Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cutting Down a Book

I'm back from what was a ridiculously prolonged illness, not helped by a lot of traveling. Also, I don't get a lot of emails asking questions, or not a lot of emails asking questions I haven't answered already in the blog, so that cuts down on the posts.

I wrote a YA/Paranormal novel, but am having an issue with it's length. I know the accepted length is around 80K-100K words for this genre, but the readers who have read mine say it reads well and should be left in tact. The novel is well over twice the accepted word count, though. Is it in my best interest to cut the book down before I seek an agent or leave it as is, seek an agent now, and work with an editor to scale it back?

So from your email I don't know exactly how long it is, but the general rule is that if you can find things to cut, you should be cutting them, and if you can't find anything to cut, then the novel really is that long and agents will have to deal or you'll have to write another novel. If your YA novel is 200,000 words as it sounds like it is, that's just too long for a first book. Go write another, shorter book while this one is on the shelf. When you're published you can get away with crazier stuff.

Disregard this if you're in India, because from what I've seen the Indian English-language fiction market makes for like, crazy-long novels. Or many books that are one novel because the binding was just getting too big. I remember being in the Delhi airport and deciding, sadly, not to plunk my money down on a historical novel because it was ten books long and I was fairly sure I couldn't obtain the other nine books outside of India. I have enough trouble getting stuff from the UK and Australia.