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In the time I’ve been diving deep into the publishing industry one question that comes up frequently in regard to the product among writers writing their first work is: How long should my work be?
And as with mostly everything else in life, unfortunately the answer is: It depends. My suggestion is to write it until the story is done. If you think of more story, there’s always the option to write the sequel or the prequel. Maybe it’s intended to be in a serialized fiction form. Think Harry Potter. The story takes place during the school year. No need to write more than one book a year if we’re covering the months of approximately September to May; that’s a nice timeline to squeeze a plot line into.
It also depends on a handful of factors including the following: it depends on your personal goals, it depends on your target audience, and it depends on the life the story has taken on. From a reader’s perspective, if someone expects to read a novel, although I’ve seen differing definitions as to what word count constitutes a novel, they’re expecting to read something roughly between 50,000 and 100,000 words.
However, let’s for a moment reflect on what the essence of a book actually is, because in the world of digital publishing, a “book” isn’t really a “book” any longer. It doesn’t require physical pages made from trees, binding, glue, or ink to communicate the core of a book. A book is simply a record of a story or group of ideas that have a definitive beginning middle and end. Where you choose to draw those lines and why depends on the author and the needs of the intended audience. Keeping in mind what the needs and motivations of a fiction audience are within the confines of one particular story.
The industry standard suggestion for first novelists seems to be somewhere between 70,000 to 85,000 words. The good thing about industry standards, you can pretty much throw them out of the window these days. Using Kbuuk, you can feel free to make your work as short or as long as you want. Just know that technically it might fall under a different category than “novel” per se depending on word count.
Are you curious about the length of some of your favorite classics? I was too, so I found this great post from 2008 that I have bookmarked which details the word counts for some of my favorite works of literature including Crime and Punishment, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Catcher in the Rye, and Walden.
So now, if you’ve decided that your work is long enough, go on over to Kbuuk and sign up for your account today. We’re waiting for you!