    In October 2019 my next novel--another group project co-written with 5 other amazing, multi-published historical novelists--"Ribbons of Scarlet" will be released by William Morrow. A novel of the French Revolution's Women, Ribbons of Scarlet is a timely story of the power of women to start a revolution—and change the world.

Posted 04 January 2011 - 09:05 PM

Intersting agent post today on the acceptable word count for Fantasy. http://bookendslitag...word-count.html
Lit. (aka Sophie Perinot)

#69 Robin Breyer

Robin Breyer

    Timelord & Traveler

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,900 posts
  • Literary Status:self-published
  • LocationUS Northwest
  • Publishing Experience:Smashwords, Kindle Direct Publishing, Createspace

Posted 04 January 2011 - 11:06 PM

Intersting agent post today on the acceptable word count for Fantasy. http://bookendslitag...word-count.html

Funny, when it comes to epic or high fantasy, 145k is about the shortest I can easily find. I keep wondering how newbies keep getting published in that sub-genre and where the short books are. From the comments, I'm not the only one wondering that. Makes me wonder how well some agents know the market?

Website, Blog

 

Writing as Scott Seldon:
Website, Blog, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and iTunes

Writing as Robert Courtland:
Website, Blog, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and iTunes

 

 


#70 Jean Oram

Jean Oram

    Your friendly, neighborhood, all-purpose moderator

  • Super Moderator
  • 9,302 posts
  • Literary Status:published, self-published, in-between agents
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:New York Times bestselling romance author. Independent author with traditional publishing experience. Everything from magazines to newspapers to short stories to novels.
  • City (optional):C-eh?-N-eh?-D-eh?

Posted 06 January 2011 - 11:17 AM

I have a feeling that books are going to continue to get compressed into shorter and shorter lengths. Why? It isn't like it was 150 years ago where you wanted a book to last you ages because there wasn't any other entertainment around and books were a bit of a luxury--got to get your money's worth! (The rumor is that Dickens was paid by the word for Heaven's sake!) These days there is so much competing for our entertainment moment that books that are long just aren't as appealing. The majority of people want a book they can cruise through in short order. For example, there is one person in our book club who always chooses these mammoth books. They are good books, however hardly anyone ever gets through them in the month we have. They just don't have the time. And sometimes, they won't even bother starting the book because they know they won't be able to get through it. Or they know that they will have forgotten important bits by the time they finally reach the ending.

Now, of course, fantasy is a bit different. There is an expectation that the book is going to be longer. And I think for historicals as well. But for the most part, I feel that books aren't going to get any bigger. Just shorter.

And then there is the issue of ereaders... People are impatient beings and I think ereaders (in some ways) will make us even more impatient as readers.

What do you think?

I love connecting with and helping other AQCers outside this forum as well. You can find me all over the place!

If you are looking for more about writing, you may find my blog helpful, as well as my Twitter feed:

*The Helpful Writer *Twitter

If you are a parent, you might be interested in my ideas on growing happy, healthy kids who'll thrive in this ever changing world (includes crafts, activities, games, articles, and fun!):
*Twitter *Blog *Pinterest *Facebook

 

I write stuff (www.jeanoram.com)

 


#71 Peter Burton

Peter Burton

    Court Jester and Wanna Be Author

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,962 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, published, self-published, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Self Published

Posted 06 January 2011 - 01:22 PM

I think you hit the nail on the head, Jean. Most folk who read, (barring research, because that is a must and smart researchers use either the library, or internet.), do so to be entertained.

For myself, I will generally do the story, then check the word count. 50k, or less, I figure I haven't elaborated enough and look for things that could use a bit of 'splainin', Lucy.

If I shoot over 80k, my guess is I got a sudden case of diarrhea of the keyboard, and put in too much BS. (I'm usually right, and find tons of filler that just doesn't belong, or didn't move the story along. then i start cutting the crap.

So far both methods have seemed to work.

"But that's OK. There's treasure children always seek to find.

And just like us, you must have had, a Once Upon A Time."

~Elton John


#72 Robin Breyer

Robin Breyer

    Timelord & Traveler

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,900 posts
  • Literary Status:self-published
  • LocationUS Northwest
  • Publishing Experience:Smashwords, Kindle Direct Publishing, Createspace

Posted 06 January 2011 - 07:08 PM

Jean, Dickens wrote serials. A lot of his work was printed in short segments, such as A Christmas Carol, at regular intervals. It was compiled in printed in book form later. this was a common way to do things, the TV series of the day. It was not the only way, but I think many of the longer books were published this way. A 500k novel was not unusual.

