ONE concern I have with Wattpad Books

So, about a month back, I did a thread asking some questions on the Wattpad Books brand (not the poll, just questions). One of the staff members, @emmab, was able to answer them.

Here’s one of the ones I was asked and this was her reply

Here’s the thing: As of recently, there’s been a lot of Teen Fictions on this site that are around 60 to 80 chapters, over 100K words, all that.

I only saw one book under the brand that has 400+ pages, which is “The QB Bad Boy And Me”, and that’s at 416. Everyone else is at the 300s page count, which is the usual average for a Teen debut novel.

Here’s an example: The Bad Boy And The Tomboy. The book is 300K words, the author self published it and she cut it down to 295K words. It’s about anywhere from 800-1000+ pages, depending on where you purchase it.

If it would get traditionally published, then it would probably get rejected. This is because usually YA books that get traditionally published, especially for debut novels, are around 60 to 80K words.

Sorry for the rambling, but this is just my concern regarding Wattpad Books.

They’d probably cut it in two - two books means more money.

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Wait, I’m sorry if I’m being a big oblivious here (I’m tired and haven’t slept, oops), but what’s the concern?

What I see is the difference between what works on Wattpad and what works traditionally. The two sometimes cross but not always.

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I think her concern is that books originally written for Wattpad may have difficulty finding traditional publishers due to their length.

But I suspect that issue (assuming it’s valid) only affects a small number of authors on here.

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That’s it. That’s what I mean

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I don’t understand what you’re concerned about? A lot of books can get edited to be significantly shorter with the help of a good editor. If the author has added a lot of extra stuff that doesn’t need to be there, that’s probably the answer. On the other hand, a book might be really long if the author published everything in one book when it really could have been a trilogy or series, which could happen because of Wattpad strategies like not wanting to lose readers who have the one book in their library etc.

What’s the problem with taking one of those two approaches to make a book into a good length for publishing?

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I’m still not completely following completely, sorry. Books selected for WB were selected for a reason and because they fit what they’re looking for. And, not everyone here posts with the intention of traditional.

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The problem though is debut novels. Like I stated, TBBATB, book is 300K words, self published, cut down to 295K.

The book would probably have to be split into two, maybe even three different parts of if it got trad published.

And yeah, there are books with over 100K words out there that are debuts or published, but sometimes it’s cut down to 300+ pages instead of 400-500. But then again, that’s due to font, spacing, and paragraphs in books.

But still, imagine if a book on here that’s 60 to 80 chapters get cut down into 2 books, which is a good thing (Chasing Red did this well, a self published book this well), and instead of the book being the amount of pages the author wanted it to be (500, 600), it would be 300 to 400 pages.

Some of the books underneath the Wattpad Books brand being published might’ve had 100K words on their stories, 500+ pages in the manuscript or anything like that. But they had to cut it down, page wise.

The books could be over 100K words, but the page numbers could still be less than that.

You’re saying cutting down word counts or splitting stories is a bad thing?

But what exactly is the concern? That they won’t get published by Wattpad Books or?

But it wasn’t traditionally published, so I don’t quite follow.

I’m getting confused now about the mention of page number. Is the concern the number of pages or the amount of content in the book? Or both?

Cutting down isn’t always a bad thing. For those who over write, sometimes it can be a really good thing for pacing.

Is the concern about the cutting part? Like I said, cutting down isn’t always bad. Sometimes editorially it’s needed. Selling books is a business, and there’s a craft to editing in that business.

Oh yippee, my 200k isn’t that bad at all :joy::joy:

So much to unpack here.

First, traditional publishing is competitive. Of the books that make it to active querying, only about 1:5,000 snag an agent, and of THOSE, only 50-75% will sell THAT novel.

Why does that matter? Because the majority of the books on Wattpad are written by beginning writers. The chances that any one book – especially teen fiction written by a teen – would be picked up for traditional publishing even if queried is at lottery-winning odds.

The newbie writers here do NOT need to focus on length. Write long. Write short. Learn the CRAFT first. Publication is years down the line.

Unless of course, they self publish. Remember though – you can self publish crayon scribbles written by a three year old. The bar for self publishers is SALES. You cannot assume that because The Bad Boy and the Tomboy was self published that it would have been picked up for traditional publishing. Since the chapter title of the first chapter has a punctuation error, the second sentence is a fragment, and the first bit of dialogue is punctuated incorrectly, I’m going to guess that length isn’t its biggest problem, and it likely could have been edited down to a manageable size.

Now, cutting books into parts. It’s problematic, at best. Cutting a long book into parts is going to lose you readers. In traditional publishing, you RARELY see one story split into multiple books unless the book is really, really long – like Eragorn.

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I hate that publishers won’t accept long books. I love long long reads. I must be in the minority.

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They do. Length varies GREATLY by genre. And it’s also largely an issue of DEBUT writers – ones that don’t have a sales history.

Debuts are a financial risk. Trad publishers are paying for that book with ZERO guarantee they’ll make their money back. So to mitigate the risk, they analyze each genre to figure out what word count results in the most profit (highest price the public is willing to pay minus the lowest production cost). Manuscripts that are larger cost more to produce but cannot be priced high enough to offset that additional cost.

That doesn’t mean long debuts don’t happen. You bet they do! But the publisher has to be in love with the story or otherwise believe the book is likely to sell a LOT of copies to make up for the higher production cost.

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Me too. I especially dislike how short romance books need to be. I can finish most of them within an hour or three, and then what?

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Hello, I’m new here, I’m currently drafting my story and planning to publish it on WB, I’m also a reader and a bit confused with book length as a benchmark for publishing a book. As a reader I’d read anything short or long as long as the story is compelling, the characters interest me, the plot, the word flow and all other factors that hooked readers in general. Some stories needed longer pages to convey and some shorter, I guess it depends on the story itself rather than the word count? Maybe?

Definitely!

When talking about traditional publishing, though, it’s not just the story. It’s the BUSINESS. The publishers have to make a profit, so they consider cost to produce (and store and distribute and market) a book versus the amount they can sell it for. Books that are too short or too long aren’t likely to make a profit, so traditional publishing is less likely to take a chance on them from a debut writer. Once a writer has published and has solid sales – assuming they had solid sales – then the publisher is more open to unconventional word counts.

Self pub is a completely different model!!

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Me too. I was in heaven reading The Terror, because it was a thousand pages and so descriptive of that time period and life on a Victorian ship it was great value and a rip roaring read.

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I have a real gripe with Kindle books when the ebook is twice the price of the paperback.

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