This is another topic I've pulled from one of my Linked In Groups
The epublishabook website posted an excellent blog about the best lengh for an e-book. On one section, they broke the types of writing down by word count. I thought it was brilliant.
Fortunately, MS Word and most other word processing software packages give you the word count automatically. Despite the proliferation of e-publishing, I'm personally tied to page length. I can wrap my head around that number a little better. Here's how you might do a conversion.
When I'm working on a story, I typically double space with at least a twelve point font (Times New Roman).
The novel I e-published with my wife weighs in just under 58,000 words and using those settings it covers about 230 pages. (It was quite a bit longer, but I cut about a hundred pages of text that didn't advance the plot. It was grueling throwing it all out -- but it made it a much better book.)
So, that's about two hundred and fifty words a page.
Using that same coversion, the page counts come out something like this:
Vignett: Under 10 Pages
Short Short story: Under 20
Short story: Under 40 pages
Novelette: 30 - 100 pages
Novella: 80 - 200 pages
Novel: 200 - 480 pages
Optimal E-book: 240 - 320 pages
Epic: 440 + pages (Can you say Trilogy?)
Excessive (?): 480 + Pages
(Adapted from Digital Books and Book Length.)
This is helpful to me. My current project is currently weighing in around 100 pages and I know not to call it a "Novel", per se.
So, how long should your e-published work be? Your length should only be as long as the story demands. If you, like Hemmingway, can tell a compelling story with six words, don't use seven.
If your compelling story takes 120,000 words (480 pages!) to unfold, don't stop writing because of a word count. If your readers have stuck with you for the first 100,00 words, they must be liking what you're doing. JK Rowling wrote long books because her fans simply couldn't get enough of Harry Potter. Keep writing until you give your readers the satisfying resolution (or lack thereof...) they deserve.
I think the main situation where word length comes into play in an e-publishing environment is price. As a consumer, I would expect there to be a link between word count and pricing. So, shorter books should cost less -- unless they are fabulous.
Best of luck to all of you!