When Does Size Matter, and When Is Smaller Better? She Won’t Tell You, but I Will. Let’s Talk Novel Word Count!

The purpose of this article is to help novelists get a handle on the question of book length, and the impact that manuscript size can have on getting published and selling books. So the question is, does size matter? When I first took up the “pen” and started writing my first novel (about 14 years ago; never finished that one), one of my first questions was “How long does a novel need to be?” I was curious to the answer primarily because I wanted to have a sense for how much work lay ahead. Now I do understand, and I understood even back then green as a cucumber, that novels come in many lengths from Animal Farm at 29,966 words to War and Peace at 544,406 words. But outliers aside, if you’re a modern novelist aspiring (and perspiring) to become a successful published author, then it makes only good sense to write your first novel(s) to fit a length that today’s readers / agents / publishers find reasonable.

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