Some readers love to read short books: super short flash fiction or bite-sized short stories and novelettes or easy-to-finish novellas are for them. Some readers love long books: epic tomes and multi-volume family saga that go on and on and on. Some readers enjoy what’s in between: not too short and not too long. What about you?
What’s your favorite book length?
I almost posted a chart of book lengths, but turns out that the word counts are all different depending on who you ask. Book lengths vary when you ask romance writers verse science fiction writers. I don’t know why. For example, some science fiction book awards organizers said that 40,000 words is a short novel, which is what most indie authors would consider too. However, I have heard publishers an agents calling that length a novella instead.
On Amazon, you don’t see word counts at all. You only see page counts. Have you ever checked your preferences for book lengths? Or do you just read the book because you find it interesting? I’m the latter. I don’t check book lengths when I read, but I do veer toward longer books.
For example, I can comfortably finish reading a 400-page novel anywhere from three to six hours non-stop. I hate to say that I suspect I could read faster in my heyday before I had to wear reading glasses (ahem). Back when I was younger, I could read anywhere and at any time. Sometimes I read all night long if the whodunit mystery intriguing and I must know if the butler didn’t do it. These days, though, I must have the right lighting, the right chair, the right snacks, the right this and that. Sigh!
Do you like shorter books?
If I read a 100-page book, I might echo Jane Austen and say it’s “too short.” When I am waiting in the car for someone or when I’m waiting at the doctor’s office, I might enjoy a 100-page book because I can finish it quickly, especially if the story is nice and sweet. Some 100-page books are page turners, and some 400-page novels can be quite a chore to finish, yes?
What about short stories? Do you think it takes a different type of reading hat? For example, when I read a short story that’s well written, it begins in medias res and we’re already in an action sequence right away. I see it more like a slice of life rather than a long drawn out situation that can be fleshed out in a long novel.
I would say that novellas are the shortest books I prefer to read (and write), though I have written short stories and novelettes in the past. I’m writing a Christmas novella for the Once Upon a Starry Night anthology of twelve Christian romance stories by twelve authors. It’s on preorder right now and will be released in October 2023.
As for poetry, I prefer shorter poems. I think the shorter the poem, the harder it is to write. As an erstwhile poet myself, I have found that if my poems were short, I had to work very hard at them to make sure every word is meaningful in multiple ways.
Do you like longer books?
As a novelist, I prefer to write longer books, at least 80,000 words or more. I do have some super long books, including His Morning Kiss (Seaside Chapel Book 3), which is 149,000 words long.
I tell my readers that the way I work is this: I write the book until I am done telling the story and there is no more for me to say. I do have an idea about the ballpark word count I want to shoot for, but I often edit up and sometimes add as much as 20,000 words to a book. This is good and bad. Good because my readers get a fuller story. Bad because it can take me longer to write a book, sometimes months longer.
Which is the longest book you’ve ever read? Did you finish reading it?
Free eBooks: One Short, One Long
NOVELLA: My friends-to-more coastal city romance novella, Time for Me (A Vacation Sweethearts Prequel), is still free via BookFunnel. You can download it and read it on the Kindle reader on your phone. This novella is the story of art gallery archivist Sheryl who has been in love with her sculptor friend for eight years. It works out so far because they don’t live in the same state (one is in Savannah, GA, and the other is on Folly Island, SC) and she doesn’t have to confront her feelings for Winton. When her boss sends her to ask the sculptor to help save the art gallery she works in, she has to come face to face with him. Can she do her job?
NOVEL: This weekend only, my Caribbean romance novel, Smile for Me (Vacation Sweethearts Book 1) is FREE worldwide from June 22-26, 2023. You can also borrow this novel via Kindle Unlimited, but free means you can keep it on your Kindle reader app forever plus free up space for you to borrow more KU ebooks. This summer novel is the story of assistant principal Byron from the Bahamas who can’t get along with art and pottery teacher Tina from Savannah. Somehow there’s always friction between them, but they have to work together at the summer art camp at the Chapel by the Sea Christian School in Nassau in this enemies-t0-friends-to-more workplace romance.
Whether you like long or short books, I wish you happy reading this summer!