1. radkovelli
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    radkovelli Member

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    Novel lengths?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by radkovelli, Oct 12, 2015.

    I'm writing my first book currently and I'm at around 27,000 words now. I can't see it being any longer than 55,000-60,000ish words. I read on a few websites that publishers will ignore work that isn't at least 80,000 words. I'm getting worried now because I know that my story is really good and I'm afraid that trying to make it longer will ruin it. I don't want it to be beefed up with obnoxious details and such. I also feel like quality over quantity is the most important thing. A lot of the people on these sites seem so hellbent about it, though, and stress for new writers to do no less than the 80,000 mark.

    Is this true? Will publishers skip my work if it's only 55,000 minimum?
     
  2. Imaginarily
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    Imaginarily Disparu en Mer Contributor

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    I don't know anything about publishing, but perhaps you could pitch it as a novella instead of a novel?
     
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  3. radkovelli
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    radkovelli Member

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    I could do that. Do you think that'd cause it to lack being read, though? Like, does the category 'novella' generally scare readers away? I don't know much about novellas, honestly, just that they are longer than short stories and shorter than novels.
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    From what I understand, YA publishers will accept shorter novels. If you're writing YA, you're probably good at 55,000 words.

    If you're committed to an adult novel, you're better off aiming for about 80,000 words. To get there, you don't have to beef it up with obnoxious details. You can beef it up with seriously delicious beef. Deeper character development, richer settings, more exploration of theme, etc.
     
  5. radkovelli
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    radkovelli Member

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    I did hear that about YA novels. I guess that's where I'm torn. My books focuses on human trafficking, though the main character is 17-years-old so I've yet to decide if it's YA or adult.
     
  6. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It's not that people on this site are obsessed with word count, it's publishers. Or rather, we're concerned about word count because publishers are. :D

    If you can only get 60k without low-quality padding, you either need to pitch it as YA or as a novella. There are exceptions to every rule but for a (presumably) unpublished author, practically nobody is going to take a chance on a 60k adult novel. Once you've established that you can sell there's a little more wiggle room.

    The other option is self-publishing, of course.
     
  7. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wouldn't worry about the word count estimate right now. You're only have way through the first draft. There will be revisions and editing to follow. The word count may rise or it may fall from your anticipated final count.

    I think you're right in trying to make it the best work it can be...and letting its size in words fall where it, well, ends up.
     
  8. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    I set out to write a 60,000 word novel a few months ago. It's now 95,500 words and still about 10,000 from the end. So you never really know how long it's going to be.
     
  9. Dmitriy
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    Dmitriy New Member

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    I received reject from agent near week ago (YA/Fantasy) with a comment "publishers wants minimal 100ths words in youre genre now". I have only 80.
     
  10. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    You might consider pitching it as "New Adult" - that new category for early 20s between YA and adult. That might both meet your needs and give you a category that can get grittier than YA but still deal with youngster protagonists. (It's also in high demand right now and not a ton of people are writing it - so if you have something that fits there, get in on the gold rush before the hordes arrive.)

    I also saw one agent post on Twitter something to the effect of "50,000 ye shall not write, neither shall ye write 120,ooo. Excepting that, do what ye will." 60,000 is shortish but not ridiculously so, and definitely still a novel.
     
  11. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Would probably be YA (the publisher will decide how to market it) but that's still on the short side.
     
  12. Jones
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    Jones My body is ready

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    If it's adult, it's a little light, which is ridiculous because some of the greatest novels of all time are short. Hitchhiker's Guide, Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451, etc..., but these days publishers want something fat that they can justify selling for $30.
     
  13. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Interesting. I have been looking for a publisher that will take something over 100k words, not an easy thing to do. Seen plenty that will take a minimum of 50K depending on genre. So just shop around there are publishing companies that will accept it.
     

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