Self-Publishing: Does Size Really Matter?
One of the pluses of e-pubbing is that the writer is no longer bound by the capricious guillotine of the world of traditional publishing. But the flip side is that, if you want to be taken seriously, you have to have a professional presentation and you have to know where your story belongs.
Here is a chart I found on Pinterest that might help.
One of the questions I am commonly asked is “What is the difference between a Novella and a Novel?” It’s not just word count but that is a major factor.
The old adage “Size doesn’t matter” doesn’t ring true in writing. Most writers start with short stories. As you see on the graphic, it says short stories are anything 1,000 to 7,500. Yet some shorter fiction can be awesome. It’s good to get your shorts into e-zines, contests, but a writer can put several shorts in a volume and publish an e-book. I like the idea of taking a group of characters in the first short story and then doing a story on each one. Or using a particular idea or theme throughout the entire set of stories.
The next level is Novelette. Ranging from 7,500 to 20,000 words, I think this would be great for two or more stories together. Of course you could e-pub just one but make sure you let buyers know what they are given. Folks don’t like to feel cheated when they expect one thing and get another.
A Novella. I happen to like this category. Ranging from 20,000 to 50,000 words, it qualifies as a single-title book. For many it is a way of working their way up to a full size novel. And some stories don’t need to run on to 75,000 words. In the past with traditional publishing, it was hard to get these stories out. Now it is a whole new world of opportunity.
“Someday I’m going to write a novel…how hard can it be?” Arrrggghhhh! Sure, I can squeeze out 50,000 to 110,000 words this weekend. Writing a full novel is an experience in self-flagellation. Traditional publishers like to have a large enough word count so that, when they edit, there is enough to work with when they are finished. An editor’s job is to tighten up the story. Please remember, it is your story. When looking considering the edits, be true to your vision. Don’t be afraid to take a stand on passages you feel are necessary. Just be prepared to defend your position.
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Or you can go for an epic (or sequels) and pound out 110,000 words. That is 110,000 after editing. I don’t know about you but that is a whooooole lot of words to come out of my addled lil brain. I’ll leave epics to the big names.
No matter what size story you have, the objective is to publish the most polished, most professional story you can. Self-publishing has a black eye from writers rushing to put just any and all words up as a novel, novelette, novella, or short story. Let’s all work to remove that black eye with quality work.
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