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Does size matter?

May 31, 2019

Someone asked me recently how many pages I have in my books. It raised an issue I’d never worried about, but feel like discussing.

He may have asked the question because he doesn’t like thick books, but my feeling is that the question stemmed from the opposite direction. Are readers buying books "on weight"? If the book has great volume, then there must be a lot of interest, due to the fact that there are lots of pages...

 

So dear readers, if you want a lot of paper, you’re welcome to visit Office Depot – they sell paper there in packages, it's cheaper and you can use it for personal needs. The truth is that anyone familiar with the field doesn’t relate to a book according to the number of pages, but according to the number of words - say, to meet the costs of editing, for example. You know why? Because a book of 70,000 words can be spread over 250 pages, but also over 300. It all depends on the size of the font, the intervals between the lines, the number of chapters, blank pages between chapters, the size of the page and so on. Unfortunately, there are writers who definitely exploit this in order to "thicken" their books completely artificially.

 

But the thickness of the book is determined also - and especially by - the content that fills it. And here, of course, is a matter of taste. I've read quite a few thick books from which I would cut at least a third of the content. I wonder, sometimes, whether the book is long because the writer was concerned about quality - or quantity. I bet it’s often the quantity...

 

I’ve written four books so far. My thickest book is my first book, Confessions of an Abandoned Wife. The next book, Hill of Secrets, is a little thinner and the last two books (Déjà Vu and The Hit) are considered thin. What is thin? Not booklets, certainly. Some may consider full books of between 200 and 250 printed pages to be relatively thin. In my opinion, my writing is getting better and better, and part of that quality is the ability to know when to release some text - that is, if the editor thinks that there’s unnecessary text that doesn’t add to the plot, I’ll give it up, even at the price of "thickness." The plot and story flow are more important to me. If the reader chooses another book just because there are fifty more pages (possibly full of tedious descriptions or pointless information that doesn’t promote the plot) I have nothing to say against it - I have to stand behind my own book, not someone else's. And I'm very proud of my books.

 

By the way, as a book consumer, if I see a very, very thick book, I approach it with great caution, whereas a book that’s very thin...

In other words, size doesn’t always matter!

 

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