Many new self-published authors ask my opinion on page count. They look at books in their genre, notice that many are similar in length, and try to figure out how many pages to write to make their book fit the mold. While it is great to look at books in your genre to determine what is considered the norm, there is another way to approach this issue of length.
First off, don’t think about page numbers; think about word counts. Page numbers are influenced by the size of the font and page as well as page breaks and illustrations. Therefore, this is not always an accurate way to compare books. Instead, publishers prefer to discuss books in terms of word count. (There is a Microsoft Word feature that easily tells you how many words are in your manuscript.)
Most publishers prefer first time novelist to have a manuscript between 50,000 and 100,000 words. (Yes, that is a wide range.) However, you don’t need to obsess over word counts. If your novel is 40,000 words and is already great, don’t (I repeat DON’T) keep adding information just to reach 50,000. Readers hate fluff, and you can ruin a great book by trying too hard to make it long enough.
Also note that there is no one size fits all when it comes to publishing. Some stories can be told in less than 50,000 words. Others may need more 100,000 to convey the story. Be knowledgeable of industry norms, but do not worry about trying to fit in. Often, the best books are the ones that stand out from the rest.
|ABOUT WENDY STETINA: Wendy Stetina is a sales and marketing professional with over 30 years experience in the printing and publishing industry. Wendy works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; and together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction, or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Wendy Stetina can put you on the right path.|