Best Length for your Novel
by Bruce L. Cook
How long should a novel be to constitute a book? At what point do publishers simply say the length is too short or too long? Many writers are baffled by this question. And, actually, the question is unfair.
Be forewarned - you will weaken your story if you simply add content to reach a number-of-words goal. There’s nothing more obvious than “fluff” you might pour in just to make the story longer.
Other than that, the answer is 80,000 words minimum – maybe 150,000 maximum. Anything less and the agent will say – it’s just too short for me to waste my time. Conversely, many books are 70,000 words, and others even less. If 80,000 words is the rule, how did those books get into the marketplace?
Anymore agents’ guidelines are becoming “old school” and publishers are experimenting with 80-page novels. Why? Well, when you read a book on your smartphone or ipad, etc., you don’t really want to tangle with a 550-page monster.
Recently a publisher offered to convert books from our Cook Communication booklist into e-book form. How did they select the 8 or so books that wanted to convert? They selected the short ones! That way a reader will be able to afford the book and it won’t take too much time to read. The publisher wanted shorter books because they are easier to sell.
Further, think of this. If your masterpiece is 590 pages and you are asking $23.95 after discount, you must realize that some potential readers are scared away by the price or even the book’s thickness. In that case, it’s possible to split your book into two or more parts and sell each one separately.
In sum, there no longer is a single “best length” for a manuscript. Just use enough words to get your story told properly and deal with length later.
Nothing can be more frustrating than getting rejected by publishers and here’s how you can deal with the rejection. Instead of sulking at home, refusing to write another word, you can try sending your manuscript to another editor. When that’s done, you can sit back, relax and spend your time doing other things besides thinking about your book. More often than not, publishing houses and editors work under strict guidelines with manuscript submission and you’ll be putting yourself in danger by sending your manuscript to other editors at the same time.
Meanwhile, you can keep a close eye on your email for a letter from the publishers. When you receive a letter, expect a no. Expecting the worst will be easier for you when you do get the worst. For this particular circumstance, you can scream and shout, rant and rave for a few minutes about how these people just let a good thing pass them by. You then get back to reading the rest of the rejection letter. Here, you’ll be given a number of tips how you make your work better. When all these tips have sunk in, you can start submitting your manuscript to another editor.
Simply repeat the process of sitting and waiting, keeping an eye out for a letter from the publisher, etc. For the first rejection slip you’ve received, you can file this letter away or you can simply throw it out. Remember that that was just one publisher’s opinion. You have a long list of publishers to go through. In the meantime, you can continue revising and editing your manuscript. When you think you’ve made it even more perfect, you can send this out to another editor. Rejection from publishers is just a part of the process for becoming a successful writer.
For more information about publishers, visit the Bookpal website.
About The Author
Article Source: http://www.articlecity.com/articles/writing/article_2212.shtml
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Publishing New Writers,
September, 2011 (no. 1209)
Dr. Bruce L. Cook
6086 Dunes Dr,
Sanford, NC 27332
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