Publication Process: Word Count

One of the interesting things that I’ve observed in reviews of short stories I have up on Amazon is that it seems that some reviewers don’t expect (or particularly like) short stories.

In all of my (non-novella) e-books, I specifically say on the cover and in the title that it’s a group of short stories. Yet I’ve actually had some reviewers say something like “I had to remind myself that these were short stories.” I’ve also had comments saying that they thought that the stories needed to be longer.

It’s an interesting phenomenon.

Of course, the reviewers don’t realize the short stories were often written or cropped to fit with a publication’s guidelines. They only know what they want. I can understand that…

Although I would love to combine the 3 Saratoga Springs stories into one book or all the Dragon stories into one book, I have a wordcount constraint that prevents me from doing so. (This has to do with my agent contract.)

And now I’m working on Book 2, and I’m struggling to keep the word count down. I think I could easily make this book 150K with 5 or 6 POV characters….but I’m not going to do that. My editor would have kittens, I suspect.

So word count is simply one of those constantly overhanging issues that readers don’t know about. They don’t know that we’re not fully exploring the relationship between X and Y because we simply don’t have the additional 5K words to do so.

And I suspect that’s where a lot of fanfiction comes from. We don’t have the spare space to do that….so the readers take over and do it for us!

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