Talking Nonfiction: Word Count and Promotion

Publish date:

Here are some questions that
came in recently. Both had
to do with nonfiction.

Q. For nonfiction: Once the book is published, is the author required to keep a website going about themselves & the product? Or does agent do all promoting?

A. Great question. An agent will do little to nothing in terms of promotion because that is not their job. With luck, the publishing house will help back you with marketing and promotion, but that much more often that not does not happen. It will be your job to have an electronic platform in place to promote the work. Like agent Ted Weinstein mentioned on the blog a few weeks ago, when you are going to sell a nonfiction book, you almost have to assume that you are self-publishing it - meaning that are you already have channels in place to sell it.

Q. Is there a minimum word count for nonfiction? Can a book be too short?

A. It depends on the book. My wife just picked up that gift book called Grandma’s Dead: Breaking Bad News With Baby Animals, which is filled with pictures of cute animals and only one line of terrible news every two pages. That book has maybe 400 words total.
As a nonfiction writer myself, I know this is tough. How do we approximate word count? Should a diet book be 30,000 words or 45,000? The best thing that you can do is look over comparable books and try to judge word count by their size, average words/page, and illustration content. After that, your agent will be able to help you more.

Image placeholder title

Jane K. Cleland: On Writing the Successful Long-Running Series

Award-winning mystery author Jane K. Cleland describes what it's like to write a long-running book series and offers expert advice for the genre writer.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: #StartWrite, Virtual Conference, and New Courses

This week, we’re excited to announce free resources to start your writing year off well, our Novel Writing Virtual Conference, and more!


20 Most Popular Writing Posts of 2020

We share a lot of writing-related posts throughout the year on the Writer's Digest website. In this post, we've collected the 20 most popular writing posts of 2020.


Carla Malden: Writing With Optimism and Innocence

Screenwriter and author Carla Malden explains why young adult fiction and the '60s go hand-in-hand and how she connected with her main character's voice.


Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Talking About the Work-in-Progress

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake writers make is talking about the work-in-progress.


Greta K. Kelly: Publishing Is a Marathon

Debut author Greta K. Kelly reveals how the idea for her novel sparked and the biggest surprise of her publication journey.

Poetic Forms

Mistress Bradstreet Stanza: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the Mistress Bradstreet stanza, an invented form of John Berryman.


Capital vs. Capitol (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use capital vs. capitol with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.


On Writing to Give Grief Meaning and Write Out of Challenging Situations

Author Lily Dulan explains why writers have to be willing to go to difficult places inside themselves for their writing to make a positive impact on ourselves, others, and the world.