Thanks to literary agent Colleen Lindsay, we've got a nice chart of expected word count by genres. And here's another from Book Ends, LLC by Jessica Faust. It's pretty much in line with what I've read here and there over the last few years. Once in a while, you hear of exceptions that something can be much shorter or much longer or even that the "standard" is much longer.
When I queried originally, the book was 125K and rejected across the board (of course, my query could have just sucked). I believe J.C. Hutchins said his book was 130K when he queried, later mentioned that was way too long to be published and I have every confidence in the rest of his query writing skills just cause he's brilliant.
I'm aiming for 85,000 with LIGHTNING SPLICED. (Currently 2/3rds through a last read-through with an aim to query late January so as not to add to the holiday rush ;) I'm at 88,100)
Given the maturity and age range of the characters, it could be marketed as either YA or adult so that count is not too long, not too short. I originally was aiming for adult because I'd never read YA, I literally went from reading picture books and a few middle grades to reading adult fiction (hehe..Little Women and Star Trek novels, what a combo). Now that I've been digging into YA more, I'm liking it and THE DEEP WITHIN will definitely be in that category. The next one will be more hazy about the genres. I really like that mid-twenties range.
Here are some additional guidelines provided by Jess, the head of Southern-Fried SpecFic in Savannah:
Epic: A work of 200,000 words or more.
Novel: A work of 40,000 words or more (most modern novels go less than 90,000 words)
Novella: A work of at least 17,500 words but under 40,000 words.
Novelette: A work of at least 7,500 words but under 17,500 words.
Short story: A work of at least 1,000 words but under 7,500 words.
Flash fiction: A work of less than 1,000 words (some, particularly pro markets, put this at 500 words.)
Just for fun, Jenny Rappaport and her reasons for rejecting queries that day.