Thursday, August 20, 2009

Does Size Matter?


In my opinion bigger is better- especially if it's good! Get your minds out of the gutter, people, I'm talking about book length! :)

According to a lot of editor and agent websites/blogs, shorter is the way to go. This is especially true if you are a new and previously unpublished writer. Publishing houses are being extra cautious these days, what with the economy and all. But, it appears that there have always been loose guidelines in what is an acceptable manuscript length. What once was a "loose" guideline is really tightening up in recent months.

Once you've become published and you can prove your worth (i.e., book sales), you can definitely loosen your guidelines up for length quite a bit. Some publishers may remain adamant that they want you to keep the novel length shorter, but that's what agents are for, right? Agents who are really passionate about your work, and who are good at what they do, will help to negotiate what is ultimately turned in for publication.

Like I said, I prefer books to be at least 500 pages if not longer. If they are good books I don't want them to end. More is better. Even if they are series books. That's just my personal preference. The book I am writing was originally planned to be at least 500 pages in length (which translates to approximately 130k words), but I've decided to taper that back a bit - maybe around 300-350 pages. It is a planned series, so I figure whatever I can't fit into this one I can certainly squeeze into the others. And once I'm published (positive thinking!) I can hopefully extend the length a little if necessary!

Here are a few useful links to some blogs I follow that contain TONS of excellent info:
and here


  1. I tried posting 2 other times and I got errors on my screen! So...third times a charm, right? :-)

    I agree, length does matter! I like books that are 350 or more, but at least 300 pages. Even 301 leaves me at a loss... If they are good stories I want more and if not enough of the storyline and character buildup is given then it; seems like a tease making me (eh, hem... the readers) wait too long for the next book. However, there is one new series that I've been reading and it is under 300. But each book comes out a few months apart so that is not so bad. 400-500 or even more like Twilight and Harry Potter are perfect! But those are amazing stories and apparently the first time authors got away with more words than usually allowed. I guess it must depend on the story, the author, the agent, publisher and everyone else involved. I would hope that they will allow more than 300 in the future since kids and young adults are reading these really big novels and it seems counterproductive to go down to half the size book they are used too and in turn only half the storyline. I think they will loose interest in them. However, I think 350 is a good goal for a first book, but if more comes out in the story, then I say try to sell it with more; or as you say, keep some until the next book. Just don't leave the readers (me!) hanging for too long. :-)

  2. I agree that some authors get lucky w/their agents and publishers allowing them the longer length the first time around. I think, especially now w/the economy, that publishing houses don't always want to take a chance on a first time author whose story is 500+ pages. I am sure their standpoint is cost of production versus whether or not this book will actually sell - is it worth it? That's where the good ole editors come in and chop your story to bits, or if you're lucky they will only make it stronger and flow better. We shall of these days, anyway. (I hope)

  3. Yeah, I'm guessing that the time of the shorter books does have something to do with the economy too. Bummer. Gotta be about $$$$. Ugh. But, you will find out, I know it, probably before me too. :-) I seemed to be paralyzed by boredom which it turns out is not conducive to creative writing.... I'm hoping to get out of this slump soon. Hence, you publishing sooner than me! Like my thinking process? Ha ha. So...when you (and then hopefully me too!) publish maybe length will matter more! ;-)

  4. Hi, I was posting and reading some other blogs and saw that the Dark Guardians is going to have a 4th book... So, I may need to keep my series for now, eeek, so sorry! I feel terrible, cuz I said I might send 'em. I thought they were done. Anyway, my list keeps growing! I've still got the third to read plus the other sequels that have come in. I am working on my profs book to finish and then maybe HoN5. Did you finish HoN5 yet? Will I like the ending? Darn human Heath is about as far as I got and then I got frustrated and put it down... Let me know if I should pick up again. You know how I don't like surprises! ;-/

    Anyway, How's writing going? How's the book? I'm going to focus more on writing and less on blogging (some less anyway). Just checking in. Sorry to keep bugging you, I know you have a busy life. I hope all is well with you.