Write the Book You Want to Read

Is it better for 200 or 2,000 people to like the book when you don't?

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.)

Brass Tacks

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?

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