However, in Fantasy, specifically the Tolkien, Brooks, Donaldson, Jordon, style of Epic Fantasy, 140k is the shortest book I've seen. Most books tend to be 150-180k, with the longer ones reaching 350-400k. Lord of The Rings, if considered as 3 separate books falls in the typical 150-180k range. The full single volume is over 500k. The newest author I can name who is popular in the genre, Carol Berg, had her first book of 165k published in 2001. I found one in a related genre, Dark Fantasy, that is currently on the new release shelves in Barnes & Nobel that I estimate at about 150k, that is the author's first book. I've been checking out Epic Fantasy for over a year and I am just not seeing shorter novels, even by new writers. What agents are talking about right now is what might get published in a year or two, but some of the articles are several years old and I just don't see that trend in Epic Fantasy.

Website, Blog

 

Writing as Scott Seldon:
Website, Blog, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and iTunes

Writing as Robert Courtland:
Website, Blog, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and iTunes

 

 


#73 Robin Breyer

Robin Breyer

    Timelord & Traveler

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,900 posts
  • Literary Status:self-published
  • LocationUS Northwest
  • Publishing Experience:Smashwords, Kindle Direct Publishing, Createspace

Posted 09 January 2011 - 03:53 AM

I did some research on books that fit the epic fantasy sub-genre and I came up with some interesting figures. It's hard because there are so many variables. No all books have the same lines per page or words per line, not to mention white space between chapters and the like. I tried to err on the low side. What I came up with (and these are all books published this year, virtually all by new writers) is that the average length is 150k. I used the page count, counted the lines per page, and estimated the words per line (the average comes out to be 11, most of these books are really tightly formatted). The ranges were from 279 to 677 pages, and between 29 and 45 lines per page. The calculated word counts come out to be between 88k and 211k. Many of the 27 books I looked at are by big publishers and some are not. This information really calls into question where Agents are getting this 120-125 maximum for fantasy. It's obvious that the books are being written and bought by publishers and make it to book stores. I think these agents that provide that number are not agents who deal with this sub-genre. If I have erred too low, the average could be as high as 185k, but I think 150k sounds right. And for those who like statistics, I calculated the mean length to be about 2k higher than the average.

Website, Blog

 

Writing as Scott Seldon:
Website, Blog, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and iTunes

Writing as Robert Courtland:
Website, Blog, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and iTunes

 

 


#74 Robin Breyer

Robin Breyer

    Timelord & Traveler

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,900 posts
  • Literary Status:self-published
  • LocationUS Northwest
  • Publishing Experience:Smashwords, Kindle Direct Publishing, Createspace

Posted 21 January 2011 - 01:34 PM

I just queried two agents who specifically referenced newer epic fantasy authors who have books the same length as mine (about 560 pages or 175k words). Now if my query will just do its job.

Website, Blog

 

Writing as Scott Seldon:
Website, Blog, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and iTunes

Writing as Robert Courtland:
Website, Blog, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and iTunes

 

 


#75 Darke

Darke

    ~Official AQC Cookie Provider~

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,489 posts
  • Literary Status:self-published, unagented
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:I have several short stories published with online magazines such as Bewildering Stories and Aphelion, and part of the 7DS anthology SLAYERS. I have six books in a paranormal series self-published, and as of 2015, I write articles for Gaiam TV. See my blog for more details.

Posted 26 January 2011 - 08:28 AM

Hmmmmm.....

My WIP right now (paranormal thriller) is ninty words over 70k. I could push another 2k with the polish, but I don't know about five. :sad:

~I am neither an author nor a writer; I am a storyteller with good grammar.~

darkes_cover_4_sparkletn.jpg Book2TN.jpg darkescovenwtTN.jpg demonthumbnail.jpg 4311642f-9dfa-4c08-ac6d-a6979476c6ce.jpg

 

 3e1a6d8e-6529-475b-b08d-34d575e93531.jpg


#76 C. Taylor

C. Taylor

    Subsisting on Pots of Tea

  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,300 posts
  • Literary Status:published, self-published, agented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:I'm a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author writing under the pen name, Cali MacKay and write fun and steamy contemporary romances, in addition to erotica, paranormal romances and mysteries. I also write steampunk romances under the pen name Calista Taylor.

Posted 26 January 2011 - 09:12 AM

I did some research on books that fit the epic fantasy sub-genre and I came up with some interesting figures. It's hard because there are so many variables. No all books have the same lines per page or words per line, not to mention white space between chapters and the like. I tried to err on the low side. What I came up with (and these are all books published this year, virtually all by new writers) is that the average length is 150k. I used the page count, counted the lines per page, and estimated the words per line (the average comes out to be 11, most of these books are really tightly formatted). The ranges were from 279 to 677 pages, and between 29 and 45 lines per page. The calculated word counts come out to be between 88k and 211k. Many of the 27 books I looked at are by big publishers and some are not. This information really calls into question where Agents are getting this 120-125 maximum for fantasy. It's obvious that the books are being written and bought by publishers and make it to book stores. I think these agents that provide that number are not agents who deal with this sub-genre. If I have erred too low, the average could be as high as 185k, but I think 150k sounds right. And for those who like statistics, I calculated the mean length to be about 2k higher than the average.


