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Writing Advice & Discussion > How many words?

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message 1: by Zoe (new)

Zoe Danielle (zoedaniellexx) | 32 comments How many words was the last book or current book you're working on?


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Slippery concept - my novel is 130000 word; scifi, though. Most novels are at least 75000. Much less seems to be considered a novella.

Jim Dodds


message 3: by Marie (new)

Marie (naturechild02) My current sci-fi/fantasy is just short of 100,000 words.
I agree with James that most full length books are around 75,000 but I find that a lot of romances are usually 45,000 to 60,000 words.
Anything shorter and I don't consider it a novel.


message 4: by Emma (new)

Emma Jaye | 143 comments Scifi and fantasy are often around the 90-120,000 mark. Romances tend to be shorter and YA even less.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Scifi and fantasy are "allowed" to run long because of the necessity for what is known as world-building.


message 6: by Deborah (new)

Deborah Ferry | 4 comments My chick lit is 161000. It's my biggest hurdle in getting considered . Is it way too long?


message 7: by Lauryn (new)

Lauryn April (laurynapril) | 5 comments I find most my books fall between 75,000 and 85,000 and I write mostly YA paranormal romance.

I will agree that most scifi and fantasy novels seem to run longer, their plots and scenery just seem to require more words.


message 8: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) I'm finishing up a manuscript for a romantic suspense novel that is 134k words right now. I never meant for it to be that long -- that's just how it came out.


message 9: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 129 comments my books fall between 80k to 120k. though i write sff ya it's considered too long -_- poor doorstoppers...


message 10: by Mocha (new)

Mocha Pennington | 55 comments Mine is a gothic horror novel that runs 95k.


message 11: by Emma (new)

Emma Jaye | 143 comments 161,000 for Chick-lit is rather long, perhaps you could split it into two books?


message 12: by Jlweaver (last edited Feb 02, 2015 04:08PM) (new)

Jlweaver | 21 comments a novel is any work of fiction over 40,000 words. My YA Fantasy is 61,000 words. My Sci-Fi was 85,000 words. A book really needs to be over 70,000 words for an agent to even consider it, unless it is YA, cozy mystery or Romance.


message 13: by Jlweaver (new)

Jlweaver | 21 comments Emma wrote: "161,000 for Chick-lit is rather long, perhaps you could split it into two books?"

161,000 words for chic lit is unpublishable.


message 14: by Jlweaver (new)

Jlweaver | 21 comments Deborah wrote: "My chick lit is 161000. It's my biggest hurdle in getting considered . Is it way too long?"

consider splitting it into a duology if possible. However, if you want it to be a standalone you need to cut of 60,000 words minimum. Agents consider works over 100k if it is in a genre that allows it but Chic Lit isn't in a genre that editors want over 100k. (No book is OK at 160,000k even if it is fantasy or science fiction.) You have a lot of cutting to do! but cutting is much easier than adding and it will help you make a much tighter story!

Best of luck to you! (:


message 15: by Aria (last edited Feb 02, 2015 09:31PM) (new)

Aria Ahmer (viramage) | 3 comments When I ended the first draft to my Young Adult High Fantasy novel it stopped around 121,000 words but after I've been editing for about the past 2 years I would say almost 5,000-10,000 words have been cut. I still have a huge majority of the novel to rummage through and cut and then again there are things I'd like to add here and there. xD So by the time I'm done with it I think it'd be somewhere between 110-120 thousand words.


message 16: by BR (last edited Feb 09, 2015 08:41AM) (new)

BR Kingsolver (brkingsolver) | 43 comments Amazon considers 55K as the minimum for a novel (see Kindle Scout submission guidelines). They also use 305 words per page to estimate page count. Acceptable length depends on genre. Take a look at the paperbacks you own. Romances and chick lit are usually under 100K. Harlequin "category" romances are 55-65K max. Sci-fi and fantasy can go 100-140K, but the top end is pushing it. Epic fantasy from some major authors may go up to 250K (Diana Gabaldon, Jacqueline Carey).

My first novel was 180K when I first sent it out to beta. It ended up published at about 83K, and another 60K was included in the 85K sequel. In other words, almost 40k ended up in the bit bucket.

Debut authors tend to write books that are toooooooo long. If your betas say that it starts too slow, lags in the middle, has parts that bore them, LISTEN. You're better hearing from your betas than from your reviewers.

