Some agents/publishers explicitly state a word count range in their submission guidelines, so follow that if available. If not, 80-100k is a
good standard to aim for, though YA novels tend to be on the shorter side (less than 80k).
Resource: Word count for Publishing?: Creative Writing Forums: Apr 12, 2012
Rejection is the one thing you can count on in this business, which is why …. The average adult novel is 90,000 words, while the average teen novel is 55,000 …
Alyson Noel, Young Adult Author
In the continuing search for answers about YA word counts, here is another idea:
“It costs a great deal of money to actually bind books. … Young Adult Fiction (YA): 50,000 to 80,000”
Word Count: Literary Rejections
Another answer to the question about YA novel length was as follows:
MG (middle grade) novels run 20,000-40,000 words, while YA (young adult) is 40,000-65,000
Is It Young Adult or Middle Grade?: WritersDigest.com: Apr 22, 2009
I’m working on a young adult novel and the most publishable book length is a question I have been researching. I will be posting on ‘optimal YA novel length’ for several days. I would love to hear what you have discovered, too, so please use my comments block to tell me about your experience with YA novel length.
One answer from Writers Digest is a simple spread: 55,000 – 69,999 words.
WritersDigest.com: Word Count for Novels and Children’s Books: The Definitive Post: Chuck Sambuchino: October 24, 2012
My novel is historical, and I am wondering if the rules change for contemporary fiction including romance, or science fiction, or dystopian, or any other genre.
The wrought iron treadle
rocked back and forth
her stocking creeping down,
rested on the top
while I held Mabel by one stuffed cotton arm.
The leather cable spun ‘round and ‘round the wheel.
Mabel’s blue embroidered eyes and mine
I thought the pulley must be a monkey’s arm, and
Mabel thought so too, I knew.
We didn’t know that Grandma’s knee
made the treadle rise and fall,
the needle rise and fall on
scraps of pale blue cotton flannel that
smelled fresh off the bolt and
flew beneath the presser foot.
I thought the stitches ate the cloth.
Mabel believed it too.
Round and round Grandma’s wrinkly hands
pushed the flannel.
The chomp stopped and
with a flick of her thumb
she raised the presser foot.
Grandma tugged the flannel out and
snapped long strings of thread with her front teeth.
She snipped and clipped out tiny triangles
then turned the fabric right side out
and showed us what she’d made for Mabel,
a soft nightgown with puffy sleeves and
smocking on the shoulders.
I undressed her right there in the room
in front of the cat and everything.
Mabel didn’t care.
I knew she wanted to wear that gown for always
and never put it in the wash
and never let that light blue fade
or lose that brand new smell.
My love and I round the first turn.
Our snowmobile engines whir, then stop.
Silence marks our ground.
Snow markers perch, a shimmer of diamond picket fence.
The river whispers over rocks.
Ice floes trip and weave.
Helmets off. Crystalline flakes fall on our heads.
Soft, a munch, munch from the river shore.
An elk, grand man, eight-point rack, reaches for tender shoots.
The Yellowstone loop takes all afternoon, over moguls, through bison breath frozen mid-air.
At Snow Lodge, we drag our packs on a sled, dine on trout and huckleberry pie.
Showered and windburned, we near sleep. More snow, lighter snow, falls and surrounds our haven like down.
We speak in whispers, reliving the day, that wondrous bull elk on the shore.
My husband, my mate, laughs and reminds, “Count on me, Mama, count on me. I never get skunked on that road.”