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Where text is narrow and subject-specific (‘A leading agent will probably receive 2,000 manuscripts a year, and take on a maximum of 2 new authors a year, giving new authors a success rate of rather less than 0.1%.The good news is this: leading agents generally expect to be successful in selling the work of new clients.
You can’t really go wrong if you aim for 500-800 words and, for sure, keep the thing to less than 1,000 words.
Agents asking for a 1-page synopsis are being unrealistic.
If you happen to have written (say) an 80K thriller or a 100K love story, that’s nothing at all to worry about.120,000 to 150,000 words. A typical YA novel would be about 60,000 words, or even less.
OK, your book is definitely on the longer side, and that means you do need to be dealing with a bigger than usual story to justify that extra length. As age ranges get younger, the books obviously get shorter.
Romantic fiction tends to be at the shorter end of this spectrum (say 70 to 90K).
Most thrillers will be at the longer end (say 90 to 120K), but these are general figures.
OK, now this is getting long, and needs to work hard to justify its length. Your book has to be genuinely epic in scale and scope. Repeat the exercise for 3 books in your area, and you’ll get a good feel for where your territory lies.
You can take all the advice from the previous para, and just double it in terms of urgency. I sold my first novel for a strong six-figure sum, and that book was over 180,000 words when we sold it and was pretty much the same length when we published. You need to work very hard to compress anything you can. If you don’t check those boxes, your book will basically be impossible to place with an agent. If your manuscript is non-fiction, then true life memoir normally runs to 70,000 to 90,000 words.
If you have a para with 4 descriptive sentences, ask yourself if it wouldn’t work just as well with 2. Oh, and please: Never use the Harry Potter novels as a comparison. Then simply multiply by the number of pages in the book to get a total figure.
All writers should do this, of course, but it’s extra important when you’re dealing with longer books.150,000 to 180,000 words. Sure, that figure is pretty rough and ready, but that’s all you need.