I have been working ona novel for the past couple of years. On a few occasions I felt as if I had completed work on it, and began the task of finding a publisher for this book.
It's a scifi fantasy with strong religious themes, and recently I learned from some published authors that the minimum word length of a fantasy novel is usually 75,000 words. At the time I received that advice, my manuscript was sitting at 58,000 words, so I was seriously on the short side.
Fortunately, this book is the first in a series of novels I've planned, so to fill in the gaps I started introducing characters and themes that I plan to flesh out more thoroughly in subsequent books in the series.
After milking this for everything its worth, I'm sitting just a hair over 74,000 words, still short of my goal of 75k. I am sure that when an editor starts editing, it will shrink more. I just wonder if there are any published authors out there who can tell me if I'm worrying too much about word count, or if this is a legitimate concern?
This is definitely a legitimate concern! And 75,000 wds is still remarkably short--it's perfect for a YA novel (a short one at that) 50-75 K is pretty standard for middle grade novels. 80-120K is standard for most novels (roughly 200-300 pages, anything longer is generally an industry pariah). Check out some great resources like agentquery.com and the writers market for more solid info.
That said, good writing is good writing. A story should be as long as it takes to tell. If you are "milking" the story you have, consider writing the next parts instead and making the original submission a larger portion of the series... one submission of two books or three etc.
Personally I wouldn't worry about the number of words or pages. If a book with an excellent story can be written in 60 pages its worth keeping it as it is. Don't just add in "snow job" fillers. GL with your book and I wouldn't worry about it, but thats me personally.
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