How many words should your book manuscript contain? Is 100,000 words too long for a YA, or 20,000 words too short for a middle grade novel? This is a question that my editing clients often ask.
One way to answer this is to familiarize yourself with the word count of recently-published books that are aimed at the same age reader for whom you are writing. The ARFinder tool allows you to ferret out that information easily. Many thanks to Katie Davis at the Institute for Writers for sharing this site with me.
Do a search for the book you want to check, then click on the blue underlined title in the result that comes up. That will take you to a window where you will find the word count.
A note to those of you who write for adults: this site is maintained by the Accelerated Reader program used in many US schools, so it may not contain many adult novels. But try it and see.
Note: I waxed on in more detail about word count over at my Spontaneous Combustion blog.