Friday, June 22, 2007

How many words should your novel be?

If you're like me, you've probably wondered how long your novel should be--by word count. Publisher's guidelines vary a lot, but here's a list I've compiled of the word count for some popular Christian novels. They're listed by publisher in alphabetical order, and I plan to add to this list.

Raising Dragons by Bryan Davis (YA fantasy): 105K
The Candlestone
by Bryan Davis (YA fantasy): 110K
Circles of Seven
by Bryan Davis (YA fantasy): 120K
Tears of a Dragon
by Bryan Davis (YA fantasy): 103K
Eye of the Oracle
by Bryan Davis (YA fantasy): 182K
Enoch's Ghost
by Bryan Davis (YA fantasy): 121K
Last of the Nephilim
by Bryan Davis (YA fantasy): 131K

Barbour Trade fiction
Playing by Heart by Deborah Raney (novella): 30K
Bygones by Kim Sawyer (women’s fiction): 80K
Beginnings by Kim Sawyer (women’s fiction): 80K
The Redemption by MaryLu Tyndall (historical): 112K
The Reliance by MaryLu Tyndall (historical): 115K
Petticoat Ranch by Mary Connealy (historical): 92K

Bethany House
The Secret Life of Becky Miller by Sharon Hinck (mom lit): 85K
Renovating Becky Miller by Sharon Hinck (mom lit): 85K
Waiting for Summer’s Return by Kim Sawyer (historical): 92K
Where Willows Grow by Kim Sawyer (historical): 92K
Summer of the Midnight Sun by Tracie Peterson (historical): 102K
Sutter's Cross by W. Dale Cramer (contemporary): 112K
Bad Ground by W. Dale Cramer (contemporary): 104K
Levi's Will by W. Dale Cramer (contemporary): 109K
Summer of Light by W. Dale Cramer (contemporary): 97K


Crime Scene Jerusalem by Alton Gansky (suspense/historical): 83K
Veil of Fire
by Marlo Schalesky (historical): 82.5K

In Honor Bound by DeAnna Dodson (historical): 105K
By Love Redeemed by DeAnna Dodson (historical): 87K
To Grace Surrendered by DeAnna Dodson (historical): 92K

Abiding Darkness
by John Aubrey Anderson (suspense) 108K
Wedgewood Grey by John Aubrey Anderson (suspense) 102K
And If I Die by John Aubrey Anderson (suspense) 102K

Harvest House:

Kissing Adrien by Siri L. Mitchell (chick lit): 100K
Something Beyond the Sky by Siri L. Mitchell (women's fiction): 98K
The Cubicle Next Door by Siri L. Mitchell (chick lit): 98K
Moon Over Tokyo by Siri L. Mitchell (women's fiction): 88K
The Guy I’m Not Dating by Trish Perry (chick lit): 95K
Too Good to Be True by Trish Perry (chick lit): 95K
The Lost Sheep by Brandt Dodson (crime): 77K
The Root of All Evil by Brandt Dodson (crime): 75K
After Anne by Roxanne Henke (contemporary): 145K
Becoming Olivia by Roxanne Henke (contemporary): 134K
The Secret of Us by Roxanne Henke (contemporary): 124K

Heartsong (includes several imprints):
Spinning out of Control by Vickie McDonough (romance): 45-50K
The Bounty Hunter and the Bride by Vickie McDonough: 45-50K
Dear John, That Wilder Boy by Kim Sawyer (romance): 45-50K
Promising Angela by Kim Sawyer (romance): 45-50K
Of Mice ... and Murder by Mary Connealy (mystery): 58K
Golden Days by Mary Connealy (historical): 48K

Remember to Forget by Deborah Raney (women’s fiction): 85K
Shoofly Pie by Tim Downs (mystery): 97K
Chop Shop by Tim Downs (mystery): 93.5K

Sincerely, Mayla by Virginia Smith (Mar. '08) (contemporary): 80K
Just As I Am by Virginia Smith (contemporary): 62K
Pieces of Silver
by Maureen Lang: 118K
Remember Me by Maureen Lang: 118K


