I'm writing my first novel. It's young adult, realistic fiction and I'm struggling to find a word count balance. I don't want my manuscript to be too long and turn off a literary agent (if I ever get so far as them requesting to see one!). What is your general word count for a novel? I'm at 96,000 right now and cutting. Thanks!
Here's something that BookEnds,LLC wrote about word count. I'm copying and pasting the specific portion written about YA below. The full article is found here:
"YA: 50,000 to 75,000, and yes, this is an area that can get really fudgy (I made that up), but again, in the 80,000 range is good. **I corrected these numbers after feedback from others (and comment from Kim) although I do think with YA these days you can still be safe in 80,000 words although maybe a tad high. Fantasy YA of course can be higher."
Best of luck!
Thank you! That helps a lot. Now I just need to get slash happy. It's just so hard because everything I've written seems important to character development. But... I am the author so my eyes are certainly not the clearest.
Happy to help. Here's an article posted by agent Rachelle Gardner about cutting out unnecessary words. Hopefully this also helps :)
You're within most guidelines. As a very general rule for a first time, untested writer, 100k is at the upper end of what's acceptable for submission (and it's often less for romance and YA-more like 80-90k). There are always exceptions, of course, but it's a good idea to keep this in mind. If you have access to the Writer's Market, take a look at both their literary agents and publishing house listings; many of them specify their rules for first time submissions--at least, enough do to get a general idea of what the market is currently supporting. Once you get an idea of which agents and housed you are interested in querying, you can often research their suggested word cunt more thoroughly.
Thank you. I'll look into Writer's Market. I really appreciate the tip!
I suggest you check Nathan Bransford's blog. He's very helpful and knowledgeable. Until about a year ago, he was a literary agent - now writes YA. He has a number of posts on word count. http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2008/02/novel-word-count.html#uds-s...
I write legal thrillers and try to keep my word count 65,000 - 80,000. Terminal Ambition is just shy of 70,000.
Kate, thank you for the blog reference. I'll definitely check that out! My goal is about 80-85,000 words.
If they are the right words, there will be a lot of flexibility on the agent/editor end of the equation. Make sure those first pages/chapter are the right place to start. Make sure the first line, and every line after it serves a purpose. Raise the shades on your world and dump us in so deeply we never want to leave. Those are the critical edits to make.
A word count anywhere from 70-99K is okay for YA, but what's most important is having the right words in place.
Best of luck on your revisions!
Thank you Melanie for the advice and perspective with word count. I'm striving to make every word count and delete all words that don't.
check the writer's market and see what the target word count is for your particular area.
One publisher namely "Fire and Ice" is looking for 40,000 to 100,000 words. check out several publishers specifications.
That's my advice. Good luck. i would go low rather than high, because unless you have a good story no young adult is going to read a really long book.
I write YA - check me out on Amazon . I tend to stick at 60 -80 thou. 80 thou is tops. As others have said, check what's on the shelves in your genre, bear in mind there are always exceptions - Harry Potter was waayyy longer than anyone had written before. Also, your first page MUST sparkle, grab and entice. Remove surplus adjectives, and 'he said's. Try reading it out loud to get the pace and sound of the language.
Also see if you can summarise it in 4 sentences - good way to check if it's got too much plottaGE. gOOD LUCK, i REALLY HOPE YOU oops, capslock errore! find a publisher. My blog is at http://carolhedges.blogspot.com. Stay in touch. A writer called Kelly Hashway on this site is also worth friending. She's very supportive and helpful. xx
Thank you Carol! I'll look you up on Amazon. I've set aside Monday to sit down and read aloud as much of my manuscript as possible! I love the 4 sentence idea. I've been writing my query letter and it's certainly been a challenge. That should help simply things. Thank you!