Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ask Andrew - Word Limit

Dear Andrew

I am wondering why a publisher would put a word limit on books.


Dear Theresa

Publishers put word limits on books for a number of reasons.  One of the biggest being consistency.  One of the big publishers had had strict length limits on their category lines for years.  This is so that each story bought by the consumer will be within the lines primary guidelines.  It also helped keep costs in line during a time when the primary sales vehicle was print books.  The longer the book the more it cost to print. 

Dreamspinner Press puts a length limit on their stories for the Advent Calendar.  That is so that when the reader receives their story each day, it isn't more than they can read so they don't get behind or frustrated with the story a day concept.  (The length of the story also determines how it will be made available.  For DSP, a story needs to be a certain length before it will be put into print)

However the biggest reason I believe for length limits are costs.  Longer length books cost more to produce.  Often editors, proofers, translators, and in the case of audiobooks, narrators, are paid based on word count so the longer a story is the more it costs and in today's market, publishers can't charge more for longer books, its too competitive.  So they set a word limit or publish guidelines on how long they want their stories to be.    Remember that publishing is a business and one of the tenants of business is to try to control costs.

I really hope this helps!
Happy New Year!

Hugs and Love

Ask Andrew is your chance to ask questions of a gay romance author.  The questions can be about the writing process in general, writing sex scenes, gay men, sex, characters in romance, characters having sex... okay you probably get the picture.    I promise to answer your questions as frankly and with as much humor as I possibly can.

So if you have a question, please send it to  This is different from my usual email so your questions don't get lost.  I will answer one question a week.

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1 comment:

  1. That is just irritating! I love a long read! Bad weather .... cuddled in warmth ... sipping hot toddy ... want to just get lost in your world! I really enjoy books 800+ pages long. You get to disappear in to that world & STAY! hee hee So ... I just keep your books on my carousel & keep hopping to the next one! Have a Great 2015! Already squished over the 2014 books ... getting ready for the 2015 ones! Love from Alaska