1. blueshogun96

    blueshogun96 Member

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    How long is "too long"?

    Discussion in 'By Writing Form' started by blueshogun96, Jan 13, 2017.

    I am asking this because i have read a few posts as well as a few other's articles recommending that your book not to be too great in length. I was originally writing a short story, but it evolved into a novella at this point, and is soon going to be getting close to that of a novel. The story is currently on its 50th page and is a little over 33k words, and yet... I feel like I am just getting started writing this as my mind is constantly flooded with new concepts, insights after doing a bit of research, and ways to give the story a bit more immersion as well as detail.

    Is it really that much harder to get a novella or novel published? Even as a self publisher? I'm still very new to publishing and if necessary I'll stick with Amazon or iBooks or something along those lines. So far I've read one suggestion such as writing your book in parts. Right now, I already have content that I would likely add to a sequel of this story. Am I getting a bit ahead of myself? Or should I just wait until the story is completed beyond the rough draft?

    Lastly, I understand that a story has to be captivating in order for a longer story to be successful. I mean really, look at Lord of the Ring, the most popular book in the US aside from the Bible. Big shoes to fill, but someone has to at least try, right? Somebody out there has to write the next great novel that eventually becomes a movie... am I correct?

    Overall, I'm not worried about becoming the next famous writer that everyone at Starbucks is blogging about, nor am I too worried about generating $10k or more within the first month either, but I do want people to read it and share their reviews on it, positive or negative.

    Lastly, forgive me if this has already been asked a million and one times. I haven't seen any threads on it yet. Any feedback is welcome, be it personal opinion, insight or statistical evidence.

    Many Thanks,

    Shogun
     
  2. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    If you're self-publishing, it's 100% easy to publish a book of any length. The issue will be getting sales for it. And as long as you're willing to not overprice the book and as long as every word is valuable and contributes to the reading experience without fluff or frustration for the reader, the length shouldn't be a serious issue. It will be if you want a print version, but most self-publishers don't sell many of those anyway.

    If you're looking for a publisher, it's generally a good idea to work within their preferred lengths, which means both not too long and not too short. It's not harder to sell a novel than a novella; but it's harder to sell a 200K novel than a 100K novel.
     
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  3. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Get off my Balzac... Staff Contributor

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    Yes, wait until you've completed a rough draft. Sequels by definition cannot exist until there is a progenitor. Preferably three or four polished drafts of the progenitor.
     
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  4. NigeTheHat

    NigeTheHat Contributor Contributor

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    If you're looking to get trad-published, 'too long' is over the publisher's desired word count. If you're not, 'too long' is when it becomes boring.
     
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  5. blueshogun96

    blueshogun96 Member

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    Well, that certainly does make sense. A 200k novel better be darn good for it to sell. At this moment, I don't think I'm going to be writing one that long. Not in the near future, and definitely unlikely for this story. As for pricing, that's another story altogether (no pun intended). No idea what to charge as of yet, but I'll wait until it's done before going there.

    Another logical point, but I'll still jot down a few ideas here and there in case I do decide on a sequel.

    Right, dragging on the story just doesn't work.

    Btw, I like this hat even more... ;)

    Shogun
     
  6. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributor Contributor

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    If we're talking novellas, yes. Definitely... from what I've read on magazine submission guidelines pages, anyway.

    Novellas and novelettes are usually requested, by the publishers, from writers with track records the publisher is familiar with.

    Novels... well, probably, but I only have the same information as every other unpublished author.
    That's a whole other ballgame. Unless you're self-publishing through an organization/company with specific demands, you can do whatever you want. But there are no quality watchdogs, so success will be all over the map as far as sales are concerned.
     
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  7. blueshogun96

    blueshogun96 Member

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    Then do you reckon that maybe the electronic publishing route would be more ideal? This will be my first published bit of work here, so I have no idea what to expect. Publishing is all too new to me right now. Lately, I just figured I should work on getting the story done first.

    Shogun.
     
  8. NigeTheHat

    NigeTheHat Contributor Contributor

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    Nobody's perfect.

    A lot of it will depend what your goals are. Self-publishing is guaranteed publication, but it is work. If you're going to put a quality product out, you're likely to need to pay an editor, a cover designer etc, and no-one's going to sell the book for you so you'll have to do the marketing as well. Trade publishing means you get people to do all that for you, and you get to say that someone liked your stuff enough to publish it - that matters to some people. The flip side of that is that someone does need to like it enough, and there's a lot of competition.

    So, short version:

    Good idea. Do that. When you're a bit closer to finishing it you can start thinking about whether you want to self-publish or if you want to try and find yourself an agent. For now, just concentrate on writing something great.
     