As to my current WIP, it's a contemporary romance at about 63K.


message 17: by Jrwilson (new)

Jrwilson | 2 comments I would be curious to hear if any of the people who have posted on this page have made a dime on their books. Sounds to me like there are a lot of people writing thousands of words that no one else is interested in reading.


message 18: by Ubiquitous (new)

Ubiquitous Bubba (ubiquitousbubba) | 4 comments I have a couple of short stories out that hover around 10,000 words (novelettes). My first novel is 99,000 words. I'm working on the second novel now and I expect it to end around the 100,000 word mark. My novels are Sci-Fi/Fantasy, so the generally accepted range for the genre is between 80,000 - 120,000 words. Obviously, there can be exceptions, but most books of this type fall into this range. Story is more important that word count.

To answer the other question, I can't speak for anyone else, but I have earned some money for my books.


message 19: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) Jrwilson wrote: "I would be curious to hear if any of the people who have posted on this page have made a dime on their books. Sounds to me like there are a lot of people writing thousands of words that no one else..."

if you write for the money, you can stop right now. I have lots of words out and I am earning some money from them. Yes, some titles nobody reads them, but others fly out of the virtual shelves at 2-3 copies per day... so it really depends on what and why you write! :)


message 20: by Jlweaver (new)

Jlweaver | 21 comments Jrwilson wrote: "I would be curious to hear if any of the people who have posted on this page have made a dime on their books. Sounds to me like there are a lot of people writing thousands of words that no one else..."

Sounds to me like someone really doesn't understand how writing a novel works, and how becoming a writer works. If you're writing for the money stop and just walk away. It's a passion, it's an art, it's a love, and for most it doesn't make money--especially upfront. And I'm sure that most of the people on this thread haven't made any money because this is a Beta Reader group for writers who have completed their first draft and are taking their first step towards publication.

Most writers have to write several novels--hundreds of thousands or millions--of words before they can be published. This is not easy work.

So no, someone may not be interested in reading my work yet, but when I query an agent that agent very well may be.

Regardless, I don't think anyone on this thread believes that they are wasting their words.


message 21: by Aria (new)

Aria Ahmer (viramage) | 3 comments Jrwilson wrote: "I would be curious to hear if any of the people who have posted on this page have made a dime on their books. Sounds to me like there are a lot of people writing thousands of words that no one else..."



I guess its kind of apparent most of these writers haven't been paid yet, hence the fact they are in a Beta Reading group. They are in the Beta stages to writing. In fact they are probably, like myself, discussing the words they've written along the way on their journey to getting published. I'm sure just because they have thousands and thousands of words and haven't made a dime doesn't mean it strips them away from their passion or their skills as writers. All of these people are working pretty hard because they have a passion for it. If your writing for the money your probably not going to make it. Besides, there will always be one person out there who will love your story. Even if its just one person its great to be reaching out to someone through your work.


message 22: by Nevada (new)

Nevada (vadatastic) | 53 comments Found these two articles helpful for word count guidelines.

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-b...

http://www.literaryrejections.com/wor...


message 23: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Jrwilson wrote: "I would be curious to hear if any of the people who have posted on this page have made a dime on their books. Sounds to me like there are a lot of people writing thousands of words that no one else..."

The writers who produce good books and know how to promote them effectively will make money; the ones who don't know how to do those things will not. Most of the writers here are newbies (myself included). I've been writing for 30 years now (as a hobby); I'll be ready to publish my first full-length novel in April 2015.

Digital publishing has democratized the publishing industry. Anyone can write and publish a book now, and release it on Amazon, as well as many other places. The readers will decide whether a book is successful or not. From what I have seen, readers are very open to giving new and self-published writers a chance.

In the end, the quality of the book determines if it makes money or not, as well as the writer's ability to promote it.

Best of luck to us all! :)

April


message 24: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) Oh, and one more article on book lengths! :)
http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/killin...
Let's get rid of those myths - the stories will be as long or short as they need to be! Welcome to 21st century publishing! :D


message 25: by Fiona (new)

Fiona Hurley (fiona_hurley) | 33 comments Some books are big because they need that space for worldbuilding and plot. Some books are big because they have too much "fluff": unnecessary subplots and scenes, loose writing, filler words, purple prose, etc.

How do you know if your big book falls into the first or the second category? Well, you should probably start by assuming it falls into the second. Then you edit it within an inch of its life (with help from your beta readers, of course). You may still be left with a "Gone with the Wind" style epic at the end, but you'll know it needs every word that's there.


message 26: by Relina (new)

Relina Skye (relinaskye) | 69 comments I've read that shorter books sell better for e-readers. I don't know if that is really true or not. But as far as personally preferences are concerned, if the main character is expereincing some sort of internal issue and spends a third or more of the book in indesicion restating the same points over and over again, then I loose interest. Show the indescision, don't tell it to me about it every time the main character has a chance to have an internal monolouge...

My first book, "In-Between Work and Play" was about 70,000 words. It had a bit of world building, and definitions of mythological creatures. But most of the people that reviewed it or beta read it said that it was just enough to make it informative without making it boring.
http://www.amazon.com/In-Between-Work...


