How long should a Novel be for starters?

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How long should a Novel be for starters?
« on: Jul 03, 2023, 11:43 AM »
a woman writing a novel with winter snow in the background window

Before ebooks, modern fiction writers concerned themselves chiefly with two lengths:long (novels) and short (short stories).

With digital publishing, the terms novella and novelette have taken on a new significance.

Novel (noun): an invented prose narrative of considerable length and a certain complexity that deals imaginatively with human experience through a connected sequence of events involving a group of persons in a specific setting.

How long is “considerable length”?

On average, a printed novel contains about 80,000 words. For some genres, like mystery, the minimum may go as low as 40,000 in the guidelines for some contests, but 60,000 is probably a more marketable length.

In the old days, writers estimated word count by figuring 250 words per page. According to this way of calculating, a 70,000-word book corresponds to about 175 printed pages; one with 125,000 words, might come to 312 pages. Now, word processors keep a running total for the writer.

NOTE: A printed paperback may have 400 words per page, depending upon font size and book dimensions.

Length matters in a book that has a spine. Print publishers rarely accept books that are excessively short or excessively long. Size does not constrain digital publishing.

Some readers love long novels; others don’t. Novelists who publish digitally can help readers find what they are looking for by categorizing their works according to length:

novel: 60,000 words and abovenovella: 20,000 to 50,000 wordsnovelette: 7,500 to 20,000 words