Targeted word count.

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  • #204376
    doozy
    Participant
    • Topics - 2
    • Replies - 10

    New to this site and stumbling through the forest. Also, new to serious writing. Am finding plenty of mixed interpretations of what is the expected and accepted word count for fiction in different genres.
    Why do some books with an eight year old protagonist have 80K and some agents limit same to 40K? Some newly published novels repeatedly weigh out at 100K and other agents state they can not sell anything over 78K.
    Appreciate some advice,
    doozy

    #255135
    Magic Seeker
    Moderator
    • Topics - 80
    • Replies - 1,212

    Your questions are all answered with “It depends.” It depends on the market, the genre, the publisher, and the agent.

    Middle-grade fiction usually cuts off at around 40k. But a novel with an eight-year-old protagonist intended for an adult market can be much longer.

    Science fiction and fantasy tend to have a higher word count than most other genres, although I’ve seen some hefty suspense and thriller novels. Cozy mysteries tend to be shorter. Therefore the agent’s requirements depend on the markets they aim for.

    I recommend you concentrate on the story, and ignore all the ‘rules’ above. Once you have a strong first draft, THEN you can worry about the market, and if you need to cut words or add a subplot.

    Read, a lot, in the genre you plan to write in. Pick up hints on styles and length averages.

    And always feel free to ask here in the forums if you have questions. :)

    Happy writing,
    Deb Salisbury
    The Mantua-Maker, Quality Historical Sewing Patterns and Books
    www.mantua-maker.com

    The Art of the Hoop: 1860 - 1869, Dress, Sewing, and Clothing Care Advice
    https://www.mantua-maker.com/a---1860s-fashion.html

    Dead Wizard's Loot: Wizard Whitewing #1
    http://www.djsalisburybooks.com/Dead-Wizard-s-Loot.html

    #255138
    doozy
    Participant
    • Topics - 2
    • Replies - 10

    Thanks Deb; My instinct is to keep on writing and re-writing. I’ll fine tune the beast’s word count later. First attempts have churned out three decent drafts which I see no difficulty re-working into six shorter books. With the average re-write polishing that should generate a seventh in the series.
    Wow ! My first post here and I have a much appreciated articulate response.
    -doozy

    #255136
    Ashe Elton Parker
    Moderator
    • Topics - 424
    • Replies - 9,204

    Welcome to FM, Doozy.

    Magic Seeker’s advice is solid, but I’d add a few things else.

    First, in addition to reading as much as you can from the genre you wish to write, I’d also suggest reading from as many genres as you can as widely as possible, both fiction and nonfiction. No one can predict what knowledge they’ll need for a particular story, or how a story from another genre may help inform upon the genre one chooses to focus on.

    Also, in your pursuit of a publishing contract, I’d suggest you also consider submitting your first novel to publishing house editors directly (which, yes, will require more research to find such willing editors) and, if you receive a contract, taking it to an Intellectual Properties attorney who specializes in publishing contracts (you don’t need to retain their services indefinitely). In addition, look around online for information on publishing contracts offered by publishing houses and how to negotiate a more fair contract for yourself (which can be done without an attorney’s aid, but is made easier if you know what to look for). If you do decide to go throguh an agent, do not blindly sign any contracts for their services they present to you–contracts are legal documents, and there is a dearth of lawyers working as publishing agents–and many agents may offer a contract that is unfair to the author, if only because they are not lawyers.

    Simply, research the modern publishing industry as thoroughly as possible before submitting any of your work. Remember, the publishing company has lawyers on their side. The least you can do is ensure you’re equally prepared.

    I hope this wasn’t too overwhelming for you. If you have any questions about anything, including the publishing industry, feel free to post them in the section where they seem to fit best. It may take a while, but someone should eventually respond.

    Congrats on your writing successes and having multiple completed first drafts, and good luck with finding your series a home!

    .

    Ashe Elton Parker
    "There's someone in my head, but it's not me." ~ from the song Brain Damage by Pink Floyd
    ~*~
    Member since 1998.
    ~*~
    Look me up on Wattpad for some of my books!
    #255141
    doozy
    Participant
    • Topics - 2
    • Replies - 10

    Thank you, Ashe………..