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  9. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributor Contributor

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    Despite what I said, I'd suggest you do the rounds anyway. A lot of the magazines I looked at stated outright that they don't take unsolicited novellas/novelettes, but that doesn't mean there aren't any markets for you to approach.

    Even if you don't sell it, you might get valuable feedback and that's worth its weight in gold.

    Once you've exhausted all other possibilities, then go the epub route.
     
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  10. xanadu

    xanadu Contributor Contributor

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    Also, don't assume that your book will be too long before you've finished. And when I say "finished," I mean totally, 100% finished. Especially if you haven't written many novels, it's really easy to overwrite and include a ton of stuff that just isn't needed. I don't just mean plot points--excessive dialog, rambling descriptions, set-ups that never pay off, inane actions that don't contribute to anything...all are deserving of landing on the cutting room floor. You could potentially lop of thousands if not tens of thousands of words before the editing is done.

    So I'd say don't worry about length at all until you at least get a first draft done. If it's too long, edit it down.

    IMO, of course.
     
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  11. G. Anderson

    G. Anderson Active Member

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    As a reader, I read everything from 10k short stories to epic sagas where I've lost word count. It has never been about the length for me though I will say that it's easier for me to find a story is too long than too short. I can certainly be annoyed that a great book ended too soon but that's usually a good thing, a kind of thrilling irritation :)

    I don't mind long books, but I do mind it when I feel that half of the book has added nothing to the story. I had this experience with Moby Dick and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. There were multiple chapters in those books which I could have taken out and not have the story or feel changed at all.

    However, every reader is (as every writer) different, and I think the thing is just to ask yourself whether every thing you are putting in the story is adding something new to it. If it is, then it's not too long.
     
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  12. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    @blueshogun96 , I am at both ends of the length spectrum. As you know, since you have been on my success story thread, Come Follow Me is just 9,000 words, draft at 25 pages, typeset at 47 pages in 5x8" format: too long for a magazine, too short for a traditional publisher except as part of an anthology. My other work is 240K words, more than twice what most trad publishers will accept from a first time author. This typeset to 550 pages (about an inch thick), and will be out this month when the cover is done. I went through CreateSpace (Amazon) for both. I agree with @NigeTheHat, you need to put in a lot of effort before you hit the publish button to make sure the graphics and text are perfect. Some typos aren't too bad, but some, especially if they are consistently wrong or misspelled, can be cause for just shutting down the reader. Especially if they occur on the first page, where the reader will see them on the "Look Inside" option before buying. The good thing is that you can correct them without cost, because they are print on demand, no stockpile of already printed typos. I have corrected Come Follow Me twice, and will be doing a third due to some things a reader pointed out today. It only takes 24 hours to upload a corrected file, but don't ask someone who is paying for your work, to be a beta reader/copy editor also.


    And the marketing is a major headache... the books do not sell themselves, you have to do that. And there is overhead... if you are going to have a book signing, for example, you can buy the books at production cost, but if you buy 50 or 100 that can still be a significant expense, several hundred to perhaps as much as a thousand bucks, especially if you don't sell as many as you expected.
     
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  13. blueshogun96

    blueshogun96 Member

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    Hello everyone, my apologies. I have not been present in a few weeks due to a handful of recent woes outside of the writing world. It's been quite chaotic and needless to say, draining...

    Thank you all for your advice. I am greatly appreciative it. So until it is complete, I will discontinue worrying about whether the length of the story will be an issue. Since this is my first novel[ette], I will simply deal with whatever hurdles may come in my direction. If I have to try Amazon KDP, so be it because having a published story is better than never seeing anything through to completion.

    So in the mean time, I will continue my work on Abroad. Thanks again.

    Shogun
     
  14. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    Hope all is getting better on the personal front. I went the CreateSpace route, because I feel it is easier to go from a paperback layout to Kindle layout, and I found the tech support from them fantastic. I don't know how well it works in going the other direction, because I didn't do it that way. I the case of createSpace, they generate a Kindle formatted file from your uploaded paperback file. However, I edit that file to remove leading pages not needed in Kindle: the ISBN/copyright page, table of contents, internal cover, and blank spacer pages. Otherwise, you have to page through all that stuff to get to the text, and takes up space on the 'look inside" feature.

    I still don't have a direct dial telephone number for KDP, I go through CreatSpace and get transferred to KDP. And yes, there is no pleasure like holding your book in your hands for the first time, selling it to someone or giving it away. At 68, I have done practically everything several times over, so the opportunity to do something new, never been done before, is so exhilarating.
     
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