Monday Mumbling – Can it be too long?

Not that silly. Sheesh, dirty minds. I saw someone retweeted someone the other day and it was something to the effect of “What’s with all the 100K and 200K books. That’s what editors are for.”

Then I thought, can a book be too long? Well of course, some 100 page books are too long. LOL But generally, if the story fits, to me it fits. I know that m/m has a lot of novellas and short stories which you find in e-publishing, and that can’t really be done via traditional press that is sold in book stores. I do hear readers though say they only like long books, they want to be invested in the story and not just get a nibble.

So what about you? Do you like to read long books? Write them? If you start writing do you just go until it’s done and not worry if that’s 40K or 140K?

Some authors tend to write longer stories. Blind Eye Books has published a few long books. The Archer’s Heart at 650 pages by Astrid Amara (one of the reasons I haven’t read it) and The Rifter by Ginn Hale is over 1000 pages in total I believe. Although that was broken up as a serial.

There must be some 400+ page books I’ve bitten the bullet and read. I don’t really shelve books like that and the GR group only has them 250+ pages. Do you have any fave super-long books?

Update:  Okay, I scrolled back to July 2011 and found a few books at around 300 pages, Too Stupid to Live by Anne Tenino, Special Delivery by Heidi Cullinen, The Larton ChroniclesThe Rebuilding Year by Kaje Harper, Broken Wings by Bethany Brown and Ashlyn Kane, Sometimes It’s Fate by Angela Stone and then Haunted by Your Soul by Marguerite Labbe at 380 page and the big winner, Slow Bloom by Anah Crow and Dianne Fox at a whopping 490 pages.

23 thoughts on “Monday Mumbling – Can it be too long?

  1. Chris says:

    *mind goes blank*

    • Tam says:

      I know. I know I’ve read books that have over 400 pages and for the life of me I can’t think what they are. I tried doing a search by long, too many posts. Of course searching 400 doesn’t help because if it was 401 pages it wouldn’t find it. But really, I know I’ve read some, and I’m sure patted myself on the back after. LOL

      • Chris says:

        Well, I’m working at home and sitting on my couch, looking at my bookcases, so I can actually see some longish books that I’ve read. But I’m not really feeling the love for, say, Acheron or the BDB series anymore. Maybe The Books of Blood by Tanya Huff…

        • Tam says:

          Yeah, I thought of Acheron too as it sits on my bookshelf. There don’t seem to be as many long e-books. Many around 250 or so, but getting over 300 pages seems rare.

  2. Val Kovalin says:

    I used to read SFF where 400+ pages was totally normal, but since getting into gay romance I find anything over 100K words kind of intimidating. I guess my most comfortable length (reading and writing) is 35K to 90K.

    • Tam says:

      It does seem to have changed what I find “normal”. If I know something is getting close to 300 pages, I get nervous. LOL I guess there are so many books I pull a Sweet Brown.

      I read so many stories that are under 20K now for BER that I’m rather impatient with a long one, although obviously some have kept my interest. Maybe they have to be exceptional now and with romance, unlike SFF, there’s usually not so much world building so 500 pages of relationship conflict can get a bit wearying, which I suppose is how Ginn Hale and Astrid Amara ended up with long books as they combined the two, requiring more length to really flesh out the story.

  3. Cole says:

    I love long stories, but mostly I agree with you that if the story fits, it fits. I think it’s a bit sad that our perspective of what is long has changed with m/m. I assume it’s because of the ease of epublishing, and the influx of so many novellas. I don’t really think short stories count in that regard. There’s nothing wrong with a novella of course, but I don’t want us to become even more of an ADHD genre.

    I tend to go into different moods where I’m looking for something long or read more short stories and novellas. I’ve been in the mood to read longer books lately. I do get nervous about reading really long contemporary novels and I only do it when I trust the author, because it can get tedious if there isn’t a world to build, like in fantasy. I’ve been meaning to read the Astrid Amara series for a long time now. And I never finished The Rifter. I need to do that as well.

