1. Oak
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    Oak New Member

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    Is 7350 words too short for a book?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Oak, Mar 17, 2012.

    Hi, I wrote a compilation of short-stories and poetry. It totals at 7350 words, I'm wondering if it's too short to send to agents? Also, does anyone know how I can find agents in the U.K. or U.S. who accept email submissions from foreign authors? I'm from East India. Would appreciate any suggestions and pointers. Thanks.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    That's way too short. It's a decent length for a single short story, for submission to a magazine.

    A compilation won't sell anyway as a book, unless you're already famous, and it will have to be more than 80,000 words to interest a publisher.
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Cogito is right, 7,500 words as a compilation is incredibly short. It's about the length of a mid-to-long short story in itself.

    He's also right that you're not going to be able to sell a compilation as an unknown author. Publishers just won't take the risk.

    Your best bet is to look at selling the stories (flash fiction, presumably) and poems separately, to markets for those kinds of fiction (magazines and anthologies). In that plight, you will find duotrope an indispensable tool.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    both cog and banzai are right, sorry to say... i can only add that you should take what they say/advise seriously...
     
  5. michaelj
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    michaelj Senior Member

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    I think that many words is maybe like 18 pages in a typical book or so?
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That's about right. I have a lot of paperbacks on my shelves that average about 400 words per page (yes, I've counted them!), so 7350 words would be around 18 pages, or maybe 18 and a half.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Page counts are irrelevant. Get into the habit of thinking only of word counts.
     
  8. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    While it's on target to think more in word count as compared to page count, because of font size/type and page size/margin and spacing variations that can wildly affect the length in pages of a novel, for this instance the point of the 7000 or so words translating to an 18 or so page book is on target to illustrate why it's far too short (unless it's a children's book).
     
  9. michaelj
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    michaelj Senior Member

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    that was what I was getting at, yeah.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    However, it's really enough to know that eighty thousand words is the approximate minimum novel length most publishers will accept. Even allowing for YA and other formats that permit slightly shorter works, eight thousand words is WAY below the minimum.
     
  11. cerb123
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    cerb123 Member

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    Hehe, this is kinda like telling Oak "Hey, you know that thing you just spent most of your free time last week perfecting? Do that 10 more times just as good an we will talk." I absolutely hate coming up with something I like and realizing it's no where near where anyone wants it to be.
     
  12. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    I would say try to publish each of your short stories and poems individually. Start with your best one, and focus in on that one.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes... that's about all you can do with poems and short stories, till you become famous enough that a publisher would find a collection marketable...
     
  14. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    They are not irrelevant to readers, so thinking of page counts also is not a bad thing at all.
     
  15. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree I think both can be relevant especially when editing. Once I know I am within the suitable word count I like to think in terms of thickness or how long the story will feel to the reader.
     
  16. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Unfortunately it's up to you to consider what's relevant to an agent and publisher, not the reader. And like Cog said, the limitations and recommendations they set are in words, not pages.
     
  17. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    However, if those readers don't buy your books your agent and publisher will drop you, and if you've made it into print said book will get recycled. Whilst we need to consider the agent/publisher, neglecting the reader with our stories is fine if you don't intend to release another book.

    It is worth having a good idea about book size, chapter length etc even if the main goal if 80-100K for genre fiction or 120K for fantasy etc The geek in me just likes to know.
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If readers were deciding whether or not to buy books based in chapter size, James Patterson would be living in a refrigerator carton. Furthermore, you can decide just as easily whether a chapter is too long or short by its word count.

    If the publisher changes the page layout or the font, the page count will change, but the word count will stay the same.

    Page counts really ARE irrelevant. The word count is the standard measure. Ask any English teacher. If he wants an assignment to contain a given amount of content, he'll specify a word count, because the the page count can be manipulated too easilt.
     
  19. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Amazon.com will tell you page counts, not word counts. By getting a good feel for page count and word count, you can gauge how many words other books are. This can be helpful, e.g. it will allow you to better compare your work to your favorite author's, etc.
     
  20. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    While I'm in agreement with you on the issue, I just have to point out. Every English teacher I have ever had, has always set it by page, but because they set the text, spacing, indexes and all of that fun stuff.
     
  21. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Readers don't generally count words, and James Patterson would be just fine.

    Of course.

    Word count may be a standard measure among professionals, but not among readers. Many readers want the visceral feel of a nice, fat novel in their hands. Or maybe they're intimidated by thick books, so they want thin novels. They're not counting words. The thickness of the book is important. I know this because when I was a teenager, I took the thickness of books into account before I ever became aware of different font sizes and margins sizes, etc. I only became aware of word counts when I started writing seriously.

    Cogito, you are speaking intelligently to people in the writing business, but not to the audience. The vast majority of readers don't count words. They do, however, count pages, even though that's a misleading number.
     
  22. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    But again all this is irrelevant. You can have a good idea about how many pages your book is, but when it does find a publisher theycould change the font, size, margins, chapter divisions and all this ultimately decides the number of pages the book translates to. That number could be drastically different from your original vision. So why even bother with number of pages. As a writer you just have to appreciate that 80k words is generally the minimum length of an adult novel and is on the shorter side, and 120k is generally the maximum length and is on the longer side.

    Saying that your book is 320 pages which is the exactly what you were aiming for,is a bit pointless. By the time it' published it could be 420 pages.The word count however never changes.
     
  23. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the point is that unless you are self-publishing, you are not trying to sell your book to book-buying readers... you are trying to sell it to publishers!... because if it's not taken on by a publisher, no one will be buying or reading it, will they?... a publisher is not going to put money into publishing a ms that won't become a sizable enough book to sell well... and that's what the word count tells them...

    so, if you want to snag an agent and a paying publisher, ignore page count and consider only word count... period!

    serious, seasoned writers and pros don't care about page totals... neither do editors... it's all about word count for us... those who go on about the number of pages haven't gotten to that level yet, i guess... no offense intended, just stating what seems to me to be a fact...
     
  24. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    I agree, and I want to add that it is not only irrelevant for seasoned writers, but it IS relevant for beginning writers. So saying page count is irrelevant for everyone at all stages, as many of the more seasoned writers here are saying, is fallacy. Over time, beginning writers will think more in terms of word counts and less in terms of page counts.

    I'm kind of in between the two groups mentioned, so I think it's easier for me to see both sides.
     
  25. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Fact is though it doesn't matter if you think in page count if you also have the word count correct. As long as you put the word and not page count in your submission an agent isn't going to look at a submission package think ooh great: perfect word count, the best thing I've ever read, beautifully written - I know I must reject them because at some point during the writing process they worked out what the page count would be if their book was made into a standard print sized novel.
     

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