I wrote a Fiction Novel based on true events...

by Cheryl
(South African)

Question: I wrote a Fiction novel based on a true story with a word count of 30200. Is this too short? I'm a first time Author and intend to go for self publishing.


Answer: I'm afraid what you have there is a novella, not a novel.

For a novel, the bare minimum is 40,000 words (but really 50,000 is the lower end). The average novel is around 85,000 words.

In traditional publishing, this might be more of a problem because the book would be very thin. If it's placed spine-out, it could easily get lost on a bookstore shelf. You would be limited to a much smaller font on the spine, which would also make the book harder to notice.

Novellas are usually published as part of anthologies or in literary magazines rather than as stand-alone works. For example, if you had some short stories, you could combine them with the novella into one volume.

Genre makes a difference too. Children's books are often shorter. And, of course, there are always exceptions. I've seen shorter works published as stand-alone volumes in many parts of the world.

If you are self-publishing, you are free to do what you like, but I presume you want to give yourself the best chance of success. If you are just making an ebook, the risk is that the reader will be disappointed in the length, so you might want to state in the description that the book is a novella before they buy. Some readers may be reluctant to pay as much for a novella as they would a novel, so that might affect how you price the book.

Best of luck.

P.S. The phrase "fiction novel" is redundant. All novels are fiction by definition. If the story is based on real events, I assume you have changed all the names and altered the characters beyond recognition?

Comments for I wrote a Fiction Novel based on true events...

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Feb 12, 2016
Thanks a million !!
by: Anonymous

Thanx so much! Its not all in Vain as I wrote it with a Sequel in mind, so I will be able to continue and mark the first part as Book 1 binding it as a Novel. Your answer saved me money because being a first time writer I did not know this,I would've sent it to the printers after Editing. Much appreciated.

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