Or how long is an acceptable length for a novel or short story? It is very important to understand these basic rules if you want to be taken seriously when prospecting agents. Take the shorter length so named Novella that is classified at running between 20-50.000 words. A paper back is normally from 50.000 words. I wonder today if shorter than this, the Novella is considered as a disadvantage by agents despite the illustrious examples of this; Jack London’ s Call of the Wild, Hemmingways Old Man and the Sea, Conrads Heart of Darkness, not to mention RSL’s Dr J. & Mr H. among others.
A useful site literearyrejections.com lists these acceptable lengths as well as several interesting and surprising exceptions to the rule but advises we stick within the lines although, ‘it is not the word count but making every word count’ that matters.
Unless we believe we have produced a work of genius however It is probably better not to stack the already mountainous odds against ourselves and bow to convention.