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Is 900+ pages to much ?

Hi Writers and Artists, I'm just wondering if 900-915 pages for a book is too much ? It will be covering all things Esoteric and I'm not short of information to fill it.

Kind regards

Avid Writer

Asked by: Jason Walker

  1. Cherry Mosteshar on June 21, 2018

    In a word Jason, Yes, it is far too long.

    On an average of 250 words a page that is about 225,000 words (maybe more depending on the font you use.)

    I would not be as prescriptive re guidelines on length, but 900 pages is far too long no matter what you are writing. I don't know what genre you are writing in but few would demand books of that length. Even if it is totally brilliant and relevant, just consider the costs involved for publisher to produce something that long. They will ask before anything else who would have the time to read something that long.

    Today, publishing is more of a business than ever, and the people who make the decision are the finance dept who will calculate how much it will take to produce and how many people are likely to buy it. They will calculate how much it would cost to copy edit and proof read the book, then to print it. To copy edit a book of that length a company such as the one I work for charges something in the region of £12,000 for copy editing and proof reading. That is in itself a lot of book they need to sell to make the money back.

    With really tight margins these days they would have to be sure it sell to a large market. For a first-time writer, which presumed you are,it would be a huge risk for any publisher.

    They even think about things such as space on bookshelves in bookshops - a commodity that is in high demand and small supply.

    Do get in touch via info@theoxfordeditors.co.uk if you want to discuss in more detail. Always happy to chat.

    Good luck,

    Cherry

  2. Lorraine Swoboda on May 21, 2018

    Beg pardon, Jason - I read Julie's response and missed your name there under the Ask a Question' button.
    Lorraine

  3. Lorraine Swoboda on May 21, 2018

    Julie, a book that long would be impossible to produce as a paperback because it would simply fall apart: the reader would be forever cracking the spine to be able to get to the openings of the lines; and it would be far too costly to produce as a hardback. It would be physically uncomfortable to have to hold such a book for long.

    It doesn't matter how much information you have; you can't just throw it all into one book and expect people to wade through it. You really should edit it into a readable format.

    What is it that you are trying to communicate? Every single thing that you know? That's not the right approach. It would be better to divide your work into themes, and produce each as a separate entity. Even then you'd have to be rigorous with the editorial side.

    As in so many things, in writing less is more!
    Lorraine

  4. Julie Johnson on May 17, 2018

    Adrian,
    Thank you for sharing this guide, very good to know.
    Julie

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  5. Adrian Sroka on May 13, 2018

    Hi, Jason.

    I have no idea of the type of book you are writing, but whether its fiction or non-fiction, 900 pages would be enough for 3 contemporary novels. I seriously doubt an Agent would accept a 900 page manuscript from a would-be author.

    I have listed some word counts for you to consider.


    Genre Word Count Guidelines.

    Literary / Commercial / Women’s: 80,000 to 110,000

    Crime Fiction: 90,000 to 100,000

    Mysteries / Thrillers / Suspense: 70,000 to 90,000 – The variation covers Cozy Mysteries 70-75k.

    Romance: 40,000 to 100,000 but for mainstream romance novels 70K-100K.

    Fantasy: 90,000 to 120,000

    Paranormal: 75,000 to 95,000

    Horror: 80,000 to 100,000

    Science-Fiction: 90,000 to 125,000

    Historical: 80,000 to 120,000

    Young Adult Fiction (YA): 50,000 to 80,000

    Middle Grade: 25,000 to 40,000

    Picture Books: 500 to 700

    Short Stories: 1000 to 8,000

    Novella: 20,000 to 50,000

    Non-Fiction: 70,000 to 110,000

    Flash Fiction: 100 to 500

    The Debut Rule Breakers.

    There are many writers who choose the more difficult path of convincing publishing professionals that the parameters should be stretched beyond the norm and that their manuscript justifies a larger word count. Now regarded as classics, these debut novels had to be edited to reduce them to their published word counts.

    1. Remembrance Rock: 530,030

    2. Gone with the Wind: 418,053

    3. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: 308,931

    4. Memoirs of a Geisha: 186,418

    5. Jane Eyre: 183,858

    6. Catch-22: 174,269

    7. White Teeth: 169,389

    8. Watership Down: 156,154

    9. The Time Traveler’s Wife: 155,717

    10. Sense and Sensibility: 126,194

    Genre Guidelines.

