1. Toxic Black
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    Toxic Black Member

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    Accepted word count?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Toxic Black, Dec 12, 2011.

    Hey

    I was just wondering roughly what the accepted word count is for a normal length book amongst publishing houses? I'm very nearly halfway through my first draft at 24,000 words, so that'll be 48,000 for my first draft and you can guarentee that i'll be adding more to it during the editing process. If someone could give me a rough guide as to how much i'll need to write in total that'd be great :)
     
  2. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why would you add more in the editing process? The editing process usually involves taking away from your draft and cleaning it up.

    As for the focus of this post, I suggest you actually look at publishing house submission guidelines. The general rule of thumb, however, is about 60k to 120k for an unpublished author. Somewhere thereabouts, at any rate.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, check the guidelines of various publishers. 48K is going to be too short, in most cases. Depending on the genre the publisher is marketing the book in, the word count can fluctuate. For fantasy, I've read anywhere from 80k to 120k or more, for example. In other genres 60K may be enough, as crucifiction says.
     
  4. Toxic Black
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    Toxic Black Member

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    Because that's just how I write. I write the bare bones first, complete my basic manuscript and then fill it out. I find it a lot easier that way because the manuscript is complete and I know what I can add and what I can't. I never thought 48,000 was enough, thats why I asked.

    And thanks, i'll have a look around.
     
  5. Dandroid
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    Dandroid Senior Member

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    which is interesting...i have only tightened...never enlarged...during an edit...
     
  6. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm kind of the same. with my first novel I ended up with 10K more words after the revision and editing. I think I'm like the OP, I write the skeleton first, then adding stuff during revision. Of course I also take away a great deal but I still end up with more than I started with.
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I know quite a few people who do this and have done the same on a handful of occasions. It can be effective.
     
  8. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I almost always add words during revision. When I look at my first draft as a whole, I see gaps that need filling, so I generate new material to fill them. For me, "editing" doesn't mean "cutting", it means "clarifying". I do whatever it takes to bring the story into better focus, and, in my case, that usually means adding to it.
     
  9. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Good point.
     
  10. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Many ebook publishers are more flexible in what they publish with respect to the length of a novel, thus novellas have better chance of finding a market, as opposed to when print heavily prevailed in the marketplace.
     
  11. erik martin
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    erik martin Contributing Member

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    Might depend on what you're writing. 50K is acceptable if you're writing middle grade or some YA.
     
  12. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    I have a few examples from my works on how I expand rather then tighten the novel;

    When I reread, I find I have told more then I meant too, so I change it to show, show usually adds a few words over telling.

    When I am getting close to the good parts I rush through, when I reread I find that I need more descriptions maybe even more explanation of what is occuring during this time.

    I also have decided to add some scenes I did not think of in the first writing. (which means watching for corrections in the rest of the story)


    Editing is trimming the fat on bloated sections and adding seasoning to the stale parts. (as well as correcting errors)

    I have bought short stories for my laptop (Kindle to PC) I doubt they really care how long the book is, they adjust the price.
    I paid 75 cents for a short story, maybe 8-10 pages in length.
     
  13. forgebench
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    forgebench Member

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    Like a poster above said, everything I've researched said 80-120k. I'm personally aiming for about 90k with my first novel (about 30k written).
     
  14. Silver. Fox
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    Silver. Fox Member

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    This.
    I've been reading around about the publishing process a lot, and almost everything I've read has said at least 80k. I can't say I know for sure though, I'm nowhere near an expert on the subject.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    most print publishers' optimum for a first adult novel by a new/unknoqn writer is 80-100k... if you self-publish in print or as an e-book, of course it can be any length you want...

    YA is generally much shorter and fantasy can run a bit longer...
     
  16. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    mammamaia made a great point in that new authors would be wise to keep their book under 100k. That is an invisible ceiling many agents/publishers put on unknown authors.
     
  17. hoggyboy
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    hoggyboy Senior Member

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    I've been looking at agents and publishers in australia and all of them say somewhere between 60k to 100k for a publishable story (60000 words is generally roughly equivalent to about 250 pgs in a book)

    and im assuming that for an unpublished author you should in fact aim for the lower end of that scale, somewhere between 60-75k. if you write something thats too long (ie 100k/450pgs or so) no one is going to read such a large book from a new author.
     
  18. miss sunhine
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    miss sunhine Member

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    Yeah that's something i'd like to know the answer too because everyone seems to have a different idea how long or short a book should be. Some people say enough to tale the story, I think some say a novel is 40,000 and over some say 60,000 and over so i try to go for something inbetween. Or i look on publishers webistes.
     
  19. Pea
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    Pea super pea!

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    Uh oh. :redface:
     
  20. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that's not necessarily true... 100k is a 'normal'-sized novel and is actually about the average size you'll see on the bookstore shelves by new authors... over that should be avoided, if you're not an established writer, but too short is also not wise, since it's not worth the publisher's time/money to put out such 'short' books that few readers will waste their money buying them...
     

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