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Writing Books/Word length for memoirs


I'm writing a book about my experiences as a Girl Scout leader to a rather unusual group of girls...the book is just over 50,000 words right now, which I'm worried is too short. How long should it be?

Hi Kathleen:

Unfortunately, there are no "shoulds" for book length to guide us. Publishers like longer books because they can charge more for them, but on the other hand, they most often have to pay more for them, too. If you will take a walk through your library or bookstore, you will see that books come in all sizes. Perhaps your book is finished at 50,000 - who knows?

By way of encouragement, it sounds like your book will have considerable humor in it, which is good. Publishers love humor.

If I were in your position, I would go to some writers' groups (you can find them at, geocities and MSN), post some chapers - one at al time - and ask people to tell you if they saw a point where they wanted to know more. Another good place is The people there are both wise and generous. You can, of course, post different chapters at different forums.

I hope this helps. If it does, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 700 questions.

And good luck with your writing!

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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