My Hands Came Away Red
by Lisa McKay (contemporary): 107K
A Shadow of Treason
by Tricia Goyer (historical): 88K
A Valley of Betrayal
by Tricia Goyer (historical): 93K
Arms of Deliverance by Tricia Goyer (historical): 90K

Faking Grace by Tamara Leigh (chick lit): 91K
Splitting Harriet
by Tamara Leigh (chick lit): 92K
Perfecting Kate
by Tamara Leigh (chick lit): 98K
Death of a Garage Sale Newbie
by Sharon Dunn (mystery): 70-80K
When the Day of Evil Comes
by Melanie Wells (suspense): 80-90K
Soul Hunter by Melanie Wells (suspense): 80-90K
Ransomed Dreams by Amy Wallace (romantic suspense): 93K
Dark Star by Creston Mapes
(suspense): 107K
Full Tilt by Creston Mapes
(suspense): 97.5K
obody by Creston Mapes (suspense): 98K

Stealing Adda
by Tamara Leigh (chick lit): 101K
Chateau of Echoes
by Siri L. Mitchell (women's fiction): 106K
The Big Picture by Jenny B. Jones (YA) (2008): 100K
On the Loose
by Jenny B. Jones (YA): 96K
In Between
by Jenny B. Jones (YA): 85K
The Restorer
by Sharon Hinck (fantasy): 110K
Watching the Tree Limbs by Mary DeMuth (coming of age): 84K
Wishing on Dandelions by Mary DeMuth (coming of age): 81K

Angel by Alton Gansky (suspense/supernatural): 89K

Stuck in the Middle by Virginia Smith (Feb. '08) (contemporary): 82K
The Pawn
Steven James (mystery): 111K
The Stones Cry Out
by Sibella Giorello (mystery): 54K
Pink by Marilynn Griffith (chick-lit): 90K
Jade by Marilynn Griffith
(chick-lit): 80K
Tangerine by Marilynn Griffith
(chick-lit): 80K
Turquoise by Marilynn Griffith
(chick-lit): 80K

Steeple Hill:
The Winter Pearl by Molly Noble Bull: 93K
Murder by Mushroom
by Virginia Smith (cozy mystery): 60K
Bluegrass Peril by Virginia Smith (Dec. '07): 60K
A Vow to Cherish by Deborah Raney (contemporary): 80K
Wild Rose by Ruth Axtell Morren: 100K
The Healing Season by Ruth Axtell Morren: 100K
The Elevator by Angela Hunt (contemporary): 82K

Tsaba House:
Sanctuary by Molly Noble Bull: 85K

Thomas Nelson:
The Oath by Frank Peretti (horror/suspense): 165K
The Visitation
by Frank Peretti (suspense): 163K
by Frank Peretti (suspense/adventure): 108K
House by Frank Peretti & Ted Dekker (thriller): 80K
Seclusion Point by John Perrodin & Jerry Jenkins (YA): 50K
Demon's Bluff
by John Perrodin & Jerry Jenkins (YA): 50K
The Tattooed Rats
by John Perrodin & Jerry Jenkins (YA): 50K
by Colleen Coble (suspense): 107K
Facing the Giants by Eric Wilson (contemporary): 70K
Split Ends by Kristin Billerbeck (chick-lit): 84-88K
Calm, Cool & Adjusted by Kristin Billerbeck (chick-lit): 84-88K
Comes a Horseman by Robert Liparulo (thriller): 145K
Germ by Robert Liparulo (thriller): 138K
Deadfall by Robert Liparulo (thriller): 125K
Uncharted by Angela Hunt (supernatural/suspense): 96K
Plague Maker by Tim Downs (suspense): 119K
Head Game by Tim Downs (thriller): 92K
First the Dead by Tim Downs (Dec. '07): 107K

Riven by Jerry B. Jenkins (contemporary): 160K
Left Behind by Jerry B. Jenkins (end times): 100K
Tribulation Force by Jerry B. Jenkins (end times): 102K

The Oak Leaves
by Maureen Lang (contemporary): 100K
On Sparrow Hill by Maureen Lang ('08): 100K
Doesn't She Look Natural? by Angela Hunt (contemporary): 104K
She Always Wore Red by Angela Hunt ('08) (contemporary): 110K

Urban Books
My Soul Cries Out by Sherri Lewis (95K)


