***My apologies for not releasing this post yesterday as planned. My computer is acting up a little and deleted part of the original post so I had to rewrite it this morning.***
For the past 50+ years I’ve spent my spare time writing words. Tons of words. Millions of words. And like the picture above says, words have power.
When Story Catcher Publishing opens up for submission in the Fall, we will be looking closely at all the words coming in those query letters. Studying them closely to see if some of those words capture our attention enough to make us ask for more. Then the truly hard work begins when the actual manuscripts start rolling in.
Newbie writers may not fully understand how important it is to carefully weigh each word they use in their stories. Generally speaking, the shorter the story, the more powerful each and every word becomes. Below is a general countdown to the word count for each genre Story Catcher Publishing will be looking at…
FICTION PICTURE BOOKS
Word count can be 50 to 1000 but industry sweet spot is between 300-500 words typically. Don’t use words that can be inferred through illustrations. Don’t use words far beyond the reading level of your target audience. Make sure those words weave a story with a strong beginning hook, engaging middle and a satisfying ending.
FICTION EARLY READER CHAPTER BOOKS
Word count can run anywhere from 6,000 to 10,000 words. Most of the books Story Catcher Publishing has been releasing has been around 10,000 words. Early Reader Chapter Books challenge those new readers to expand their reading ability. This when writers can add an additional theme or even sub-characters storylines into their manuscripts. Early Reader Chapter Books typically still have some illustrations inside but not at the level you see in picture books.
FICTION MIDDLE GRADE BOOKS
Word count typically runs between 25,000 and 40,000 words. Industry sweet spot is around 35,000 words. Story Catcher Publishing hasn’t released any middle grade books at this time, so any writers who decide to work with us will have to have a very strong story to begin with. This genre of books have both stand alone and serial titles where readers will find deeper subject matter and sometimes even controversial topics not usually seen in picture books and early reader chapter books.
YOUNG ADULT BOOKS
Word count will run anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 words with the sweet spot being around 75,000 words. Sub-genres can cover everything from steampunk to fantasy, science fiction to historical, and everything in between. Longer chapters with multiple storylines for the main and sub-characters. The worlds found in this genre range everywhere from real to others created within the writer’s own imagination. Young adult books might include magic, time travel, portals, mythical creatures, war torn landscapes, new worlds and everything in between. The sky is the limit with this genre and any creations/situations within the storyline must still fall within the range of “believable” to the target audiences.
Word count for this category would vary widely depending on the type of manuscript. Story Catcher Publishing will be considering specialty books which could include low-content (coloring books or activity books), memoirs, journals, short stories, anthologies, etc. The subject matter will really have to capture our attention, but we are open to the possibility.
Do you write outside of these listed genres, but are still interested in talking to us about your story?
You are welcome to drop us a query letter when we open for submissions in the fall, but please realize Story Catcher Publishing probably won’t be the best partner for your project. We want to focus on the genres we are best qualified to help our authors achieve their goals of building a writing career. And the only way to do that is to focus on all those fabulous words coming our way later this year, because EACH WORD COUNTS!
Hybrid published author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Alliance of Independent Authors, and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.
Want to connect?
LinkedIn: Donna L Martin/Story Catcher Publishing
Goodreads: Donna L Martin
Mail: Donna L Martin
c/o Story Catcher Publishing
P O Box 27788
Knoxville, Tn 37927