Word Count for YA Novels

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I attended the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference over the past weekend. It was awesome! It was my first Writer’s Conference. It was so much fun meeting a few agents from New York, one from Canada, and one from California. I had fun mingling with other writers. The food was wonderful as well. Although I learned a ton at the conference, I want to discuss one point: WORD COUNT.

I wrote a young adult novel and pitched it at the conference. I’m not giving any details on it yet because I’m working on a few things, which may change it. I will definitely talk about it more later. When I completed my book the first time, I was around 130,000 words. I had no idea what was “normal.” I cut it down to 89,000 words, which is good, but after my last edits, I increased it to 94,000 words. I was told to try to cut it down some more.

Why is word count important? Well, I’m sure there are numerous reasons, but here are some that come to mind.

  • Books aren’t cheap to print. More words = more expensive to print. It’s a greater risk for new authors.
  • Too much back story. Readers get bored. They want to get to the story.
  • Too much filling in the blank. Readers can connect the dots. We don’t need to tell them everything.

There is no “perfect” number. I found this great article on the blog Swivet called: All new & revised: On word counts and novel length.

The article recommends:

YA fiction = For mainstream YA, anywhere from about 45k to 80k; paranormal YA or YA fantasy can occasionally run as high as 120k but editors would prefer to see them stay below 100k. The second or third in a particularly bestselling series can go even higher. But it shouldn’t be word count for the sake of word count.

YA author, Veronica Roth, recommends: “The average YA book is 80,000 to 90,000 words for a new author (or somewhere around there).”

My goal is to chop it down to 90,000 or below. Looks like I am going to have to do some chopping.

 

 


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