My second book "Hailstorm" (different series) is about 45,000 words. There were less mythological creatures in that one along with one less sub-plot line. The main compalaint was that it wasn't as funny as the first novel.
http://www.amazon.com/Hailstorm-Lost-...
(sorry about the spelling mistakes, this tablet is new and I'm not sure how to turn on the auto spell check)


message 27: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Fiona wrote: "Some books are big because they need that space for worldbuilding and plot. Some books are big because they have too much "fluff": unnecessary subplots and scenes, loose writing, filler words, purp..."

This topic is of great interest to me right now. I'm just about done with a contemporary erotic romance novel (with a bit of suspense) that is currently pushing 145K words (approximately 450 pages). Someone suggested to me that the length is too long for a romance novel.

My take on it is that a novel needs to be as long as it needs to be (assuming you have no filler - I never want to write the boring parts that people skip). I think that everything in the novel needs to be there, to build the characters, develop their relationship, and drive the theme and the plot forward. My first beta reader just finished reading my manuscript, and I asked her if there was any "filler" in there -- anything that could or should come out. She said no. I'm about to send it to two different professional editors and four more beta readers - and I will ask them the same question. I'm more than happy to remove anything that is nonessential... I just don't think there is any in there.

I just finished reading Diana Gabaldon's "Breath of Snow and Ashes" (which is 1,000+ pages), and I never wanted it to end! All of Gabaldon's Outlander novels are big books. JR Ward's books are big books. So, my take is that length doesn't matter as long as the novel is free of filler or fluff, and that everything in the novel is necessary, adds value in moving the characters and the plot forward, and entertains the reader.

April


message 28: by BR (new)

BR Kingsolver (brkingsolver) | 43 comments Jrwilson wrote: "I would be curious to hear if any of the people who have posted on this page have made a dime on their books. Sounds to me like there are a lot of people writing thousands of words that no one else..."

I have published six books, will publish another this spring. I'm not getting rich, but they do sell and the reviews are good. As to why I'm on a beta reader forum, part of the reason my books do well is because I use beta readers. I usually have about a dozen strangers read my books and use their feedback for revisions before they go to my editors. Some of the feedback isn't very useful, but a lot of it is. Remember, the people here on Goodreads buy books. If you want to find out what the reading public thinks about your book, ask the reading public. It beats getting a lot of 1 star reviews and no sales.


message 29: by Preston (new)

Preston Orrick (prestonorrick) | 27 comments My first novel came out to 106,000 words. After many beta's, a copyeditor and a proofreader, it is around 95,000 words now.


message 30: by Deborah (new)

Deborah Ferry | 4 comments Deborah wrote: "My chick lit is 161000. It's my biggest hurdle in getting considered . Is it way too long?"

Thank you all for your comments! Everything I needed to hear and am now working on culling!


message 31: by Deborah (new)

Deborah Ferry | 4 comments Jlweaver wrote: "Deborah wrote: "My chick lit is 161000. It's my biggest hurdle in getting considered . Is it way too long?"

consider splitting it into a duology if possible. However, if you want it to be a standa..."


Thank you !!


message 32: by Fiona (new)

Fiona Hurley (fiona_hurley) | 33 comments April wrote: "I just finished reading Diana Gabaldon's "Breath of Snow and Ashes" (which is 1,000+ pages), and I never wanted it to end!"

I adored the early Outlander books, but I've felt from The Fiery Cross onwards that they're getting too bloated and meandering. In one book, I swear, one character gets lost in the fog three times. I keep reading because I want to find out what happens to the characters, but I've become increasingly frustrated and I've sworn more than once that this is the last I'll read.

Just shows you how opinions differ, I guess.

I will say that some of my favourite books are doorstoppers: The Thorn Birds, The Sunne in Splendour, the first two Outlander novels. However, I'm reluctant to start a new book of over 500 pages, unless I've already read books by that author or the book comes strongly recommended by someone whose tastes match mine. I'm more likely to take a chance on a shorter book, because the time commitment is less.


message 33: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Fiona wrote: I adored the early Outlander books, but I've felt from The..."

Hi, Fiona

I just love Gabaldon's books - ironically, my favorite are the last four books - the ones you like least. I love hearing about their day-to-day life, traveling, trading, gardening, working the farm, Jamie's military stuff, Claire's doctoring, the extended family and the grandkids. I could just eat that up day after day. I'm so sad when each book ends. Now I'm waiting for book #9, but who knows when that will come out. She takes a long time between books. I wish she'd write shorter books more often. :) Still, I just love them.

Yes, to each her own. :)

April


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