Tag Archives: writing books

Counting Words – the Easy Way


National Novel Writing Month” is now half over. How are you doing? You should have 25,000 words written if you are going have the required 50,000 by the end of the month.

Impossible, you say? A novel starts a word at a time, building one upon the other. A fellow writer stated, “A word upon a word upon a word equals power.” Words transform into an idea and that idea develops into a story. The story becomes a novel, and that work of fiction can inspire, and bring enjoyment or vital information to the reader.

Little by Little

You have to write roughly 1660 words a day to make the 50,000 mark by the end of thirty days. That is one or two chapters, or about three or four typewritten single-spaced pages. If you choose to take weekends off, then you must write around 2300 words a day. Breaking it down, maybe it doesn’t seem so hard? If you start now – in the middle of the month, double that amount. According to NaNoWriMo, writing the first draft is not about quality but about quantity. The time for left-brain activities such as editing comes later.

In order to join the NaNoWriMo team, you are asked to create an account and record your words for each day. You can earn badges and certificates along the way to keep you inspired. If you meet your goal by midnight, November 30th, you are considered a “winner.”

Counting Words

Does counting words seem daunting? Remember the days of counting words with a manual typewriter? Oh, the pain. For example, if you wanted to center a heading, you had to count the number of characters and spaces used, subtract that number from the number of spaces in the line, divide this number by two, and then use the space bar to manually move the carriage to the proper position. Thank goodness for computers that count your words for you.

The Easy Way to Track Your Words

  • MS Word 2013: Go to the REVIEW tab, and click the Word Count icon.
  • Word Online (free through OneDrive) is the same as above.
  • Pages/MAC: Click in the toolbar, then choose Show Word Count.
  • Google Docs: *(Online) Go to TOOLS/Word Count

Did you know you can also “VOICE TYPE” with Google Docs? And it’s FREE!

How long should a book be?

According to Writers Digest, aim for at least 70,000 words. Eighty to ninety thousand is a good range for the adult novel or memoir, and any genre, except sci-fi and fantasy.

  • Picture Books – 1,000 (32 pages is the standard)
  • Middle Grade Fiction – 20,000 -35,000
  • Horror – 80,000-100,000
  • Romance – 85,000-100,000
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy – 100,000-180,000
  • Young Adult Fiction – There’s a lot of room for variation. 45,000-100,000. Fantasy tends to be on the higher end of the word count spectrum. In the Harry Potter series, word count ranges from 77K to 257K.

Please note that these are only averages and there are exceptions to every rule.


What Do Readers Want?


How do book readers decide to read your book? They don’t decide. You do. Awesome responsiblity? Amazing power?

Then, how do you get readers to want to read your book? You convince your readers to want to through marketing strategies. Whether you self-publish or go the traditional route, you must continue to market your own book(s). Traditional publishers may say they will market your book – but it’s much the same as Print-on-Demand (POD) publishers. They’ll put it on Amazon and Barnes & Nobel, provide the title to libraries, academic institutions, and booksellers. It is still mainly up to YOU, the author, to get your book out before the public. YOU must let them know it’s available, valuable, and worth the read, whether educational or entertaining.

They Must Want What You Have

In order to want something, someone must know it exists. One way to look at marketing is convincing people to want what you have. How readers discover new books has changed massively with the growth of technology. In this computer age with all the technology tools available, authors no longer have to rely on a single-minded source (like a book publisher) to tell readers about books. The self-published author, in particular, must know how to find avenues to market their book and get it before their readers.bookart

Sell Your Dream

Marketing for an author is selling your reader on a dream. You have the power of words. As a wordsmith, you must craft the logline (a single-sentence summary of your book) into a hook that will draw that reader in. Make them crave more of what’s tucked between its covers. “Marketing isn’t optional for the self-publishing author–it’s absolutely vital,” says Kelly Schuknecht, marketing advisor with SelfPublishingAdvisor.com. How else will new readers know your book exists? How else will they know where to track it down and buy it? You can’t sell readers on a dream if they don’t know it exists.


Marketing Pointers

Here are a few ways to help sell that dream and market your book.

  1. Pitch it to the right audience. Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes new authors make is believing everyone in the world will love their book. Wouldn’t that be lovely? Truth is, people who love the genre you write will love your book. Fantasy/paranormal lovers may not pick up a nonfiction biography. Romance readers may not like horror. That’s okay. Each group has a particular niche. Search for groups in your genre and pitch to those readers.
  2. Find different avenues to market your book. Schedule book signings at libraries or craft fairs, read aloud at libraries or schools, set up a free giveaway of the e-book to draw attention to the next, print banners, bookmarks as giveaways, business cards; do a press release; have a launch party either in person or online. Do an online book tour.
  3. Set up an online presence. Do you have a website for your author page? Amazon, Create Space, Goodreads, Smashwords, and others offer a free page. You can also set up a Facebook author page. Do interviews with yourself or your characters. Make it fun and appealing. Sink the hook.
  4. Advertise online. Get your book into all the various websites that will take your book for no cost. Here are a few: Bookfinder, Goodreads; GalleyCat Facebook Page; bookdaily.com; indiebookoftheday.com; ilovebooks.com; bookangel.co.uk.
  5. Be engaged. Respond to readers on platforms they love and in your genre. Send out the occasional tweet; engage in Facebook or LinkedIn conversational groups. Guest blog on other authors’ sites if permitted. Get your name out there.
  6. Give back. There are a lot of fun ways to do this. Consider giveaways, donations, free webinars or live chats, speak at other writers’ groups. There are many ways in which you as an author can interact with your readers. If you offer your book for free, put it on Twitter with a #freebook hashtag to get a lot more action.

Happy Marketing!