There’s been a lot of talk about word count lately, as noted by this post, and it’s left me wondering exactly how much the length of a book really factors in whether or not people buy it. I’m not intimidated by the length of a book, nor does it matter to me when selecting one to read. If it’s a new author, a more experienced author- again, it doesn’t matter. It’s whether or not the premise is appealing and if, after skimming the first few pages, the writing is good.
The publishing industry justifies its stance by citing costs of production, which I understand, but I’m wondering if there’s any merit to their thought that people aren’t as inclined to pick up a book by a debut author if it’s a tome of impressive length. So, what say you?
Using the traditional (and somewhat inaccurate) means of calculating word count, 250 words per page, I took it upon myself to figure out word counts of popular debut novels.
Time Traveler’s Wife: 134000
Digital Fortress: 107500
And for some miscellaneous trivia: Gone with the Wind came in at 239750 words while Heinlein’s debut novel, Rocket Ship Galileo, only came to about 41ooo words.
So, what say you? Is there anything in particular about length that might make you have second thoughts before purchasing it?