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Old 08-13-2012, 10:39 AM   #1
westy
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Average fiction ebook length?

Hi guys,
New here - and happy to become part of this forum.

I would like your guidance please - I have tried searching for this info, but cannot find anything regarding a suggested ebook length for a work of fiction.

As we can't use page numbering, I need to know the average number of words that is today considered acceptable to the reader if the book is priced at say, $2.99

I have read that customers can feel 'disappointed' if it is too short, and, conversely,too long can also be a problem!

The only info I found is to limit it to 50MB Not sure how many words hits a 50MB limit!

Many thanks

Westy
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Old 08-13-2012, 01:14 PM   #2
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When I was researching this question for regularly published books, I was told that 100,000 words was what most publishers want for a novel. Most of my ebooks are over 100,000 words. I have gotten complaints about those books I've published that are under 50,000 words.
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Old 08-13-2012, 01:20 PM   #3
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75k-150k seems to be roughly "novel" length from what I have gathered.

Price appears to be completely independent of length, so there are some that intentionally price per word.
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Old 08-13-2012, 01:25 PM   #4
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Wikipedia states that anything over 40k is "novel" length.

I actually prefer 40-80k novels, for both reading and writing. Nothing makes my heart sink more than a 100+k novel, because that usually means a time commitment I don't have. So it's really a subjective, "different strokes for different folks" kind of thing.
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Old 08-13-2012, 01:29 PM   #5
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When I was researching this question for regularly published books, I was told that 100,000 words was what most publishers want for a novel. Most of my ebooks are over 100,000 words. I have gotten complaints about those books I've published that are under 50,000 words.
Thanks Morriss003, that's the kind of information I needed to know. I was curious to the public reaction to shorter novels - as they are not physically picking up a printed book in a bookstore and can assess the length of it before they part with cash!
I am given to writing nearer the 100,000 mark, so that is fine by me. Just new to the self publishing ebook world and needed the clarification.

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Old 08-13-2012, 01:33 PM   #6
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75k-150k seems to be roughly "novel" length from what I have gathered.

Price appears to be completely independent of length, so there are some that intentionally price per word.
Hi Vydorscope, thanks for your input. Although you say price in independant of length, I would think that is more the case for well known authors. Although, I do feel quality is more important than hitting 150k just to 'give value' or warrant a $9.99 ebook price tag.
As for pricing per word - how about a dollar a word!!
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Old 08-13-2012, 01:36 PM   #7
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Wikipedia states that anything over 40k is "novel" length.

I actually prefer 40-80k novels, for both reading and writing. Nothing makes my heart sink more than a 100+k novel, because that usually means a time commitment I don't have. So it's really a subjective, "different strokes for different folks" kind of thing.
anamardoll - yes, I think you have hit the target - depends on the market. I have noticed 'chick-lit' is generally shorter, maybe because of the time commitment you mention - ideal to settle down with a coffee have and it polished off in maybe 2 - 3 sittings.

Then there's the folks who like to pass a whole week on a single book.

My target market is young adults - so I'm thinking it may be the 80k - 100k mark. Unless anyone else knows better!
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Old 08-13-2012, 01:38 PM   #8
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IME, YA tends to be a little shorter, a little snappier, a little more to the point. It's one reason why I like YA.

But if it's a YA EPIC FANTASY, then it may be longer.

My advice: write the story, worry about word count after. If you've got a clear beginning and ending, with a fun ride from one to the other, people won't care too much if you're a little short or a little over.
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Old 08-13-2012, 01:44 PM   #9
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As for pricing per word - how about a dollar a word!!
Oh, you want the Lounge, then. Down the hall, cross the T, dot the I, and mind the pandas.
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Old 08-13-2012, 01:52 PM   #10
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IME, YA tends to be a little shorter, a little snappier, a little more to the point. It's one reason why I like YA.

But if it's a YA EPIC FANTASY, then it may be longer.

My advice: write the story, worry about word count after. If you've got a clear beginning and ending, with a fun ride from one to the other, people won't care too much if you're a little short or a little over.
Thanks! Just took a look at your link and see that you write for young adult audience also - but my genre/style is humor.
Like you graphics too - very artistic.

Going back to my original post - as I am given to writing at length, I now know roughly were to limit myself for ebooks... which was the 50MB question.

Thanks for your valued input, really appreciate it.
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Old 08-13-2012, 01:53 PM   #11
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Oh, you want the Lounge, then. Down the hall, cross the T, dot the I, and mind the pandas.
Haha - thanks for the directions!
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Old 08-13-2012, 02:09 PM   #12
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Hi Vydorscope, thanks for your input. Although you say price in independant of length, I would think that is more the case for well known authors. Although, I do feel quality is more important than hitting 150k just to 'give value' or warrant a $9.99 ebook price tag.
As for pricing per word - how about a dollar a word!!
Go over to Amazon and look at huge variety of books listed at $2.99. It seems to be that the price is part of the marketing strategy, and not related to length. I have seen 250k and 50k word books priced the same.

If your market is YA Romance, (an alien market to me) then what you should do is go look at the top 100 or 200 successful romance books and see what model the followed. Do they tend to be shorter? Longer? Cheap? Expensive? Etc? That would is what I would do at least.

I write adult Fantasy/Sci Fi, and i know in my market 100k words+ is the target length. Just depends on your market
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Old 08-13-2012, 04:41 PM   #13
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Probably depends on genre expectations, but mine usually end up somewhere between 20-30k which is the traditional average for what I write. Not that I aim for that amount though, I never know how long they will be until they're "finished". The only time anyone's moaned about length was with a free short story, but their complaint was more about it having adverts for my other stuff at the end.
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Old 08-13-2012, 04:43 PM   #14
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Hi guys,
New here - and happy to become part of this forum.
Welcome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by westy View Post
I would like your guidance please - I have tried searching for this info, but cannot find anything regarding a suggested ebook length for a work of fiction.
About as long as a piece of rope.

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As we can't use page numbering, I need to know the average number of words that is today considered acceptable to the reader if the book is priced at say, $2.99
That's a bit pricey for an ebook, so I'd be expecting a lot of words for my money.

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The only info I found is to limit it to 50MB Not sure how many words hits a 50MB limit!
Just checked. A 140,000 word file in rtf format is about 2.5 MB. So your 50 MB limit would be 2,800,000 words. You'd get even more if you wrote it in odt format, probably less in Word format.

Seriously, if you check the guidelines from, say, Mills & Boone, they're looking at ca 50,000 words (if I remember correctly). My first book was 200,000, and about 1/3 too long (I'm working on it now). My second is about 140,000, and I think about right. That's about what I expect for a decent novel.

A novel nowadays usually has about 350-400 words per page, irrespective of whether it's a paperback or hardcover, at least here in Sweden, so multiply that by the number of pages in a good novel.
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Old 08-13-2012, 04:47 PM   #15
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@Mr Ploppy, I would have thought 20-30k was absolutely the short end of the novel spectrum, or maybe the long end of the novella spectrum. Blimey, a short story can be 8000 words!
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