1. rml8607
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    rml8607 Senior Member

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    Average novel

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by rml8607, Aug 7, 2007.

    Whats the average word count for a novel? I'm working on something now, but I'm afraid it won't be long enough.
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    for an unknown writer with a first adult mainstream market novel, the optimum for most publishers is 100k... anywhere from 80 to 120 will probably be ok, but should hit the optimum to maximize its chances...

    YA will usually be shorter [55-75] and fantasy can get away with running longer, if it's well-written... romance can be on the short side for original pb...

    you'll still have to check each publisher's guidelines, as some have their own preference that is different from the 'average'...
     
  3. Neo
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    Neo Member

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    I'm writing my first and aiming for 50,000 - Bret Easton Ellis got published with Less Than Zero, which is about that length. Really the minimum in about 50,000.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    his way-too-short novel sold only because it was the kind of wall-to-wall mindlessly icky stuff that he became infamous for... plus, that was over 20 years ago!...

    imo, to aim for such a low word count now, is cutting your chances of a sale down to nil-to-none, as the optimum size for a first novel is 100k nowadays...
     
  5. rml8607
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    rml8607 Senior Member

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    Ok, thanks guys. Mine right now is looking to be around 65K
     
  6. Neo
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    Neo Member

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    100k??!! How's someone supposed to fill all those pages??!!
     
  7. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Some publishers will run with 70,000 words (for adults) and as Mammamaia indicated, less for YA.

    One can find variations of very long (Harry Potter for YA for example) or very short (Ellis' Less than Zero), but those are exceptions to the rule, and the question was "average novel".

    Again, as said, check the specific publisher guidelines. Some publishers prefer less than 100,000, some publish nothing under 80,000 words and prefer longer. Some agents even list the lengths they're willing to represent.

    Neo, if you cannot fill enough pages for 90,000 words, and only have 50,000, it may be an additional hurdle to selling the novel. When you say "fill" and I say "fill" we're both talking quality, related to the story/plot and not fluff.

    Maybe it is that you have a novella after being trimmed?

    Terry
     
  8. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    Yay! I'm more than 80k :) After checking my word count, it numbers up to about 96k. Good enough?
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    just the way novelists do it all the time... by writing a story that can 'last' that long...

    novels have subplots, as well as the main one, so maybe all you really have is a too-wordy short story?... there's no market for novellas in the us, so i'd say either cut it down to a short story or rethink your storyline and plot, enlarging it to encompass some subplots, more description, or whatever else it might be lacking...
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Filling pages, huh? I don't see that as a formula for success. Publishers may measure in characters, words, and pages for screening, but the real measure of what will or will not sell is how much story is contained in the book, how much character, how much life. For such a content, there will be a good pace, or a pace that is too rushed or too pedestrian.

    Word count is an estimate.
     
  11. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    As is pretty much already covered, 80,000 is pretty much the minimum for a novel. Around 100,000 is best.
     

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