We’ve all heard that “size doesn’t matter,” but I’m wondering if that holds true for book length. I grew up in an era when historical sagas reigned: R.F. Delderfeld, M.M. Kaye and other authors swept me away for 500, 700, even 900 pages at a time.
It’s hard to find those kinds of reads anymore. Agents and editors want 80-100,000 word submissions. I chalk it up to the busier pace of our lives. People have more media bombarding them for attention, so there’s less time to lose themselves in one fiction read. After all, movie audiences adored Gone With The Wind, but when was the last time you attended a five-hour movie?
Even my reading tastes have broadened to include the shorter category books (generally 50-70,000 words in length). I can often devour one of these reads in 2-3 hours. They’re like reader candy. Yum.
Part of my decision to bring my historical romance AMBERSLEY directly to readers via Amazon and Smashwords was driven by the fact that the book is 109,000 words long. The other part is that the book doesn’t neatly fit the mold of “romance.” The first half of the book covers a span of 13 years. It’s more of a saga in its narrative, but it builds the context for the romance that takes center stage in the second half of the book. The second half covers a period of about 6 months.
So, I’m curious to hear from our MM followers. Does a book’s length matter to you? Do you choose shorter books because you know you can fit them in your schedule? Do you prefer longer books where you can lose yourself for a few days in that fictional world? Do you not notice the length at all?
And, just so you’ll know what you’re getting, here’s a quick blurb about AMBERSLEY:
Traumatized by a blaze that killed her parents, young Johanna remembers nothing of her privileged past and remains ignorant of the dangers that surround her. She grows up among the servants, where she develops a sense of purpose that helps her survive the betrayal that unmasks her true identity. Once she is forced to take her proper place in Regency society as the highly sought heiress to the Ambersley fortune, she must defy the relatives who would make her a pawn in their struggle for power.
When Derek Vaughan inherits the dukedom. his dubious parentage makes it a sacrilege to accept. But touched by the ravaged estate and its destitute staff, he braves a society that once shunned him while he rebuilds Ambersley and guards it from his stepmother’s bankrupting clutches. He intends to grant the title to his half-brother when the boy comes of age, but Derek’s plans go awry from the moment the gardener’s apprentice—once his trusted young friend—is revealed to be not only an heiress of beauty and spirit, but the one woman who may finally capture his heart.
Thanks for letting me share this release. And a happy Independence Day next week to all our American readers!