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After almost a solid month of plotting, characterization, pacing, and creating setting, I finally wrote the last sentence to my new novel before I start the revision process. Feeling elated I sat back in my office desk chair and beamed, enjoying the pleasurable sensations of finishing this stage of the project. Then suddenly, I was stricken with horror. I had written the story to completion. There was nothing more I could say or add to the story. It was done in my mind.



But… it is only 16,000 words!



Being a first draft, I know I can expand the scenes and probably drag out another 20,000 words turning this into a 36,000 word manuscript. But I wonder, is that long enough? My fears were quickly assuaged as I began researching the top selling indie authors.



It seems the days of minimum novel-length requirements have passed. Many authors are selling tens of thousands of copies of their 99 cent 20,000 word stories and getting rich doing it. Lucinda Wilde is one example. Her (it’s actually a husband and wife collaboration) 10,000-20,000 romance novels are selling in droves. Readers want quick fixes these days and are not offended to shell out a little money for a few hours’ worth of reading entertainment. Attention spans are short and so are many of the bestselling indie books.



Being able to write, publish, and sell a story or novella is not an exact science. The short novella must be top notch. It must grab the reader right away and addictively string them along until the story’s conclusion. There can’t be any wasted scenes or oddly, off-putting dialogue. The story must be streamlined and awesome.



Many writers will argue that a 15,000 or 20,000 word novel is not a novel but a glorified short story. They argue that a book this length would never make it in the mainstream, and they are right. But today’s indie author isn’t writing for the mainstream, they are writing because they have stories to tell that are outside of the mainstream. Stories that for whatever reason the big publishing houses thought they couldn’t make a profit on. That doesn’t necessarily mean the stories aren’t worth the public’s attention, only that the corporate numbers didn’t pan out.



Going over my first draft, I can’t seem to find where I could add more plot. The story is finished as it is and adding fluff will only lessen the impact. As I begin the revision process I’m empowered by the fact that there are no minimum requirements for an excellent story. I write scenes that make the story strong not just to fill empty pages. My dialogue is tight; not drawn out to add to the final word count. This freedom to write stories without the leaden weight of a corporate marketing and financial responsibility is what is revolutionizing the publishing industry and the writer as an artist as a whole.


Please check out my blog ALWAYS WRITING to learn more about my books and myself.

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Hello Neil, great blog! I'm amazed at all the books you've written. They look fascinating! I always did like action stories. Insectland looks especially entertaining. :D

I agree with you on your point in this blog. My first self-published story is maybe a little over 10,000 words. Adding more would only hurt the story. Besides if I really wanted to see what happens to the characters at a later date, I could always write a sequel!

Authors that nay-say indie authors have no idea how much more freedom we have. We have no deadlines to meet, except the ones we make for ourselves. There is no word limit and best of all, if we really like the way a scene plays out in our stories, nobody can tell us to get rid of it.

I've also heard of Lucinda Wilde. Here in Washington where I live, there is a couple that has written over 20 books and self-published. They are now millionaires. I know it's a crazy dream but hey if we're going to dream why not dream big! I like to write. I've always liked to write. Even if I never become wildly famous and filthy rich, at least I can say that I tried and went for my dream of being an author.

I'll be sure to add your blog to my reading material. :)

Thanks Elizabeth. Go ahead and check out some of my books. I think you'll be highly entertained. Good luck in all your efforts.


Like you said, It's not an exact science. I suppose it falls more to the taste of the reader. A short story may be adequate to someone who reads pocket books on the bus, or simply does not have a lot of attention to keep all the details of a long story in mind.

I for one, like long books. Lord of the Rings was too short for me. I devoured the entire Dune collection. And, as an aspiring writer I found myself with a 500000 word text before I decided to divide it into three parts. Then again, I might be clinically insane, but who can tell? We spend our time and attempt to make a living out of creating things that aren’t real anyway.

Thx for the post.

This is just great! You have this one published though. I have seen one self-publishing company, I don't know if you have heard about them but you can check it yourself though. The site is

I agree on you with this one.



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