A Nest of Sparrows by Deborah Raney (women’s fiction): 120K
Dark to Mortal Eyes by Eric Wilson (suspense): 125K
Expiration Date by Eric Wilson (suspense): 115K
The Best of Evil by Eric Wilson (mystery): 85K
A Shred of Truth by Eric Wilson (mystery): 85K
Thorn in My Heart by Liz Curtis Higgs (historical): 158k
Fair Is the Rose by Liz Curtis Higgs (historical): 152k
Whence Came a Prince by Liz Curtis Higgs (historical): 182k
Grace in Thine Eyes by Liz Curtis Higgs (historical): 140k

Beyond the Reflection's Edge by Bryan Davis (YA suspense): 108K
Zero-G by Alton Gansky (suspense/sci-fi): 99K
Finder's Fee by Alton Gansky (suspense): 87K
Amber Morn by Brandilyn Collins (suspense) ('08): 75-80K
Crimson Eve by Brandilyn Collins (suspense): 75-80K
Violet Dawn by Brandilyn Collins (suspense): 75-80K
Web of Lies
by Brandilyn Collins (suspense): 75-80K
Dead of Night
by Brandilyn Collins (suspense): 75-80K
Stain of Guilt by Brandilyn Collins (suspense): 75-80K
Brink of Death by Brandilyn Collins (suspense): 75-80K
Wounded Healer by Donna Fleisher (contemporary): 85K
Warrior’s Heart by Donna Fleisher (contemporary): 87K
Valiant Hope by Donna Fleisher (contemporary): 95K
Standing Strong by Donna Fleisher (contemporary): 92K
Presumed Guilty by James Scott Bell (legal thriller): 90-95K
No Legal Grounds by James Scott Bell (legal thriller): 90-95K
Last Light by Terri Blackstock (suspense): 90K
Night Light by Terri Blackstock (suspense): 97K
True Light by Terri Blackstock (suspense): 80K
Fair Game by Elizabeth White (contemporary/romance): 97K
Off the Record by Elizabeth White (contemporary): 88K

Monday, June 18, 2007

My Dad's Best Advice

Many of you probably already know about this piece in, but just in case you haven't seen ... I had the chance to ask 31 authors, "What's the best advice your father ever gave you?"

Included are quotes (in no particular order) from Michael Landon Jr., Francine Rivers, Bryan Davis, Dallas Jenkins, Mary DeMuth, Melanie Wells, F.P. Lione, Roxanne Henke, Tricia Goyer, James Scott Bell, Karen Ball, Julie Carobini, Justin Lookadoo, Tamara Leigh, Bill Myers, Sibella Giorello, Tim Downs, Robin Lee Hatcher, Deborah Raney, Donna Fleisher, Nicole Young, Mindy Starns Clark, Amy Wallace, James Pence, Sharon Hinck, Jenny B. Jones, Wayne Thomas Batson, Marilynn Griffith, John Aubrey Anderson, Nikki Arana, and Brandt Dodson.

Paternal insight galore! Check it out here.

This started to make me think, "How would I answer this question?" So here goes:

My Dad's best advice has been a way of being more than a one-liner nugget of wisdom. My Dad has showed me through his life how important it is to stay young at heart. And have fun and be goofy. As a teenager I remember being mortified on more than one occasion by my Dad's silly antics. Case in point: he gave voices to many of our stuffed animals, delighting us each time. But when the stuffed Pound Puppy drove up to the bank teller window and asked for money, I wanted to melt into the floor! The teller just looked at the dog (and my Dad I'm sure), smiled nicely and asked, "Do you have an account here?"

But despite my teenage misgivings, that's what I most admire in my Dad today. He doesn't care what people think. He's willing to take risks and be adventurous. I want to be more like that in my life.

How about you? What's the best advice your Dad ever gave you?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Thinking blog award

My friend WordVixen has tagged me for a Thinking Blog Award. Thank you WordVixen!

The 5 blogs that make me think are:

Charis Connection - a wonderful blog where several published authors share five days a week inspiring and informative writing advice, specifically for the Christian writer (though all can benefit, really).

The Writing Life - W. Terry Whalin's blog on writing is a wonderful resource for all writers. As a writer who's been an editor and is now a literary agent, Terry always has something interesting to share.

