I was talking a few weeks ago to a prospective client about her book idea. A lit agent had told her that she had written too many words. Cut, cut, cut…
Now, we aren’t talking about 300,000 words here; think more along the lines of 90,000.
My advice: write the book you want to read.
I use a general rule of thumb of 375 words/page, give or take. Throw in some front and back matter, and a 90,000-word manuscript translates into a book of about 260 pages.
Write the book you want to read.
Is this too long?
I don’t think so, but who cares about what I think? Sure, I hold a few strong opinions—OK, more than a few. Still, ultimately the writer or artist or musician has to be happy with the end product. If that means a 400-page book, then write it. Note, however, that many people won’t read a book of that length these days no matter how well it’s written. (Many Americans don’t read a single proper book in a year.)
Publishers are just throwing darts at a board anyway. Is it better for 20 200 or 2,000 people to like your book when you don’t?