Does size really matter?

owlbookLOL! Just in case, you were wondering? Yes, size does matter. Specifically when we are talking about length.

I mean sometimes, a shorty will do depending on your mood, but there are times when full length is what you want to spend the night with.

Get your mind out of the gutter.

I’m talking about book lengths here.

So, this has been bugging me for a while. I hear and see different things on the web as far as guidelines when it comes to how long a book should be. What I’ve gleaned is that there are standards depending on the genre. These standard seem to have come about due to the many years of traditional publishing.

But, indie publishing is exploding and with that comes change. I guess I’ve wondered (as an Indie) if these traditional book lengths still hold water in this ever changing market. Well, here’s what I can tell you based on the searches I’ve done.

  • There’s a “guideline” on how long book lengths should be, but there’s nothing set in stone.
  • The market is changing as evidenced by Amazon’s push towards Short Reads. There’s a short-read option in almost every genre.
  • Ebook readers are growing in sales. This means more books are being read on electronic devices including smart phones. An average person’s reading stamina on an e-reader is not the same compared to a physical book.

I found this table on Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Word_count) and thought I’d share it here for a quick reference:

Classification Word count
Novel over 40,000 words
Novella 17,500 to 40,000 words
Novelette 7,500 to 17,500 words
Short story under 7,500 words

I also found this article by Lee Masterson and I just LOVE the way she sums up the answer to the age old question every author has probably asked at one point or another, “How long should my book be?”

Masterson says, “The simplest answer is: As long as it takes to tell the whole story.”

Check out Lee Masterson’s article here. She goes into more detail about word count guidelines from micro-fiction all the way to epics.

http://www.fictionfactor.com/articles/wordcount.html

Happy creating!

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