    #255139
    Magic Seeker
    Moderator
    • Topics - 80
    • Replies - 1,212

    “three decent drafts which I see no difficulty re-working into six shorter books”

    :P LOL! I did that, too. My ‘trilogy’ has expanded to seven books. 😆

    Happy writing,
    Deb Salisbury
    The Mantua-Maker, Quality Historical Sewing Patterns and Books
    www.mantua-maker.com

    The Art of the Hoop: 1860 - 1869, Dress, Sewing, and Clothing Care Advice
    https://www.mantua-maker.com/a---1860s-fashion.html

    Dead Wizard's Loot: Wizard Whitewing #1
    http://www.djsalisburybooks.com/Dead-Wizard-s-Loot.html

    #255143
    Magic Seeker
    Moderator
    • Topics - 80
    • Replies - 1,212

    Great advice from Ashe!

    If you’re interested monitoring the indie-publishing world, you’ll want to read the blog called Passive Voice. He does lean strongly on Amazon and against trad pub, but he puts out excerpts from other blogs with fascinating information.
    http://www.thepassivevoice.com

    Happy writing,
    Deb Salisbury
    The Mantua-Maker, Quality Historical Sewing Patterns and Books
    www.mantua-maker.com

    The Art of the Hoop: 1860 - 1869, Dress, Sewing, and Clothing Care Advice
    https://www.mantua-maker.com/a---1860s-fashion.html

    Dead Wizard's Loot: Wizard Whitewing #1
    http://www.djsalisburybooks.com/Dead-Wizard-s-Loot.html

    #255146
    doozy
    Participant
    • Topics - 2
    • Replies - 10

    Magic Seeker; How did that avenue work out for your goals? Care to share specifics? I have since focused my energy to another project with initial shorter word ct. design. Finding those (so far two) somewhat demanding more structured discipline. Learning, learning, learning. Just keep writing and mailing queries.
    Thanks,
    -doozy

    #255149
    Magic Seeker
    Moderator
    • Topics - 80
    • Replies - 1,212

    I found queries and agents a complete waste of time. Even if they bothered to write back, it was to tell me they weren’t interested.

    I’m entirely* indie published. Eleven titles at this point, distributed through Createspace and Amazon’s Kindle.

    I get a few sales of my nonfiction, say 10 to 20, every month. It admittedly is a niche market. Um, a micro-market. ;)

    My stand alone novel rarely sells. I’ve tried changing the title and cover, but it hasn’t helped.

    The series was imitating crickets until I published the fifth installment. That month was great – for me, anyway – but this month is slower. Not as slow as before, but slower. Definitely not quit-your-day-job sales.

    But I don’t advertise or actively promote, although I do have a devoted website for my fiction. My plan is to finish the whole series before trying to market, which I HATE. And I know a lot of readers won’t touch a series until it’s finished, or at least has a few novels in it.

    * I did publish my first nonfiction title through a small press, but sales and income were abysmal. I reclaimed my rights, created a second edition, and indie published it. I’ve made far more money on that book than in the five years they “marketed” it.

    Happy writing,
    Deb Salisbury
    The Mantua-Maker, Quality Historical Sewing Patterns and Books
    www.mantua-maker.com

    The Art of the Hoop: 1860 - 1869, Dress, Sewing, and Clothing Care Advice
    https://www.mantua-maker.com/a---1860s-fashion.html

    Dead Wizard's Loot: Wizard Whitewing #1
    http://www.djsalisburybooks.com/Dead-Wizard-s-Loot.html

    #255137
    Magic Seeker
    Moderator
    • Topics - 80
    • Replies - 1,212

    Hey, Doozy!

    Today I read an article on the subject:

    What Word Count Is Best for Genre Fiction?
    http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2017/06/16/what-word-count-is-best-for-genre-fiction/

    I hope it helps! :)

    Happy writing,
    Deb Salisbury
    The Mantua-Maker, Quality Historical Sewing Patterns and Books
    www.mantua-maker.com

    The Art of the Hoop: 1860 - 1869, Dress, Sewing, and Clothing Care Advice
    https://www.mantua-maker.com/a---1860s-fashion.html

    Dead Wizard's Loot: Wizard Whitewing #1
    http://www.djsalisburybooks.com/Dead-Wizard-s-Loot.html

    #255194
    doozy
    Participant
    • Topics - 2
    • Replies - 10

    Magic Seeker; Powerful article supporting what I’ve been reading more and more. Which gels another question about finding credible editor. Do not think that ? belongs in this zone.
    Much thanks. And now have another promising site.
    -doozy

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