GENERAL DISCUSSIONS > Does Size Matter in Romance?

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message 1: by Jeanie (new)

Jeanie (jeanielong) | 1 comments I read a few articles lately indicating that with ebooks, the length of stories has been increasing. In the past when paper printing was the only option, publishers demanded shorter novels. However, research is showing that with the popularity of ebooks ever-increasing, novels seem to be getting longer.
In regards to romance/romantic novels, the past trend might have been roughly 300 pages.
Do you think there is room for longer romantic novels?
Are you willing to read 440 pages of say, a contemporary romance, if the story is riveting enough? Or will the length turn you off?

message 2: by Karen (last edited Oct 17, 2017 12:21PM) (new)

Karen (xkamx) | 24 comments I’ll start this by saying I’m not a great one to answer this question. I hadn’t really read romances for years before the last couple. I believe true readers of romance would read any length book as long as they were interested in the story and characters.

I really don't notice a difference in the length of e- versus printed books. Maybe it's the printed books I read—mostly cozy mysteries, 200-400 pages—but I don't notice them getting any shorter in either format. In fact, it’s e-romances that seem much shorter to me, maybe because authors can e-publish short stories and novellas quickly. Books can be e-published “in part” or serially easier than when printed. That is, once an author has several chapters written s/he can e-publish it at part 1 of X. Once all the parts of the multi-part series, duet, trilogy, or whatever are completed, some e-books can be a few hundred pages or more. You tend to overlook the page count while reading it. I don’t read printed romances and can’t really compare. However, I do remember the printed romances I did read—the sagas of Judith Krantz, Charlotte Vale Allen, etc.—were longer than a couple of hundred pages. I’d still read stories like those now, but with so many shorter items available, I’d reach for the sagas less often.

I don’t think longer stories scare people away, but today I would take a pause before committing to an e-read that was 400+ pages. Recently I read a romance trilogy. I didn't realize the story was multi-parted when I started it. Thankfully part two was available when I finished part one (which was great until I found it was actually three parts and had to wait a few months for the final part—aaaaaaaaargh!). Each part was 200+ pages. Anyway, I devoured the story because the characters hooked me from the beginning. Though I loved it, I don’t know if I would have read it had I known up front it was 600+ pages by the time I was done. That page count just seems so insurmountable. Though I don’t prefer serialized stories, anything more than a couple hundred pages seems easier to digest in smaller pieces. I know I can “serialize” it myself by reading it in chunks, but…

And, I have to admit short e-romances have ruined longer reads for me. I can get through two or three books, novellas, and shorter things in an evening, so longer stories tend to stack up (TBRs) in my MTV/Video-game-short-attention-span world. I keep up with series I’ve started (continuing or new characters, same “world”) and with favorite authors, but if I download an e-offering that’s over a couple of hundred pages, I put it on the back burner in favor of shorter items—constant churn of newer characters and stories—that I can read quickly. There are drawbacks to the shorter offerings (not enough time with the characters, stilted storytelling, etc.), but if I come across something that’s not so good, I’m not stuck for hours/days reading it (I finish what I start). As stated, I hadn’t been a regular reader of romances in years (probably since I was in high school), but the shorter e-reads drew me back in. Now I tend to read more romance (from mild to hot hot hot) by quantity than other things simply because I can consume them faster. The mysteries (and series of mysteries) I read still log in at 200-300 pages, but complete romances can be found in as little at 50 pages.

message 3: by Dorottya (new)

Dorottya (dorottya_b) | 12 comments I am, regardless of genre, have a slight aversion to really long books (400+ in my eyes), as from experience, a lot of times, they have a lot of filler bs. in them just to make the novel longer. But I am not ignoring a book JUST because of the size, because I have read some stellar ones where every word had a designated place :).

message 4: by Sheryl (new)

Sheryl Mebane | 4 comments I'm glad some people enjoy a shorter book since I'm currently exploring a slimmer erotic romance as a follow-up to my first erotic book, Rhythm (https://www.amazon.com/Rhythm-Sheryl-...). I've enjoyed lots of shorter erotic works as a reader, so I'm taking the leap as an author.


message 5: by Dorothyeross (new)

Dorothyeross | 1 comments I don't pay attention to the length of a book. Like Dorottya above, I care more about whether the length of the book meets the needs of the story - neither padded and too long, nor excessively brief and leaving out important parts of the story. That being said, I have quit long books or series that became repetitious and failed to develop.

message 6: by HR-ML (last edited Feb 28, 2019 04:21PM) (new)

HR-ML (hr-movielover) The length of a book does not bother me unless the author makes
a war, a baddie, needless repetition or a big secret more important than the couple falling in love. These factors can slow down the pace of the story, make me want to jump ahead, &/ or make me fall asleep, LOL!

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