Thursday, April 26, 2012

Word Count

You can find a lot of information out on the internet regarding appropriate word counts for your genre.

Why does it matter?

1. It shows an agent that you have done your research.
2. If you are over the word count, an agent *might* be less likely to invest the necessary time to read your manuscript.
3. If you are over the word count, an agent may think you didn't revise and edit your work efficiently.

However, if you have an interesting plot concept, many agents and editors will overlook the *appropriate* word count range and invest the time necessary to read your manuscript.

But as Chuck Sambuchino says, "I believe that we cannot count on being the exception; we must count on being the rule. That’s the best way to give yourself your best shot at succeeding."

CLICK HERE to read his fantastic post on word counts.

What about you?

Do you pay attention to the appropriate word count range for your genre while you're writing?


  1. I don't pay too much attention to word count when I'm writing, but when I'm ready to submit I know the markets most likely to accept - usually I veer towards small-press publishers, I like the 'working outside the system' feel of the smaller presses.

  2. I have a general idea when I start a draft, and then I really hone in on it during editing.

  3. Kind of. A story needs to be as long as it needs to be. I tend to write shorter pieces, so if a story ends up being a novella instead of a novel based on word count, I'm OK with that. I mostly use word count for weekly and monthly goals.

  4. I do, and I'm always worried about coming up short. It's hard to just let go and write, leaving the editing for later.

  5. I wrote and finished a NaNo novel at 50,000 words, then was so disappointed to find it was too short for the genre I'd written in (women's paranormal fiction). So my lesson was learned the hard way--pubs weren't interested in it (though I did get an agent, who was new and unaware of word count expectations). I definitely think for a wanna-be debut author, you can't afford NOT to keep your book within the confines of word count, like Sambuchino said--gives you better chances of breaking out of the pack!

  6. As much as I don't want to, I try to pay attention to word count. So many factors help to categorize our work. Word count is one of them. If we want our work placed appropriately, we have to be aware of the word count requirements.

  7. I never really understood the need for word count conventions in the early days, but I get it more now. And I definitely see how some of my extremely overbloated first drafts needed severe revision. ;)

  8. No, don't really pay attention. When I'm done, what do you know, I'm in the correct zone! I think if you read a lot of your genre, you get an instinctive feel for how long your work should be.