How Long Should Your Book Be?

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How Long Should Your Book Be?

By Alina Chase

Since deciding that life is too short to struggle through books—no matter how much I paid for them–I finish fewer than 50% of the fiction and nonfiction books I began reading with great enthusiasm.  It’s not ADD; it’s boredom. Which I attribute to fluff. And the prevalence of fluff, I believe, is driven directly by traditional publishers’ book length expectations.


Even if we don’t plan (initially, at least) to go the traditional publishing route, we are influenced by the standards. Take a step back and consider if and how streamlining to 30,000 words might create a better reading (and writing) experience than polishing a 70,000-word draft. Ask yourself whether trying to make a cookbook look like what’s already on bookstore shelves is a waste of creative effort. With viable self-publishing formats and marketing alternatives limited only by our imagination, why write ourselves into a creative rut based on guidelines that have nothing to do with quality—or even what readers want?


Check out this eye-opening post about what’s driven some publishing industry standards. And imagine a future when everything written is not a word shorter or longer than it needs to be.


Charlies Diary: Why books are the length they are:

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