In my previous post, we looked at the length of the “average” chapter. But what about the “average” book?
If you’re a first-time novelist hoping to submit to a big publisher, you may be advised to cut your book to 70-80,000 words. Why, when the average bestseller is close to twice as long?
Because the longer your book is, the more expensive it is to produce, and publishers want to minimise how much risk they take with debut authors. Similarly, a reader may not be willing to commit to a great big doorstop of a book from an unknown author. (Consider how thick the later books in the Harry Potter series were compared to the first).
If you’re an indie novelist who is going to publish your work solely electronically, you may not need to worry about length constraints. However, if you’re interested in offering a print edition, beware: the extra costs involved in printing a lengthy novel can make print publication both unaffordable for readers and unprofitable for writers.
Keeping these points in mind, we might hope to find some debut bestselling novelists to model our own debut or indie works after. But such books are few and far between.Continue reading “The ‘Instant’ Bestseller”