1. ThenColmSaid
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    ThenColmSaid New Member

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    Book size

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ThenColmSaid, Sep 23, 2016.

    I was wondering if anybody knew what the conditions were with length of books.

    I'm writing a series, and the first book is quite large. I was just wondering if there were any certain guidelines as to how long it can be when you're trying to shop a series?
     
  2. Pauline
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    Pauline Member

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    It usually depends on the genre. Publisher's and agent's websites contain that information in their submission section.
     
  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    First of all, you don't "shop a series". You CAN pitch a book as having series potential, and some agents are attracted to that. But the first book should be a complete stand-alone story.

    Debut novels typically should be somewhere between 70,000 and 100,000 words, depending on genre. Fantasy novels typically get extra room because of world building, maybe up to 120,000 words or so (there are houses out there that are fantasy-only and some of those may accept even larger debut novels; some also accept unagented submissions). You'll probably see some articles out there that suggest that historical fiction gets some wiggle room for the same reason, but that hasn't been my experience. So, exceed the 100,000 mark at your peril.

    Good luck,
     
  4. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Well from what I have seen is this when it comes to length. 80,000-100,000 words is pretty much the norm and average. Very few are looking at anything in the 100,000-150,000 word range. Though I would say if you're going to get traditionally published, get an agent. At least it would be more beneficial than going to a publisher direct. The bigger the publisher the more likely they won't even see your work, because they get so many submissions that they only look at a point of the percentage.

    (And be happy I didn't make a penis joke out of this, but now I have you thinking about making one.) :supergrin:
     
  5. ThenColmSaid
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    ThenColmSaid New Member

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    :superlaugh: I mean, you're not wrong haha Aye, I've been hearing that roughly 100,000 is the limit, which is unfortunate because it means I've got a lot of shredding to do on a manuscript sitting at roughly 400,000:cry:
     
  6. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    That is where an agent comes in, as they don't usually set word limits.
     
  7. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Eh? Agents sell to publishers, so they take on books that meet publisher needs. Word count is very important to them!
     
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  8. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    The first draft of my first attempt at a novel was just north of 400K. Through several edits, I was eventually able to get it down to 140K before I decided that it had served its purpose. In the process, I discovered that there are lots of things that can fluff up word count: needlessly long descriptions, unnecessary backstory, incidental dialogue that doesn't move the story forward or show change in a character, spoon-feeding the reader, overuse of dialogue tags (you can save on word count by mixing action and dialogue), and plain old excess verbiage. All of those cuts can be made without any loss to your story (in fact, like pulling weeds from a garden overgrown with them, it helps the story grow taller and stronger).
     
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  9. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    It amazes me how you people find yourself having to trim your first drafts. My first draft of a 100,000 word novel would probably come in somewhere around the 30,000 mark o_O

    I honestly suspect I'm the only aspiring writer in existence who suffers with this problem.
     
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  10. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nah, my first drafts are always short, too. I end up adding a lot of details later.
     
  11. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    I stand corrected.
     

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