Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Question About Length

I've been thinking today about the length of books so I'm going to ask you.  Angela, Kelly, Heather and whoever else strolls by.

All of Charles Dickens' books were written as installments and serialized in the newspapers of the day.  Only later were they put together in a book.  Book length has fluctuated over the years.  Books weren't as long 50 years ago.  Then artificially, dictated by the financial needs of the publishers as well as the cost of shipping a box of books around the country, publishers realized they made more money on longer books.  Writers were forced to pad stories and readers became accustomed to really long books that could prop a door open.

But that's old technology.  We don't have to be bound to follow rules that don't apply to digital publishing.

What I'm asking is: would a shorter length be acceptable if you knew you would get the first piece more quickly and there was more to follow?

Post a comment or email me so I know how you feel.


  1. I personally don't care whether a book is long or short as long as the story is good and not rushed. I have read some books that only have 50 or 60 pages and they are great books.

  2. Okay. Thank you. I'm trying to reimagine both the "3" Bad Apple books that I had planned on, as well as something else. Artificial length shouldn't get in the way. I'm not saying I know how how anything should be or will be. When I started out many years ago, I had a terrific editor and her policy was "A book should be as long as it takes to tell the story." Those early lessons stay with you.

  3. I agree with Kelly. It is more about the story then the length. Sometimes an author will drag out a story to make it longer because they think it should be when in fact the story would have been way better if they had cut out the fluff. If I really like a story, sometimes it is better to get a lot of little stories and have them come out more often then waiting,sometimes, years for the next book. I have lost interest in some series because it took too long for the next book to come out. Does that make sense?

  4. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to reply, it seems like I keep being pulled to so many different directions!

    I can understand why you would lose interest in a series if a long time passes between books. I read "I Am Number Four" months ago and Book 2 is supposed to be out this month. I don't know that I'll bother especially since it probably won't be in digital immediately.

    I will be looking at the shorter length from here on out and I thank both of you for helping me decide. I think this is right.