    Literary / Commercial / Women’s: 80,000 to 110,000 – These genres vary greatly in how their stories are told, but not in how many words are used to tell them. There are few exceptions of published debut novels not falling between these strict markers.

    The adherence to this is never more tested than when a writer pushes the limit to the full 110k or beyond.

    The upper marker is still accepted but will almost certainly be cut by an editor should the writer secure a deal. A literary agent will always look more favourable on these genre submissions being around the 100k mark.

    Crime Fiction: 90,000 to 100,000 – The page-turning demands and competitive market enforce a word count which it is advisable to comply to.

    Mysteries / Thrillers / Suspense: 70,000 to 90,000 – The variation covers Cozy Mysteries which can clock in at just 70-75k, to noir and historical which are often published at 80-90k.

    Romance: 40,000 to 100,000 – Since it has many sub-genres this genre can vary greatly depending on the story. Regency Romance, Inspirational Romance, Romantic Suspense and Paranormal Romance all have a minimum of 40k. But for mainstream romance novels the parameters are between 70K and 100K.

    Fantasy: 90,000 to 100,000 – One of the few genres with some leeway in first approach submissions, since many literary agents know publishers who will happily accept 120K. This is not to say one should aim for that higher count. But if a writer queries with 110k it will not be rejected on word count alone.

    Paranormal: 75,000 to 95,000 – Although commonly entwined with other genres, standalone fiction in this genre is best when it is concise. Literary agents and publishers will allow flexibility when the story merits it, but for debut manuscripts it is best to refrain from anything above the industry standard.

    Horror: 80,000 to 100,000 – A writer must be as ruthless with their words, as their antagonist is with the lives within the story. For if a grip on the reader is lost by overly long descriptions and digressions, the very tension which drives this genre fizzles out. Never go beyond the 100k limit without first checking with a freelance editor for revisions.

    Science-Fiction: 90,000 to 125,000 – Encompassing many sub-genres results in a flexibility across the genre that is not often given to the others. Many publishers will accept works in the higher bracket and even beyond. While literary agents are open to submissions far below 90K, they will usually lean more towards those within the requirements because they know the devoted readers of this genre do not mind an epic read.

    Historical: 100,000 to 120,000 – A genre rich with historical events means writers are afforded the luxury of an extended word count. However, writers who edit down to a 100k submission increase their chances of being read beyond the partials.

    Young Adult Fiction (YA): 50,000 to 80,000 – This particular genre has become one of the hardest for writers to grasp when deciding on their own word count. This is due in large part to the variety of sub-genres within it and the trend for a book series with an ever greater word count. But for mainstream YA it is always best to stick to under 80K.

    New Adult Fiction: 60,000 to 85,000 – Coined by the industry for the industry meant the requirements could be defined from the outset. Going above 85K still happens, but those for that do, they are giving a literary agent an easy reason to reject them.

    Middle Grade: 25,000 to 40,000 – Such a tight restraint can be beneficial to a writer because it allows them to demonstrate their ability to edit accordingly. For debut books in this field the average word count tends to be 35K and it has therefore become the marker many industry professionals look for in queries from new writers.

    Picture Books: 500 to 700 – When this is applied it equates to one or two lines per page, for a 30 page book. The one main advantage this genre has over every other is that literary agents and publishers will accept the full text with the initial query. There is no need for partials.

    Novella: 20,000 to 50,000 – A story can be written in any of the other genres, but if its word count falls within these parameters it is usually classified as a novella.

    Non-Fiction: 70,000 to 110,000 – Covering a broad range of topics still sees little variation in the size of published books. Although there is not a requirement for the work to be complete before an initial query, this is the word count literary agents want projected and delivered.

    Short Stories: 1000 to 8,000 – Many contests will advise on their own maximum word count, sometimes as high as 20K. But those requests are extremely rare, as the majority will set a limit of 8K.

    Flash Fiction: 100 to 500 – There is no flexibility to this as the word count determines if it is Flash Fiction.

    I hope that helps.

    Good luck.

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