I’ve had so many conversations about word count , and I’ve responded to many queries with a request for the author to add more material to make it marketable, or to edit (in some cases drastically!) to bring the word count within that same range that I thought I would share with you the one magic number. This isn’t the be-all, end-all number, and this isn’t for every author and every genre and every circumstance. But generally speaking, this is the number you’re looking for:
If you are writing fiction for an adult market and you have not been published before, that is the magic number. A little high or a little low? It’s okay. Fantasy and Sci-Fi run higher due to world building. YA can be 10,000-20,000 words less.
I don’t recommend you to try to write to that number, however. Tell your story. When you finish writing your story, take a look at your word count and then edit it down or beef it up as needed. Allowing details of the post-production to bog down the creative process is dangerous.
And what happens if you’ve written a story and it’s complete at 30,000 words, or even 50,000? You’ve got yourself a novella. Don’t fret, there are places to sell those, too. But that’s a post for another day.
Have you heard of any mainstream publishing word count recommendations? We’d love to hear from you.