Dear Polly, I recently completed an upper middle grade SFF novel. It is 72,500 words and I wanted to ask if this length is acceptable for the genre and age group? Many thanks.
Thank you for getting in touch.
Nobody is going to turn down a brilliant novel because it’s too long, so don’t worry too much about word count. That said, I think most editors and agents lean towards brevity, so if you can get the 72,500 words down to around 60,000 – 65,000, without compromising your book, it would probably be no bad thing. (A good place to start might be with adjectives, as there is a tendency amongst debut authors to over-use them; ditto similes.) As I say though, if a novel is really special, no agent or editor will pass on it because it’s too long.
Good luck when you submit it to agents.