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Old 06-23-2013, 10:47 AM   #1
Jerky
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Large book (150k) in 3 parts or 1 part?

Hi,

I'm debating whether or not to release a book I have in its naturally occurring three parts, or to put all my eggs in one basket and just release it in one 'long book' form. This would be around the 150k word mark.

From what I have been reading so far, the eBook world isn't especially receptive to books being split up and as a very general rule tends to favor longer books. I was just looking to gather some thoughts on this...

This would be my first eBook release.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-23-2013, 02:19 PM   #2
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My latest novels are all in the 110k word range, and they are each one part. I have read plenty in the 200k range that are in one part.

What genre are they in? If its Sci-fi or Fantasy, those readers tend to expect longer books. 150k divided in three gives you 50k a book... and they will see that as too short. 150k is not really all that long for sci-fi fantasy. If its Romance, those tend to run shorter so I would suggest breaking it in at least 2 of not three parts.

Other genres have their own expected length. Poke around your genre and see what they are running.
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Old 06-23-2013, 07:46 PM   #3
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150,000 words comes to about 600 pages which would be a bit thick in paper but I don't think it will matter much in an ebook format. 10 pages or 1000 the book will weigh the same and be the same thickness (the thickness & weight of the ereader). And assuming it's mostly text and doesn't have a lot of pictures in it the file shouldn't really be overly large either.
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Old 06-23-2013, 09:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crich70 View Post
150,000 words comes to about 600 pages which would be a bit thick in paper but I don't think it will matter much in an ebook format. 10 pages or 1000 the book will weigh the same and be the same thickness (the thickness & weight of the ereader). And assuming it's mostly text and doesn't have a lot of pictures in it the file shouldn't really be overly large either.
600? No way. I know people quote that 250 word per page number all the day long, but my paperbacks are 110k and are not long in page count. I know this because, well I have them in actual print - trade paperback size - on my shelf - from two different POD houses. In fact my longest is only 326 pages in print. 150k book might be 400 pages, but not 600.

Some other examples:

Ender's Shadow 140,238 words
Larry Niven and Jerry Pournell's The Mote in God's Eye 178,674 words
Ben Bova's Mars 175,598 words
Kevin J. Anderson's Hidden Empire 171,596 words
Brandon Sanderson's Elantris 199,091 words
Robin Hobb's Assassin's Apprentice 164,088 words
Robert R. McCammon's The Wolf's Hour 197,684 words
Dan Simmons's Ilium 220,520 words
David Gemmell's Legend 113,314 words


And tons more. You can Google them, you'll find the same kinds of lists I did. Those are all one volume books. Orson Scott Card lists a Sci-Fi novel length as "75k-150k" (on his writing web site)if you want to "be accepted by traditional publishers." Many others put it in the same range, with Fantasy some times being longer.

Also check the study Smashwords did on length of book verse sales. Longer sci-fi and fantasy sell better then shorter works. Its the same slide show where they talked about pricing ebooks, that has been quoted on this forum many times. That slide show also showed shorter romance (50-80k I think it was) sold better then longer romance.

Again, I know there is this "250 words per page" number, but IME it has nothing to do with actual print. 150k words is good sized single volume sci-fi or Fantasy book.

Still with out knowing the OP's actual genre it is hard to give advice more concrete advice.

So, yeah, hope this post does not come across harsh. Being editing it over and over to try and keep it conversational (which is the intention), but still feels a bit aggressive. My apologies if it does!
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Old 06-23-2013, 10:36 PM   #5
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Not sure about aggressive, but definite - yes. And I agree - in general - that 250 words per page is too low, but number of pages is highly dependent on print density (amount of dialogue and so on), and also on formatting. My first book of 144k words in 5"x8" print at the font size I first wanted (typical of trade paperback size) was coming out around to 460 pages (IIRC). I chose a smaller font (more typical of mass market paperback) to push it down under 400 pages (to reduce costs).

Jerky, if you are considering print, and if any of the three parts falls much under 50k words, then note that there can be issues with spine width if the book gets too thin (room for the title and types of binding available).
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Old 06-23-2013, 10:43 PM   #6
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I'm far more likely to purchase a 150k-word book than I am three 50k-word books. There are fewer files to manage, the entire story is already packed in together, and I just prefer the aesthetic idea of a "bigger" book, even if it makes no discernible difference at all on an ereader (other than how long it takes for me to choose another book).
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:43 PM   #7
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Well I do agree that it's rare that things figure out exactly as math would have them as far as figuring out pages of a manuscript. Still 250 words/page is a good starting guide I think, especially as in an ebook the number of pages is fluid depending on font size and such. Anyway whether 400 or 600 pages it won't matter in an ebook as it is data rather than physical pages.
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Old 06-24-2013, 06:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VydorScope View Post
Again, I know there is this "250 words per page" number, but IME it has nothing to do with actual print.
You are correct. The 250-words-per-page formula is one formula that is used by editors to establish a uniform manuscript page count. It is based on the old, typewriter-created manuscripts where 250 words was all that would fit on a typewritten page WHEN
  1. all margins were 1 inch
  2. the type size was 12 point
  3. the font was Courier
  4. line spacing was double space
IOW, all of the above had to occur in order for a manuscript page to equal 250 words.