    • Tam says:

      I never finished the Rifter either. Sigh. I read the first two. Certainly not because I didn’t enjoy it, I just got side-tracked. A super long contemporary can be hard to pull of and sustain your interest when not much happens besides a relationship. I think perhaps a mystery or something that has a strong secondary plot to the romance could do that, then balancing the two can be a challenge.

  4. K. Z. Snow says:

    I spent years in college reading monster tomes. Now I prefer novellas and shorter novels. Anything longer than that has to be mighty riveting to keep me from skimming and skipping . . . and cussing. ;-)

    Like you suggested, Tam, romance fiction in long form usually doesn’t make for an engaging read. Too much padding is required. Unfortunately, editors aren’t likely to tell romance authors to pare down rambling stories, even if paring down would improve them, because bigger books command higher prices.

    • Tam says:

      That’s a good point about price. If you want to make more money, write longer books, although that’s a double-edged sword. Better to sell 100 novellas for $3 or 25 novels for $8? According to ARe’s latest report, reposted here at DEAR AUTHOR, only 1% of all their sales come from books priced at $9.99 and up (not sure I’ve ever paid that for a single book) and that on average customers spend a little over $4 per book. Some interesting stats there about who is reading and what they are buying.

  5. Crissy M says:

    I like epic novels if they’re written well. The problem for me is that usually means I have to take a chance on it…and if it turns out to bore me to tears (which happens more than not) I’m mad at myself for buying the stupid book in the first place. But on the flip side, there are books out there that I can read in a matter of days because they’re so well written that I can’t put them down…most of those are like George RR Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice series. Not to say that there aren’t really good m/m epic novels out there, but my brain is too tired to think of them right now. :D

    • Tam says:

      Yeah, long books are expensive and if you take the chance and spend $8+ dollars and then end up bored and quitting, it can be a real turn-off. But sometimes you just have to take a chance.

  6. Goodreads tells me Lesson Learned is 211, but doesn’t give me a page count for Lovers Entwined, which has a higher word count so has to be more than 211 pages, right?

    I write until the story is told regardless of the word count, unless I’m trying to write for a submission that has to be a certain length. Generally my stories turn out at novel or super novel length. As yet I haven’t hit the 100K word count but I’ve been damn close to it.

    I regularly bemoan that a story wasn’t long enough, especially at short story length, not enough time to develop the idea or the characters. Occasionally I worry that those authors are just churning stories out for the royalties, when a couple of extra months work (and some poking by both pre-readers and editor for MORE) could have produced an excellent story. Alternatively there are those stories where there are so many filler sex scenes, which advance the story and characters in no way whatsoever, that I begrudge the higher price tag I paid for the book.

    Ultimately I don’t think we should judge a book by its length but by its content.

    • Tam says:

      Yes, there are probably examples of books that need more and those that definitely need some trimming. I agree, if the book is great at 150K, then it should stay there and not be cut just for the sake of saying that is too long in general.

  7. Polt says:

    A few of the Harry Potter books were lik 700 pages…but those are generally quick reads. I do like The Stand by Stephen King. That sucker clocks in at like 800 and some pages. It’s a long read, but it’s worth it!

    HUGS….

    • Tam says:

      Yeah some of the Harry Potter books were long, but if a book sucks you in and makes you want to keep reading, you don’t mind the length.

  8. StormyMonday says:

    I have another long one: Abigail Roux’s “The Archer” which I have in print and it has 565 pages despite a smaller than average print size. It’s about 246.000 words! THAT’s long :-) but I like Ms. Roux’s writing!
    Great blog btw., my first time here!

    • Tam says:

      Holy cow! I think that definitely counts as epic. Also scares me off. I do like her writing though. For those who say “give me a long one” this might be a good choice.

  9. ingrid2009 says:

    Yes to novels! It is true that there not that many lentghy novels out there in m/m at least. I would like see more and it if they are not 100% romance then that is fine by me.
    One very good long read is the Albert Sterne book by Julie Bozza

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