What length should your first masterpiece (debut novel be)?
After I started writing, I started reading blogs and forums and looking for answers to questions this being one of them. The vast amount of information out there is a little overwhelming. The genre of your work affects the length of your novel as well.
Here are just some of the answers I found (k stands for 1000):
- never submit a debut novel over 50k
- a debut novel needs to be at least 70k to be considered
- fantasy, debut or not, should be at least 100k
- agents are looking for novels with more meat (hence larger books)
- agents are looking for short debut novels to introduce authors to the public
Let me say upfront, you write until your done and then edit. I got that, but I’m a goal-oriented gal, visually oriented, which means I like to see progress. So, I arbitrarily picked 50k for my rough-first-exploratory draft that way if I go over it will be a bonus. I made myself a word graphic, and I have displayed it over on the right. It’s a fun way to get me to write too!
For my novelist readers:
What was the length of your debut novel or what are you planning to make it?
For my reading readers:
What size novel do you prefer to read from a debut novelist?
Update: As of 2017, the standard, average length for an adult debut novel — when looking for an agent or publisher — is 80k. Young adult is 60k and Middle Grade is 30k. I pooled the numbers from several agent/agency/publisher sites. Scifi and fantasy will go higher due to world-building, but don’t go over 110k for an adult debut.
image by openclipart.org