Too Many Words?

While I know many don’t have a real positive outlook on the future of traditional publishing, I’m still a huge fan.

I’m sure the models will be tweaked, maybe even totally transformed, over the next few years but I still think there’s a future for printed books. This should also be the place to note that I’m no expert. Having published one book and getting ready to publish my second leaves me far from qualified to speak to the future of publishing.

The one trend I like about digital books is their length. I love the idea of these Kindle-Singles that have been popping up. While they’re longer than a magazine article, they tend to be much shorter than the traditional book and the turnaround time on how quickly they can be published is crazy fast.

I believe, that for the most part, books are too long. Even the really good ones could be a bit shorter. In traditional publishing it seems to be most books have to be a certain length to meet a certain price point. In digital publishing it seems like length is not near as important because the price point isn’t as important. There’s more room for flexibility.

I would say that about 85% of the books I read I either don’t finish or I skim because there’s a lot of unnecessary fluff included to get the book to a certain word count. I rather have the author just tell me what they want to tell me without feeling they have to add stuff just to get it to the magical word count.

I’d also like to try writing a book that’s about 25k words. To give you an idea Plan B
was almost 70k words, my next book Empty Promises: The Truth About You, Your Desires, and the Lies You’re Believing will be close to 60k words. If I were to manuscript out one of my Sunday morning messages it would land at about 2k words.

I could be wrong, but my opinion is that books will tend to get shorter and shorter for a variety of reasons. This will provide unique challenges and opportunities for both authors and publishers.

It’ll be fun to watch.

As a general rule, would you like books to be shorter or longer?

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Pete Wilson is the founding pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN and author of a new book entitled Plan B, his thoughts about what to do when life doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would. He is a frequent blogger on his popular ministry blog, Pete is married and has three sons.