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I'm curious how many of you have novels that fell outside the "industry standard" for rookie authors. I don't know what my current WIP will come in at, but one of the novels I trunked was an epic that would have come in somewhere around 200K had I finished it (I may get to it some day).

Also, was any of you told specifically that the word count was too high or low, and now you're selling?
 

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White Seed is 150 K words.  Most of my Calling Crow series come in at about 90 K, and Carl Melcher at about 70 K.  I'm working on a short story collection that will come in at 60 K.  I think I'll start posting on my book pages the length of the book in pages.
 

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One of the factors in that industry standard is the sales expectation of the publisher. If it costs him $50k to get the book on the shelves, internal risk management might demand revenue of $100k.

Let's say the standard is right for the publishers. He may not be able to put out a book that will generate $75k in revenue, but an independent might be delighted.
 

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Most of my novels are either over 120k or under 80k.  I don't worry about word count, I just use as many words as I need to tell the story.
 

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It depends on what you call industry standards. Each genre has its own expectations.


My thriller book Survival Instinct comes in at 100,000 words, the average for a thriller.

My short story complilation book of 12 stories, comes in at 62,500 words. This seems to be above average for what is being published at the moment.

Then there is the question that eReaders enables single short stories to be published that are are unthinkable as published books, but the price charged represents value for money.
 

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MOST LIKELY is ~63K in length.
 

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My WIP is currently 124K. It'll probably end up a little over 120K.
 

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Luminous and Ominous was 82K. I'm expecting my current work to wind up shorter, maybe 50-60k. I see 50K as the minimum for a full-length novel. Less than that is sort of a novella.
 

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Cinderella and the Sheikh is 43000 words, but those li'l Harlequin Romances are generally 50K, so I'm not out of scope for my market.
 

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When I was prepping to publish my ebooks, I wondered about the proper length, and so did some research. I subsequently included my findings in an ebook how-to guide:

"How lengthy does your manuscript have to be to qualify as a book in general? Or, what are the usual publishing editor's or reader's expectations in size/length? I've seen various sources offer up these word total ranges of acceptability:

(Keep in mind when viewing the word counts below that 75,000 words make about 300 pages, 100,000 words, 400)

+ Under 10,000 is a short story
+ 7,500 through 25,000 is a novelette
+ 24,000 should be a minimum for non-fiction works
+ 20,000 through 50,000 is a novella or short non-fiction book; or under 60,000 a novella; some think novellas are the optimum size for ebook novels today
+ 50,000 through 110,00, or 75,000 through 120,000 is a novel; some say 50,000 is the magic number separating a novella from a novel
+ Some think 60,000 through 80,000 is the current optimal ebook size
+ 110,000 plus is an epic (and likely requires being spread out over multiple volumes)
+ 120,000 and higher is excessive for novels from anyone but already well-known authors
+ Non-fiction works are usually shorter than fiction
+ Modern non-fiction is more visual than in the past
+ Modern ebook novels may not need to be as long as old-fashioned hard copy novels "

-- How to make your own Amazon Kindle ebook in just hours CHEAT SHEET
http://www.jmooneyham.com/cheat-sheet-how-to-make-your-own-amazon-kindle-ebook-in-hours.html

As for my own books, I think I have one or two that are just a little short of 80K, and if any go over 120K, it's not by much. For after doing the research I split very large stories into multiple books.
 

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vrabinec said:
I'm curious how many of you have novels that fell outside the "industry standard" for rookie authors. I don't know what my current WIP will come in at, but one of the novels I trunked was an epic that would have come in somewhere around 200K had I finished it (I may get to it some day).

Also, was any of you told specifically that the word count was too high or low, and now you're selling?
My novel, BAD CASE is about 56,000 words. It's a pretty good length.
 

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My second western historical romance is 134,000 words (the first is almost to the length you're asking about at 118,000 words). I never was told they were too long because I never dealt with traditional pubs or agents. I'm pure indie. The first romance is my best seller, has sold over 8,000 copies in 13 months. The second romance has been out since 11/22 and sold just under 5,000 so far.
 

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Courtesan is 70,800 words. It is now selling approx 400 per month and has sold over 1500 copies of it in the last year.

Pelgraff is 72,700 words. It is selling approx 150 per month.

My book of two novellas is approx 40,000 words. It doesn't sell quite so well, but the popularity of the others is dragging it up.

The 'optimal' size for an e-book (or any other book) is the size that tells the story well.
 

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The Blood Gate is 160,000 words. Lit agents delighted in telling me it was outside the industry standard -- and I couldn't get enough hearing about it.

The War God's Men is 125,000 words. If I take out every occurrence of the word "the" it falls within the industry standard -- at least for length.
 

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Changeling is 152 000.

Both length and content were a factor is walking away from trad publishing.  It would have been hacked into on both counts.  I wanted the full story out there.

Trad word count isn't about reader stamina and sales, in that sense.  It raises the unit cost so high, it makes profit less likely.
 

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My soon to be self-published chick lit is 61,000. My current WIP will probably come in around that. It feels like the right length for my genre and it tells the story I want to tell without padding, so I'm pleased with it.
 
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