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Writing Books/submission confusion


QUESTION: Hello and thanks.
My character-driven novel has strong elements of the supernatural and suspense. However, most of it takes place in my protagonist's head as he slowly dies.  This includes the creepy antagonists from his haunted childhood.  In the end, however, his imagined monster comes to life in hot pursuit of those killers.
What genre do I classify this in, and what should its maximum word count be for submission?

ANSWER: Hello John,

Intriguing... I would suggest the horror genre,and perhaps even the fantasy/sci fi genre, although I've not read your work. My recently published book "Light Of Dark", is classified under the Thriller genre, even though it too, has a lot of the supernatural element attached to it.

Small suggestion: I would really watch your POV too. It sounds like you have several POV's hard at work in your novel, just be careful not to jump around too much and lose your reader in the process.

The size of the novel depends on the author usually, but don't let it exceed a word count of 85,000. My fantasy series "A Moment In Time" varies with each book, from 50,000 to approximately 75,000 resulting in 400 to 600 pages.

Be certain to make your synopsis very clear when submitting, and my suggestion would be to seek out an agent before a publisher.Most agents requires a few chapters only along with a really good synopsis and a bio. Follow their requirements to the letter. You don't want to end up in a slush pile. A well edited piece will catch their eye faster than one not edited. Lastly, something I advise all potential writers/authors... watch out for the scams. It's your work, be careful with it. If something sounds too good to be true... it usually is.

Good luck,


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Your help is greatly appreciated.  Thank you.
The max word count of 85,000 surprises me.  When I googled "fiction word count" every response was 120,000.  Wow!  Why such a significant difference?  What is the proper formula for a word count?  Where might I find your writing?
Again, thank you so much.

Hello again,

Whenever I've spoken with agents or publishers, the most interesting comment I hear is how much they wish writers would not put a lot of "filler" in their novels just to fill the pages and meet lengthy word counts. Of course, it can be debated amongst writers as to what would constitute "filler" and I'm sure many arguments would be had from both sides of this thin coin.

A word count of 85,000 is naturally a base and of course one cannot be expected to write within tight constrictions of "word counts". Most write as the story flows from us? However, from a publishers point of view, the cost of printing each book comes into play and a book of over 700 pages will be high in costs to reproduce. I have always stayed within the 85,000 word count, give or take a few either way, and have allowed my editors to decide if they felt a few thousand more or less was needed. It's what they get paid for. There are many avenues a writer can take to offset costs, independent publishers, self-created websites, storefronts...

Of course, John, this is all suggestions on my part and perhaps, opinions that could be argued. This has worked for me. Whichever route you go, I hope you are successful with your writing.


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J.L. Slipak


Novel writing is my specialty but I've several articles advocating for human rights and the rights of special needs. I've also written children stories, historical romance, fantasy, trilogies, and non-fiction. I have editorial experience and have worked with literary agents, self-publishing, publishing companies in both the United States and Canada. I imagine I can answer any questions asked about this field, and if not, can direct the question to someone who could.


six articles, two novels, three children's books, two triologies and currently working on an auto-biography

BFA, working towards my masters

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