Friday, February 4, 2011

Size matters

Is it true that literary agents reject writers because their novel is too short? If so, what would the general word count be for a young adult novel?

Yes, it's true. But it's not because we're inherently anti-short novels. It's because publishers like books to be of a certain length - and that's entirely to do with how much they want to be able to charge for a book and how much paper they will have to buy in order to print the book and make the costing work at the RRP ...

Young adult novels, however, can be shorter than adult novels. And that's because the price points are lower: generally under $20. I don't know that you'd want to attempt to place anything under 30 000 words and Harry Potter et al have shown us that the upper limits for a word count can be nudged a little. So anywhere between 30 000 and Hogwarts. But I'm also a fan of not writing to the word count: write the story and see where it takes you before you count the words.

1 comment:

arbraun said...

I agree. It could harm the story to dictate a certain word count. Like Stephen King said, "The story is the boss."