Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Size! Does it matter?



There has been a recent backsliding in book sizes over the last few years. Yes you still have your epic novels and series that run 10+ books. But the average size of a new release from an indie author these days is leaning more toward the 60k word range than its previous 80k word average.

Of course smaller books are not a new thing. In fact, the whopping 80-100k average we had become accustomed to is actually a newer trend. We're sort of on a backslide to the old norm now. 

Animal Farm 29,966 words
Slaughterhouse-Five 47,192 words
Lord of the Flies 62,481 words
Brave New World 64,531 words
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer 70,570 words


With literally thousands of books being published each day (That’s right… day!), a lot of the current
reduction in word count has to do with the speed in which the market is moving. Longer books take longer to edit, revise, and prepare for publishing, and these days you have to be quick on your feet to compete in the ever expanding ebook market.

Readers today have a slush pile of free and deeply discounted anthology packs filling up their ereaders. Books they’ll actually read fall into one of two categories: Authors they absolutely love and will read no matter what, and books that have taken their time on the wait list and now look appealing.  For your book to have a chance, you not only have to get into the market quick, but you have to either capture the reader’s love immediately, or have a freebie that will need to wait for its eventual place in line. That necessitates a fast entry into the market with a quick succession of follow ups, because when you do finally get your place in that reader’s TBR list, if they love you, you’ll need to have a backlog of goodies for them to scoop up too or you might lose your time in the spotlight.

But, don’t cut your novel down too short in an effort to get that coveted spot in the marketplace. Readers are not as happy with novellas as you might think.  While quickies work for erotica, many readers still want plenty of meat to a story and slimming down to make a quick release or releasing as a serial novel could backfire on you. 


Let’s hear from you. What size/word count makes the perfect length for you? Do you like serials? Comment below. 

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