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  • Minumum word count accepted for non-fiction by publishers?
    by Zeena at 22:27 on 19 January 2010
    Hello, I've decided to go for it and embark on a non-fiction book, I think I've got it in me!

    I'm just wondering if anyone can give me an idea of what minimum wordcount publishers would consider acceptable for a non-fiction work?




  • Re: Minumum word count accepted for non-fiction by publishers?
    by NMott at 22:34 on 19 January 2010
    Hi, Zeena, and welcome to WriteWords.

    As it's non-fiction it's a difficult question to answer. There are recognised wordcounts for fiction, but with non-fiction it depends on several factors, including subject matter and the number of illustrations/photos (assuming you intend to include any).
    Also with most non-ficion the writer would put together a book proposal and submit that to publishers who specialise in that type of non-fiction, and only go ahead and write the book if one of the publishers commissions it.

    Probably the best thing to to find a few published books on a similar subject to yours to get a rough idea of the word count.



    - NaomiM
  • Re: Minumum word count accepted for non-fiction by publishers?
    by Zeena at 12:20 on 20 January 2010
    Hi Naomi, thanks for the welcome and advice:-)

    I'm really hoping I have enough to include in a book before I put together the proposal, don't want to put in a proposal if I don't have quite enough to get to the wordcount required. I guess I would need to give a good indication of how long the book is likely to be when competed in the proposal?

    I did find a website suggesting a minimum of 25,000 words? I think that it is likely I shall reach this.



  • Re: Minumum word count accepted for non-fiction by publishers?
    by EmmaD at 12:26 on 20 January 2010
    Hi Zeena, and welcome to WW.

    I know the minimum for an academic monograph is around the 45-50,000 word mark, but then they're reckoning on 30-40pp of notes and bibliography after that.

    I'd have thought that 25,000 was very slim indeed, and therefore very hard to sell, unless it's for something which is also going to be highly illustrated.

    Emma
  • Re: Minumum word count accepted for non-fiction by publishers?
    by NMott at 12:44 on 20 January 2010
    As Emma says, a 25K books would have to be very heavily illustrated. Twice that would be better, plus some illustrations, but for adult fiction and memoir-type books, the minimum would be 80K.
  • Re: Minumum word count accepted for non-fiction by publishers?
    by Jess at 11:31 on 01 February 2010
    To be honest if you think you will struggle to even reach the 25k mark, I would suggest looking at your idea again and assessing whether there is really enough substance in it to make a book. Even a short non-fiction book with lots of white space and some illustrations would be more likely to be 40k or so.
  • Re: Minumum word count accepted for non-fiction by publishers?
    by Steerpike`s sister at 15:44 on 01 February 2010
    'Course it depends what genre, as well. I can imagine that a very slim but thoughtful and beautifully produced volume on say, philosophy or a tiny splinter of history or a cross-genre, quirky thing could work. There are those pamphlets on topics like 'dry stone walling' or 'the golden ratio' which sell well.
    I should look in shops for books that are comparable to the one you intend to write, and compare all aspects.
  • Re: Minumum word count accepted for non-fiction by publishers?
    by EmmaD at 16:28 on 01 February 2010
    Yes, there is the little book which sits by the till...

    Emma