Amazon Defines Novel Length

Amazon customers represent a market force we as authors should listen to. And they are talking about the modern length of a novel.

Category: writing

label_outline tag Amazon

Read Write Web had article discussing Amazon’s Short Story Collection, which targets the electronic publishing medium. In a nutshell, this collection, called an Amazon Single, is defined as 5,000 to 30,000 words. That’s not a short story. According to Wikipedia (source of all true knowledge), a short story has a maximum word count of 7,000–9,000 words. So, has Amazon extended the size of the Short Story?

No. I submit what they’re calling short stories are really novellas. Novels tend to start around 50,000 words (typically in the Western or Romance genre). If short stories have a cap of around 8,000 words and novels start around 50,000 words, the gap is the novella.

The Kindle has propelled electronic reading, now that electronic sales exceed paper book sales. Authors are finding themselves a wider audience in electronic publishing. I recently read about a man who was rejected by 100 publishing houses, sold 10 paper copies, but now has sold thousands of copies electronically.

My point? You now have the standard for novella lengths ala Amazon—5,000 to 30,000 words. Enjoy.

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Photo Credit: Balancing a Kindle (JblyBerg/Flickr under CC BY 2.0.)