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Searching around for blogs and other useful information for aspiring authors (if you know any I should be checking out, please let me know in the comments – blogging newbie here!), I came across this opportunity from Bloomsbury on Writers & Artists:


It sounded really great at first, until I read that:

  1. it’s digital-only, and
  2. they’re accepting “between 25,000 and 60,000 words”.

Ouch. As someone currently struggling with what some claim is conventional wisdom that fantasy manuscripts, especially from first-time authors, should be between 80k and 100k (more on that later), that’s a bit of a kick in the nuts.

So my question is this:

Are these word limits as artificial as they seem to me, that is, do they exist mainly to discourage new writers from blabbering on without getting to the point to save printing costs, or do people really want to read shorter stories?

Because personally, when I go to the bookstore to find the next book I want to delve into, I don’t even look at the little narrow ones. I want characters to be developed, not just the bare bones of the story. I want the story to last, I want to find the first part of a series worth getting into. I want the details, the thought-processes, not just the action. Those doorstopper-sized books aren’t usually much more expensive than the little ones. Maybe I don’t know enough about real-life printing costs, and am na├»ve about┬ácosts to proofread manuscripts (which people don’t seem to do a good job at, I can’t read past errors without my eyes starting to bleed), but is there really good cause to want authors (ones who can otherwise prove they can write well, of course) to limit themselves by that much?

I’d love to hear other people’s comments on that.