Are Shorter Books Better?

This post, by Mary Anne Graham, originally appeared on her Quacking Alone blog on 11/7/10.

As I began editing Part 2 of The Duke of Eden,  the book I’m currently putting out as a serial exclusive to Amazon’s Kindle, I’m thinking ahead to Part 3 and the overall length of the book.  And I’ve decided that this time I have a grand ambition – it’s going to be a shorter book than the ones I’ve published previously. 

Why is that such a grand ambition?  Because for writers like me, the ones who get caught up in our own characters and their story, keeping it shorter is much harder than letting it conclude at its own pace.  But I’m gonna try to keep Eden shorter because I’ve decided that these days, there are a bunch of readers who prefer shorter books.

I was already thinking about this issue a few days ago when I read a post on Dear Author titled “Is Our Attention Span Getting Shorter?”  The author of the post noted that Harlequin category romances had started appearing on the USA Today bestseller list.  As we all know, Harlequins are shorter romances.  Within the Harlequin family of imprints, word counts range range between 50k to 75k, but generally hover between 55k and 65k.  Dear Author noted that one of the things the bestseller list appearances reminded them of was that more shorter books are being sold in the digital age.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good meaty, long ole’ historical, but when I read the piece I realized that I’ve been reading a heck of a lot more Harlequins lately.  I’ve always enjoyed the books, but I have never bought as many of them as I do now.  Why?  Well, maybe shorter books do read better in an e-world.  You get in, you get the story, and you get out. 


Read the rest of the post on Mary Anne Graham‘s Quacking Alone.

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