Do you like longer books or shorter books? I’m not talking novellas here, but full-sized novels. For example, all of my books start out at around 95,000 words. That’s down from Tapestry, for example, which was a whopping 120,000 words.
Ebooks have allowed for a shorter form to be published – something you’d see right away in a printed book. Lots of self-published work isn’t as long as paperbacks – topping out at 60,000 to 70,000 words or thereabouts.
Which do you prefer?
Or do you even pay attention?
If a book is too short – for example, at around 50,000 words – I feel like the story is missing something. Yet I don’t seem to notice if it’s above 70,000 words, which makes me wonder if it matters as long as the story is told. I do have a tendency to skip over a lot of descriptions, so maybe the shorter books have less descriptive passages?
Mark Coker of Smashwords said that the larger – over 120,000 words – books sell better. Here’s a graph from Coker’s speech at RWA in 2012.
Honestly, I didn’t believe that, so I went searching for more stats and found them…on Mark Coker’s report.
Erotica readers seem to like shorter books.
Plus, the shorter books are ideal for reading on your phone.
What fascinated me was finding this (still on Coker’s report):
For additional perspective not shown in the chart, of the 119,000 ebooks published today at Smashwords, the average word count is 37,000 words.
But this is what I wanted to find. From Coker’s study, Romance Readers prefer books right around 80,000 words.
How about you? Do you pay attention to book length? Do you like shorter or longer books?