Saturday, June 1, 2013
This week, Indie Author Series is asking us to write about book length. It's actually a really good time for this particular topic because I've noticed that lately there's a lot of people writing short stories or novellas - and not calling them that. Personally, if I purchased a book with the impression that it's a full length novel, only to discover it's not, I wouldn't be happy.
On paperback books it's easy enough to discover the page count, but on eBooks, it's not always listed. I think authors will find this reflected in reviews as well simply because on a few of my stories that are actually listed as a short story, I've had reviewers give me lower ratings based on the shortness of the story.
I think it's important that as authors we're respectful enough of our readers to be honest about what our books really are. If it's a short story or novella, call it that.
So, what lengths mean what? It's all about word count more than page number length. I went to several different websites to see what the general consensus it. Of course it varies from place to place, but here are approximate values:
Short story: Up to 20,000 words in some cases, though 15,000 words seems to be the more accepted maximum, and in many cases only up to 7,500 words is considered a short story.
Novella: Between 10,000 and 50,000 words. If you're less that 50,000 words, you should absolutely be calling it a novella, because in written pages that translates to about a 200 page book. That's about the minimum page number that you want to be calling a book a novel.
Novel: 50,000-300,000 words. 300,000 words??? That's 1200 pages! You're getting into War and Peace length there, and probably should call it epic. Or better yet, divide it into a trilogy. The average novel is between 75,000 and 100,000 words, which puts your book between 300 and 400 pages. (The average word count per page is 250.)
Want more opinions on book length? Hop on over to the other members of the Indie Author Series to see what others have to say.