This was the question I asked a friend recently about my draft text for the book I’m writing.
He has published himself, though not in my genre of historical non-fiction/biography/architecture. Nonetheless I was still interested in his answer.
He told me that for his first book he had written as much as he could and this had ended up at 70,000 words. However in retrospect for his next book he would be happy with just 30,000 words. What matters is quality and whether you have got your main messages across in the text you have written.
This all makes sense to me and I have reached a point where I kind of know how much more I’m going to write. The final amount will depend on a number of factors in my case:
– whether I fill in gaps in content or simply remove a topic
– how many images I include
– how many words I think my editor should be allowed to play with
– what feels just right to me
The last criterion is important as I’m writing the book for myself ultimately. I do want others to enjoy it, but ultimately I am the one who has to be happy with the end product. If I write another book then perhaps my motives will change and my approach will be different. But that’s a whole different story.