1. LMBooks
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    LMBooks New Member

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    Book length for commercial fiction - thriller/heist/mystery

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by LMBooks, Sep 14, 2015.

    I have finished a new thriller that is almost exactly 80,000 words. Although it felt great when I finished, I began to feel that 80,000 is actually not enough words. Would anyone who feels informed about this topic please let me know their thoughts? Is 80,000 enough, or is 90,000-100,000 more appropriate for the genre?

    Thank you
     
  2. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    This is easily Googled and will get you a range of opinions from people in the know. Here's an example:

    • Crime Fiction: 90,000 to 100,000 – The page-turning demands and competitive market enforce a word count which it is advisable to comply to.
    • Mysteries / Thrillers / Suspense: 70,000 to 90,000 – The variation covers Cozy Mysteries which can clock in at just 70-75k, to noir and historical which are often published at 80-90k.
    Or Writer's Digest:

    80,000 – 89,999: Totally cool
    90,000 – 99,999: Generally safe
    70,000 – 79,999: Might be too short; probably all right
    100,000 – 109,999: Might be too long; probably all right
    Below 70,000: Too short
    110,000 or above Too long
     
  3. LMBooks
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    LMBooks New Member

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    Thanks Tenderiser. I've done the same searches and yielded similar answers... Still doesn't really tell me if 80,000 is too short. I guess the answer would be it's "fine" at 80,000. I'm sure others will post the second most likely google response, which is, "Don't try to add words, just let the novel be the length it wants to be." I understand that too, but I'm trying to write something to sell. I want to know the sweet spot for thrillers in the view of professional agents and publishers. Using your example above, if I consider my novel to be "crime fiction" then it should be 95,000 words. But if I consider it to be a "mystery/thriller," then 80,000 is perfect. Most "crime fiction" contains a mystery, and thriller elements. So I remain a bit confused :)
     
  4. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    It does tell you, it just depends who you listen to and which sub-genre you're going for. There aren't any publishers or agents that post here regularly (as far as I know) so you won't get a better answer than Writer's Digest or other organisations will give you.

    From what I've read, your manuscript won't be rejected off the bat because of this word count. But we've probably read the same things. :)
     

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