Are you self-publishing your book this year? How long should it be? It’s best to meet certain expectations, both for your readers, and in order to make a profit. Find out what the best length is for your genre.
How Long Should Your Manuscript Be?
When you are sending your manuscript to agents for publication in the traditional manner, then the length of the manuscript is important. Although, initially, you may only be sending some sample chapters, you will need to submit your book in full at some point. Besides demonstrating that you have the skills to construct a tightly written narrative, agents know that publishers don’t like to publish books that are outside the normal limits of a genre. Much of this is due to the expectations of readers, and what they’ve become used to in a romance or sci-fi or literary novel. Another thing to consider is the attention span of readers – for example, a thriller might not be so thrilling if it’s 150,000 words long. You don’t want to put an agent publisher off by writing something too long and overblown. If you are self-publishing using print on demand, then length has a more significant impact on the price and you may not want to make your book too expensive to produce, and reduce your potential royalties.
With CompletelyNovel the minimum length is 18 pages. If you test this out on our print cost calculator, currently this costs around £1.25 + P&P for a Demy sized book (the size most commonly used for fiction) – but you can go up to 48 pages for the same price. At 49 pages it jumps to £1.96 + P&P. You can write and publish a book up to around 1000 pages – but for a Demy sized book this will cost £11.77 per book + P&P with CompletelyNovel.*
You need to make a profit on your book to make it worthwhile. Selling directly via CompletelyNovel you get 100% royalties, but if you are selling via Amazon or other retailers they will take 30% off. If your book is £11.77 to produce, you’ll have to price it higher to get royalties after the 30% is taken off. And a paperback priced around £15 is twice the £6.99-£7.99 price point that most books seem to retail at.
For more information, read our article ‘How to Price Your Print Book’
Calculate your print costs here.
*Prices as of January 2017. Prices for a Crown sized book, the larger size often used for non-fiction are slightly more expensive.
Guidelines for Different GenresAs with everything, there are always exceptions to the rules. If your book is way over the guidelines below, take another look at your manuscript. Have you been sufficiently ruthless with your editing? Are there any parts that you could cut out – either cutting down on non- essential words, or re-evaluating whole pages. Does that descriptive passage or long sections of dialogue add anything to the book as a whole, moving the plot forward or revealing more about your characters?
If your book is significantly shorter than the guidelines, is it actually a novella or a long short story rather than a novel? Or do you need to do more work and flesh it out a little more? Each story does have its natural length, and if you are self-publishing then you don’t need to justify anything to anyone except for yourself – and your future readers.
Novellas fall between 10,000 and 40,000 words.
Adult fiction (commercial and literary)
Usually between 80,000-100,000 words. If you aim for around 90,000 words you should be fine.
Science and fantasy fiction
Science fiction and fantasy readers like more of an ‘epic’ tale – so here the maximum is higher. 110,000 counts as ‘epic’, but books usually fall between the 90,000 to 120,000 range, with 150,000 as a maximum.
Similarly, historical fiction readers also like ‘epic’ tales with historical details. You don’t want to bore them with too much historical information, but you still need to write a convincing story which conjures up the feel of the era. Aim for the 100,000-word mark.
Romance novels can be very varied, with an array of different sub-genres. They can be from 50,00-100,000 words, depending on if it’s a Mills and Boon style, a longer Chick Lit, or an even longer historical romance. Look at books that are similar to yours to see which sub-genre yours fits into, and how long it should be. Is it a quick pool read, or an epic love story? If you aim around the middle, 80,000 should be fine, but it’s up to you.
Around 70,000-90,000 words is a good guideline. Keep the narrative taut and full of suspense without excessive description, making the book long enough to satisfy the reader without making if feel like a slog.
It’s harder to say what the ‘expected’ word count is for YA fiction. Around 50,000-80,000 words is normal, with a little flexibility due to the sub-genres found in YA, for example fantasy and sci-fi books could be longer.
Unfortunately it’s not really possible to advise on the ideal length for non-fiction titles as the range is too varied. We can only advise to read the kind of books you’d like to write, especially those which have been published recently. This will give you an idea of the length that publishers and readers expect at the moment.
The world of children’s publishing is varied, depending on the type of book and the age range of the intended reader.
We hope that’s useful information, and good luck with your book in 2017.
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In the early moments of the interview, Le Batard asked Manfred whether he knew prior to the recent sale to the group fronted by Bruce Sherman and Jeter whether the new owners planned to slash payroll. After some prodding (and Le Batard’s saying that the commissioner was lying), Manfred answered, We do not get involved in operating-level decisions in chicago white sox jersers the ownership approval process.
We did not have chicago cubs jersers player-specific cleveland indians jersers plans from the Miami Marlins or any other team that has been in the ownership process. Those are decisions that the individual owners make, and they do not have to be cleared by us or approved by us. … Those are local decisions that really are not part of the approval process. Those are decisions that the individual owners make, and they do not have to be cleared with us or approved chicago white sox jersers by us.
Manfred went on to say that he didn’t receive a payroll plan from the Marlins until two days prior to his interview miami marlins jersers with Le Batard. cleveland indians jersers More: We don’t get into, are you going to trade ‘Player X’ or ‘Player Y’ at a particular point in time, nor do we ask them to make st. louis cardinals jersers a commitment to people before they even got in and made an evaluation of their talent level, their ability to win with the people that they have. That’s just not how the ownership process works.
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But some of that may not be true
Here’s a key excerpt from a must-read Barry Jackson piece in the Miami Herald:
A source directly involved in the Marlins sales process, after hearing the Le Batard interview, said, miami marlins jersers via text: Commissioner said was not aware of [Jeter] plan to slash payroll. Absolutely not true. They request and receive the operating plan from all bidders.
Project Wolverine [the name for Jeter’s plan] called on his group to reduce payroll to $85 million. This was vetted and approved by MLB prior to approval by MLB. Every [Jeter] investor and non investor has the Wolverine financial plan of slashing payroll to $85 million. Widely circulated.
First off, Project Wolverine is ludicrously self-important and sinister-sounding, as budget strategies go. That’s the name of a secret NSA laboratory deep under the Caballo Mountains in New Mexico, not a financial schematic. Do better, Jeets. Anyhow, there’s enough careful phrasing in Manfred’s comments (operating-level decisions, ‘Player X’ or ‘Player Y’) to give him some plausible deniability. However, the idea that he didn’t know about plans to engage in yet another demo job by Marlins owners strains credulity.
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