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Thread: Minimum Word Count Requirement?? (YA)

  1. #1
    Banned for Trolling Requiescat In Pace
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    Minimum Word Count Requirement?? (YA)

    With a 75K-80K word count I think I can achieve all of my objectives. But I was recently told that "most" publishers ask for a word-count of 90K-130K. This has me concerned. Will they reject the query itself if it is below this, or will they at least read the manuscript and then decide?
    Last edited by A Named Pen; 07-03-2010 at 01:52 AM.

  2. #2
    Hot bug on doll action! Use Her Name's Avatar
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    It really depends on the genre. I write lit/mainstream and the word count needs to be about 70-90K or so for a new author. A fantasy novel is often much larger than that. I just suggest you do some sniffing around for the correct length your novel should be.

  3. #3
    Agented YA Writer Ryan_Sullivan's Avatar
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    If you're writing for YA, you're on the high end. If you're writing for adults, you should be just fine (with the exception of high concept fantasy/sci-fi that requires world building).

    Writer, grad student and optimist, rep'd by Steve Malk.
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    Thanks guys. You solved the problem of the word count.

    I am actually pretty confused about what genre it fits into though... All I can figure is that it should be in a "Philosophical Young Adult" section (I don't know if that section exists, but it should!) I know I will have to specify, but I think I should worry about that once I complete my first draft.
    Last edited by A Named Pen; 07-03-2010 at 03:11 AM.

  5. #5
    i AM batman (not really) myrmidon's Avatar
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    In my experience, limited though it is, it really doesn't matter so long as the work is good. The first draft of my YA novel (before I knew everything there was to know about word count guidelines - thanks AW!) was way short at 55k, yet I still got requests from my queries. But the ms wasn't working and so I got rejections.

    Based on feedback I ended up combining what I had intended to be three books into one big YA tome. Now my word count was technically way over "appropriate" for YA sitting at 120k...but I still got multiple requests for representation.

    Through my very long revision process, my agent did suggest we cut down, and I did, but I added too and by the end we're at 130k and it's feeling pretty tight.

    Stories come in all shapes, sizes, and lengths you've just got to find the right one for yours. If the work is good I certainly believe it can transcend most guidelines...that said, if your work can fit within the "preferred guidelines" it's one less obstacle and all the easier to get through the agent/publisher door! And it sounds like if you're writing YA that you're in the ballpark right now.

    As I understand it for YA, one of the benefits of books being Young Adult is that all the YA goes together - so if you're YA, you're just YA and you probably don't have to worry about classifying it beyond that.

    Good luck!

  6. #6
    Agented YA Writer Ryan_Sullivan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A Named Pen View Post
    Thanks guys. You solved the problem of the word count.

    I am actually pretty confused about what genre it fits into though... All I can figure is that it should be in a "Philosophical Young Adult" section (I don't know if that section exists, but it should!) I know I will have to specify, but I think I should worry about that once I complete my first draft.
    Then you're perfect--but don't go much higher.

    Writer, grad student and optimist, rep'd by Steve Malk.
    *Thanks everyone for the rep points/comments--I appreciate them!

  7. #7
    Banned for Trolling Requiescat In Pace
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    Word Count >----> check

    Genre >-----> check

    Faaaaantastic!

    Thanks everyone :-)

  8. #8
    my name is hannah Shady Lane's Avatar
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    For the record, my debut YA was 42K, so 55K isn't "way under" the requirements by any means. It's a little short if it's fantasy, but otherwise that's pretty much right in the sweet spot.
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  9. #9
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    I personally like reading shorter novels. I am sure a lot of people do too. My ideal is 300 pages in finished books form. I would go to 350 if I have more of a story.

    On the genre. Frankly, the book stores I have seen seem to rank a genre by 3 descriptions. For example, a YA novel about robbing a bank in the 1930's might be YA, Nostalgic, and Adventure. My problem with Genres is that there is a lot of straddling.

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