Keep Me In Suspense - With articles specifically for suspense writers, I've found great tidbits here on police work, lawyers, and more.

Novel Journey - Every day a new author interview is posted, and the weekends have devotionals and book news. I've been following this blog from its beginnings.

My Writing Mentor - This blog is really just what it's title suggests: a place where writers can be mentored and ask those burning questions we all have! Very encouraging.

I could share more, but I'm supposed to keep it to five. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Flashes of Inspiration

My cyber-friend Katie Hart has an inspiring post up at her MyCCM blog. Here's how her post starts:

"One of the things I enjoy most about being a writer: those flashes of inspiration. You can be doing anything - working on your current novel, taking a walk, listening to a sermon (and if you're taking notes, you have pen and paper to jot down the idea before you lose it!), or even brushing your teeth."

Read the whole post here and add your comments on how you managed your flashes of inspiration.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Learning from Nonfiction

Even though the best way to learn how to write novels is to read other novels, I can always benefit from reading nonfiction. For example, magazine articles can be studied for how the author does or doesn't write a provocative opening line. That can be applied to my short stories.

A bit ago I read the book Lost in the Amazon by Stephen Kirkpatrick. It's a nonfiction narrative about a fateful trip the author took to the Amazon on a photography expedition. I saw the technique in how the book opened with a tense prologue where the author was lost in the jungle--desperate, frightened, and angry at God. But then the author cut away and started Chapter one weeks before that scene actually happened, building up to the desperate moment for a good part of the book. It's a technique that could be applied to novels. I've seen Mary Higgins Clark do this, where she uses the prologue as a teaser. We know the character is going to be in that terrible position soon, and we're looking for it.

I also read biographies of people in the professions of my characters to better learn how they tick. For example, one of my characters is a cop. I'm trying to learn as much as I can about police work, so I bought the book Blue Blood by Edward Conlon, as well as several others. Biographies can give great insights into the psyche of people I might not otherwise have learned. Another example would be when I bought the book On Their Own by Martha Shirk, about kids who age out of the foster care system. One of my characters is a teenager in foster care, and I understood her better by reading that nonfiction book. I'd encourage any fiction writer to read biographies or diaries of people in similar predicaments as your characters.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Ask Terry Whalin

"What is your most important question about book proposals and how to grab an editor's attention?"

Here's your chance to ask someone who knows. On June 5th at 8:30 p.m. EST, Terry Whalin will be answering your questions during a 70 minute teleseminar.

But your chance to ask him a question starts now! Visit the website: for all the details (and don't be alarmed when Terry's voice starts talking to you when the page loads).

W. Terry Whalin is a multi-published literary agent who's also been an acquisitions editor. He really does know both sides of the desk and has written the very helpful text Book Proposals that $ell.

Visit Terry's website for even more information about him. He has also created a helpful website for writers called Right-Writing that's chock full of advice. And nearly every day you can find a new post at his popular blog The Writing Life.

Friday, June 01, 2007

First Blog Tour - Prints Charming by Rebeca Seitz

It is JUNE 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST chapter!

This month's feature is:

Rebeca Seitz

and her book:


(Thomas Nelson Publishers, March 15, 2007)


Rebeca Seitz is Founder and President of Glass Road Public Relations. An author for several years, Rebeca cut her publicity teeth as the first dedicated publicist for the fiction division of Thomas Nelson Publishers. In 2005, Rebeca resigned from WestBow and opened the doors of GRPR, the only publicity firm of its kind in the country dedicated solely to representing novelists writing from a Christian worldview. Rebeca has worked with such esteemed authors as Robin Jones Gunn, Ted Dekker, Frank Peretti, Walter Wangerin, Jr., DiAnn Mills, Brandilyn Collins, Colleen Coble, Melody Carlson, and numerous others. She has secured coverage for novelists in a variety of media outlets, including The Today Show, USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Publishers Weekly, Christian Retailing, Aspiring Retail, Southern Living, Daystar Television, HarvestTV, WAY-FM, K-LOVE, and others. Rebeca makes her home in Kentucky with her husband, Charles, and their son, Anderson.

Read the first chapter here.