The formula is invoked today largely for these reasons:
  1. some editors charge by the manuscript page rather than by the hour and this is a way to precalculate (or come to an agreement on) the page count
  2. as a way to estimate manuscript size solely for editing
  3. as a way to estimate how many hours editing should take assuming some basic parameters are met (e.g., some categories of editing, based on long experience, assume that a particular genre/type of manuscript can be edited at a rate of 6 pages an hour. The manuscript length is determined via the formula and divided by 6 to get an estimate of the hours it will take to edit the manuscript)
  4. the estimated hours and/or pages is used to set a books editing budget
  5. the 250 words formula is also used because too many authors do not follow the standards for manuscript submission and try to "design" their books using Microsoft Word with the result being that some things are 30-point type, some are 7-point, some are 10-point, etc.; spacing is sometimes single, sometimes double, sometimes something else; and margins are whatever -- the formula ignores all these variables and thus gives an accepted measure
In many instances, depending on the final trim size of the print edition, you can determine final print page count by using the formula 375 words = 1 print page (generally for a mass market paperback). That will get you a rough count.

It is worth noting that the 250-word formula is not the only standard formula used by editors to determine a manuscript page count. Many editors who charge by the page use the formula 1500 characters, including spaces, equals 1 manuscript page. This formula is used so that there is a better balance in word size for the count. This is especially true in nonfiction where compound words are common -- for example, in medical texts 10-letter and larger words are very common, but 3-letter and fewer words are less common (than in fiction). Another variation on that formula is 1600 characters, excluding spaces, equals 1 manuscript page.

An author should clarify with his editor how estimates/costs are being calculated before contracting.
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:21 AM   #9
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Interesting. I didn't know about the other formula's.
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Old 06-25-2013, 08:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crich70 View Post
150,000 words comes to about 600 pages which would be a bit thick in paper but I don't think it will matter much in an ebook format. 10 pages or 1000 the book will weigh the same and be the same thickness (the thickness & weight of the ereader). And assuming it's mostly text and doesn't have a lot of pictures in it the file shouldn't really be overly large either.
Thick on paper AND as expensive as hardbacks, at least that is how I have found them.

As crich says, 600 pages sell well as eBooks though.
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Old 06-25-2013, 09:04 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by VydorScope View Post
600? No way. I know people quote that 250 word per page number all the day long, but my paperbacks are 110k and are not long in page count. I know this because, well I have them in actual print - trade paperback size - on my shelf - from two different POD houses. In fact my longest is only 326 pages in print. 150k book might be 400 pages, but not 600.

:
Page size 6x9 : 162,247 words come to a page count of 499 pages at Times font size 12 . Still too expensive from CreateSpace to be a going concern of course.

What CreateSpace estimates as the production cost is about 30% lower than the final minimum list price.
Which POD's do you use if you do not mind me asking VydorScope?
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Old 06-25-2013, 09:18 AM   #12
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Page size 6x9 : 162,247 words come to a page count of 499 pages at Times font size 12 . Still too expensive from CreateSpace to be a going concern of course.

What CreateSpace estimates as the production cost is about 30% lower than the final minimum list price.
Which POD's do you use if you do not mind me asking VydorScope?
Create Space currently, Lulu previously. You can buy my books and see for yourself! Buy lots of copies just to be sure.

My books were at 7.99 and 8.99 on Create Space, I recently raised them because I plan to push them in to extended distribution which is where the big cost jump comes. (rip off, IMO, but thats a dif topic)

FOR EXAMPLE - This book is actually for sale on Amazon.com, and I have a print copy so this is real numbers.

6" x 9" (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
326 pages
Create Space Min List Price - $7.94 USD
Around 110k words.

That is around 337ish words per page.
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:00 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by VydorScope View Post
Create Space currently, Lulu previously. You can buy my books and see for yourself! Buy lots of copies just to be sure.

My books were at 7.99 and 8.99 on Create Space, I recently raised them because I plan to push them in to extended distribution which is where the big cost jump comes. (rip off, IMO, but thats a dif topic)

FOR EXAMPLE - This book is actually for sale on Amazon.com, and I have a print copy so this is real numbers.

6" x 9" (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
326 pages
Create Space Min List Price - $7.94 USD
Around 110k words.

That is around 337ish words per page.
Mine were in single volumes and even by adding only 60p for royalties it pushed them over ₤12 so I split them each in two, ₤7.64 and ₤6.69, still too much for a paperback. I was thinking of the extended distribution also, but having split the book I've doubled the cost of that haven't I. Ah well.
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:08 PM   #14
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Mine were in single volumes and even by adding only 60p for royalties it pushed them over ₤12 so I split them each in two, ₤7.64 and ₤6.69, still too much for a paperback. I was thinking of the extended distribution also, but having split the book I've doubled the cost of that haven't I. Ah well.
That is what around $12 USD? That is about the price I would have to charge WITH extended distribution. Are you paying more cause your not in USA maybe?
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:16 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VydorScope View Post
Create Space currently, Lulu previously. You can buy my books and see for yourself! Buy lots of copies just to be sure.

My books were at 7.99 and 8.99 on Create Space, I recently raised them because I plan to push them in to extended distribution which is where the big cost jump comes. (rip off, IMO, but thats a dif topic)

FOR EXAMPLE - This book is actually for sale on Amazon.com, and I have a print copy so this is real numbers.

6" x 9" (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
326 pages
Create Space Min List Price - $7.94 USD
Around 110k words.

That is around 337ish words per page.
What genre is it VydorScope?
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