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  1. #31
    Iris
    Guest

    Richard Blank

    Re-read Richard Blank's post.......that's the most useful, sensible thing anyone's written at WN in quite a long time. Too bad the other posters zipped on past it.....



  2. #32
    Russ Still
    Guest

    Re: Richard Blank

    Aw, come on, Iris. That\'s the stuff of fairey tales. \"If you wish really hard, it will come true.\" Fun to believe, but not very practical. The facts are the facts. And those facts are that the commercial fiction books that predominate the shelves of large bookstores tend to be a certain size. (Of course there are exceptions, but let\'s not quibble, ok?)

    Using the fairy tale mentality, I guess we should infer that no one is writing 85k general fiction books, because virtually none are on the shelves. Of course, we know that is not the case.

    Thus, we have found a common element among books that are considered \"shelfworthy\" by the stores. They tend to average about 115k words. That\'s not my opinion, that is a fact, at least in the bookstores that I perused.

    That brings us to the bottom line. It\'s fun and artsy to say \"I\'m not going to worry about length, I\'m just going to be true to myself.\" Well, that\'s all fine, but if you produce a book that bucks the trends, I would imagine that decreases your chances of success.

  3. #33
    Publius2
    Guest

    Re: Richard Blank

    I don't consider studying and returning to an old manuscript only to discover that it was deeply and techincally flawed a fairy tale. It's a fact in practically every case. I know my third book is much better than the first.

    People always skip by truths they don't want to hear.

  4. #34
    Russ Still
    Guest

    Re: Richard Blank

    Publius2, my man. You jumped to a false (and irrelevant)conclusion. I think we're talking about writers' perceptions of the importance of length. Looks like you went back to the post in question, read the first few sentences and stopped.

    Now if you want to stay in the conversation, you have to keep up.

  5. #35
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: Richard Blank

    Yes, that "if you just wish upon a star, all your dreams will come true" is just a hokey fairy tale. A lot of things have to click into place for your book to reach the shelf, many of which depend on straight consequence. Certainly, having a great book is important--but it's no guarantee of anything, and there's no guarantee about bad books not reaching the shelf either.

    Something to think about that no one else has mentioned here: agents and publishers assume that the manuscripts of first-time authors need work to get into publishable shape. The most common failing of a first manuscript is verbosity. You very well may have written a succinct, streamlined 180,000-word blockbuster, but if that's what you have on offer, you are swimming up stream to get anyone to even consider considering it.

  6. #36
    Richard Blank
    Guest

    Re: Richard Blank

    Thanks Iris & Publius2. Gary, I agree with you about wordy manuscripts, but wordy manuscripts that are lousy are even worse. The gist of this is length, and I strongly believe in quality over quantity. And yeah, when we begin new projects we all have an idea of how long we want our manuscripts. But the length is not going to sell it. It's a combination of strong writing, plus the story line divided by luck. That's a joke, I think.

    As far as me, I found what was missing in my life, and that is hardly a fairy tale. Regardless, I will never again quit what I love to do, and there is NO agent, editor, publisher or critic alive who could change that. I’m going to post a couple things on the front page. And of course, I appreciate everyone’s input.

  7. #37
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: Richard Blank

    The good/lousy issue doesn't click in until/unless the agent/publisher actually reads the manuscript. My remarks go to just getting to the full manuscript request stage.

  8. #38
    Russ Still
    Guest

    Re: Richard Blank

    I'm with Gary. In all this conversation, my assumption is that the quality is a given. <u>Of course if it's a lousy manuscript, no amount of length - long or short - is going to save it.</u> So yes, we are assuming that the quality is good. We are <u>not</u> talking about adding useless filler to a good project. We are talking about good story, good plot, interesting characters, and incidentally, the normal length of other similar, successful works.

    The question is, and only is, <u>generally speaking</u>, what length is optimal for a book to help it become successful? Most people here believe length is either irrelevant, or is shorter than what I suspect. I believe that the current crop of best sellers are of a similar length for a reason other than just coincidence.

    If agents, publishers, and readers generally prefer a book in my genre to contain approximately 85k words (actual count), then I will make every effort to tell my story the best way while remaining roughly within that range. Although there have been plenty of anecdotal accounts to support that, my own examination of books on the shelf seems to contradict it.

    Now, you can argue that these best sellers are generally not done by first timers. But regardless of how my own experience adds up, I would like to aim for the moon and hope my book makes it from publisher to shelf in as many bookstores as possible. If you aspire to something similar, then the existing best sellers may well become your neighbors on the rack. That's all I'm saying.

  9. #39
    Publius2
    Guest

    Re: Richard Blank

    I think it's you that can't either keep up or see in the first place. Try it again.

  10. #40
    Publius2
    Guest

    Re: Richard Blank

    How many times has someone said here they've got the first in a series and that one is 160,000 words? That's a dead giveaway of delusion. Everone knows what the approximate lenghts are. It's no brainer.

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