• Amy Oliveira

Writing Tips

Updated: Jan 25, 2021

Oh wow, how you all doing? It’s been a crazy big week as usual, Unabashedly Yours went live yesterday and I couldn’t be more excited!

Now, let’s get down to business?

I’ve noticed sometimes a few writers having a hard time to switch from writing small pieces to actually starting a novel. My first novella I finished still in school, I was fifteen and I handwritten that beast myself during the math classes!

Since then things gotten a little less chaotic. I graduated in Cinema in 2011 and I was able to add a few things I’ve learned with script writing into novel writing. Mostly I’ve learned by my mistakes, I follow trails that weren’t exactly for me, I upcycled a few ideas from years ago, I’ve dabbed with a couple of genres and I build a career from the thing I need more than air itself: books.

I truly hope to help anyone get a little courage to write your first words!

Let’s do this!

The first thing you should consider when starting a novel is the perfect word count for you and the genre. I know! It sounds boring, but believe me, it’s super important. Collections of short stories, novellas or novels are all quite fun and they all have a place! You just need to know what will look the best for your story.

Where will you start? Here goes a little easy template for industry standards. Nothing is ever written in stone, calm your horses. However, there’s an easy way to find your target.

  • Short Story - 5k to 10k words

  • Novella- 10k to 40k words

  • Novels - Anything from 50k depending on the genre.

Now let’s have a look into the genres word count?

Romance- 50k to 100k words

Science Fiction- 90k to 120k words

Historical Fiction- 80k to 100k words

Thriller/ Horror/Mysteries/Crime -70k to 90k words

Young Adult- 50k to 80k words

I write contemporary romance, so I aim on 80k words. Ellis Montgomery is 83k words, while Unabashedly Yours is 95k. I have a dystopian with 75k and a romantic comedy with about 90k. During Unabashedly Yours I was pretty set on keeping under 85k, but in the end there was more to be said so it ran a little longer. Still, I wouldn’t go over 100k, and that’s completely a personal preference (as a reader and a writer!)

Why is the word count so important?

Guys, it just is. Every industry has its standards and we want to deliver the best quality product. I know some people will argue, “but what about art?”. And they are right, art is subjective and a book that’s absolute perfection to one might not be to the other. But still. You can deliver quality and still be artistic about it.

Tell you more, if you’re going for the traditional route, word count is a massive turn off to the major publishing houses. Your novel has to be marketable! It has to fit with the others!

And if you’re leaning towards the indie route? That’s fine, in theory you can just look up the KDP minimum standards and follow that, but that’s not every day reality is it? If you’re hoping to make this your full time job that means you’ll be competing with giants of this industry. You’ll be side by side with a book from an author that has much bigger marketing budget than yours and follows the reader’s expectations.

Be smart. Don’t sell yourself short! You can and will be innovative, regardless. There’s only one of you after all, and only you can tell your story.

Stay well, drink water and shop indie.

Amy x.

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