Robin, I was just looking at the submission guidelines for some scifi/fantasy pubs, and the ones that do allow unagented submissions, will often give you max and min. wordcounts. I know one had a min wordcount of 80K and a max of 120k. It might be worth checking out submission guidelines of publishers that might publish your type of novel.


Darke, I'd add in a mini sub plot or intro a new character. Unless it's YA, 80K is probably your min.

Cali MacKay

        FREE

51HdjDwZKxL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-51Ekbyv33TL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-51HnUjguTHL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-511uTCIPFnL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-51-y12BGRPL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-51LB9MAkXgL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-612uyFf1xML._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-61y0ZMZ-%2BaL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arro51J-PsyEZoL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-

 


#77 Robin Breyer

Robin Breyer

    Timelord & Traveler

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,900 posts
  • Literary Status:self-published
  • LocationUS Northwest
  • Publishing Experience:Smashwords, Kindle Direct Publishing, Createspace

Posted 26 January 2011 - 12:30 PM

Robin, I was just looking at the submission guidelines for some scifi/fantasy pubs, and the ones that do allow unagented submissions, will often give you max and min. wordcounts. I know one had a min wordcount of 80K and a max of 120k. It might be worth checking out submission guidelines of publishers that might publish your type of novel.


I haven't checked out all of them. I know several have minimums below what I've written (Baen for instance), but the ones that actually publish the Epic Fantasy sub-genre tend to be agented-only and do frequently publish new authors. TOR doesn't list any min or max.

Website, Blog

 

Writing as Scott Seldon:
Website, Blog, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and iTunes

Writing as Robert Courtland:
Website, Blog, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and iTunes

 

 


#78 Rick Spilman

Rick Spilman

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,145 posts
  • Literary Status:published
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:My novel Hell Around the Horn is published by Old Salt Press

Posted 08 February 2011 - 06:17 PM

I have a feeling that books are going to continue to get compressed into shorter and shorter lengths. Why? It isn't like it was 150 years ago where you wanted a book to last you ages because there wasn't any other entertainment around and books were a bit of a luxury--got to get your money's worth! (The rumor is that Dickens was paid by the word for Heaven's sake!) These days there is so much competing for our entertainment moment that books that are long just aren't as appealing. The majority of people want a book they can cruise through in short order. For example, there is one person in our book club who always chooses these mammoth books. They are good books, however hardly anyone ever gets through them in the month we have. They just don't have the time. And sometimes, they won't even bother starting the book because they know they won't be able to get through it. Or they know that they will have forgotten important bits by the time they finally reach the ending.

Now, of course, fantasy is a bit different. There is an expectation that the book is going to be longer. And I think for historicals as well. But for the most part, I feel that books aren't going to get any bigger. Just shorter.

And then there is the issue of ereaders... People are impatient beings and I think ereaders (in some ways) will make us even more impatient as readers.

What do you think?



#79 Rick Spilman

Rick Spilman

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,145 posts
  • Literary Status:published
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:My novel Hell Around the Horn is published by Old Salt Press

Posted 08 February 2011 - 06:24 PM

The rumor is that Dickens was paid by the word for Heaven's sake!


Dickens was probably paid by the issue. Many of his books were initially published as serials in magazines. Several of which were illustrated. Relatively speaking readers of Dickens were reading smaller batches of text than modern readers who sit down and plow through a 150,000 novel.

Several 150,000 word novels that I have read recently struck me as needing about 30,000 to 40,000 words worth of editing. Shorter is often better.

#80 Jean Oram

Jean Oram

    Your friendly, neighborhood, all-purpose moderator

  • Super Moderator
  • 9,302 posts
  • Literary Status:published, self-published, in-between agents
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:New York Times bestselling romance author. Independent author with traditional publishing experience. Everything from magazines to newspapers to short stories to novels.
  • City (optional):C-eh?-N-eh?-D-eh?

Posted 10 February 2011 - 02:30 PM

Good points, Rick. I hadn't thought of Dickens in that context.

I love connecting with and helping other AQCers outside this forum as well. You can find me all over the place!

If you are looking for more about writing, you may find my blog helpful, as well as my Twitter feed:

*The Helpful Writer *Twitter

If you are a parent, you might be interested in my ideas on growing happy, healthy kids who'll thrive in this ever changing world (includes crafts, activities, games, articles, and fun!):
*Twitter *Blog *Pinterest *Facebook

 

I write stuff (www.jeanoram.com)

 





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users