1. Scrynen
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    Scrynen New Member

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    50,000 words is considered a novel, right?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Scrynen, Jul 13, 2010.

    There are many novels that are under 50,000 words:

    The Great Gatsby
    Slaughter House Five
    Fight Club
    Less Than Zero

    to name a few.

    But I was looking at Steven King's "The Mist," which is over 50,000 words, but considered to be a Novella?

    So I'm wondering if something other than word count plays a part in whether or not a work is considered to be a Novel or Novella.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    What you should be more concerned about is submission guidelines. For an unknown writer today, a first novel should be 80,000-120,000 words for most genres. YA novels may be somewhat shorter.

    Stepen King is an established money maker. If he can squeeze a 500,000 word novel out his rectum, a publisher will gladly pay him top dollar per word, because even if the novel is a bust, having Stephen King as a client is still a financial coup.

    You are not Stephen King. So you have to impress a publisher with your writing, and it has to be in the size range that makes it a good risk to produce.

    Novellas are a very limited market. Not your best bet for making a name for yourself.
     
  3. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    That 'something' would be quality. Less Than Zero was marketed as the novel to define a generation, and it was successfully sold as such. It might have been under length, but its importance and quality outweighs any other concern. So, if your novel/la is exceptionally well written, there's no reason it shouldn't be published. If its below average, or even just average, you'll probably struggle to find a willing market.

    You should also note that Fight Club was published as a short story first, then expanded to a novel, so its not quite the same as selling a novella by an unknown writer.
     
  4. eliza490
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    eliza490 Member

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    My 2008 edition of Writer's Market lists 15,000-45,000 words as a novella and 45,000-120,000 words as a novel. These might be interesting numbers to keep in mind, but they ultimately don't matter too much. If you do a google search you could probably find other 'word count guidelines' that are very different. The most important thing is to follow the guidelines of any publisher you submit to and make sure it is the best it can be, whether the publisher decides to refer to it as a novella or a novel.
    ~Eliza
     
  5. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've seen novels as short as 30k. I guess it just depends which market they're aimed at and what its purpose is; this would be a perfectly acceptable length for a children's novel.

    I would consider anything under 30k to be a novella, and anything over to be a possible novel; I say possible because the structure and purpose really defines it in particular.
     
  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I think that the theme answer here is that you cannot let a reference book or guide tell you what is what. As pretty much everyone has included in their posts, the definition that matters is the one that is signing over the cheque to you. ;)
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    or, even before that, what the agent you hope will sell your work wants...
     
  8. MJ Preston
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    MJ Preston Banned

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  9. Victorian girl
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    Victorian girl Member

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    Most sites I have been on have said that a novel should be no less than 60,000 words. For a first novel they sometimes ask for no more than 80,000 words. So, I`m aiming for around 75,000.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Have you looked at the publishing guidelines of prospective publishers? Those should be your guide.
     
  11. BlueWolf
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    BlueWolf Banned

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    It does need to be a little higher for the traditional publishers - 70k being a minimum. That being said, I was once told that at 112,000 words, my book was too long, but that was only from two companies from countless ones.
     
  12. ryu-zen
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    ryu-zen New Member

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    I am working on a book of stories and I am already at 10,000 plus words. I plan on attaching two more stories to this project. It's interesting my pre-edit is so high, even though, I am half-way through the first story! Hum I am writing a novella or novel of shorts; i am certain it will not be the first.
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Barring a miracle, you'll never sell it. An unknown writer stands nearly a zero chance of getting a collection published.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sad, but true... and if all you have is 10k words, with only two more stories to add, it'll most likely be way too short to be published as a book, as well...
     

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