I'm seeing a lot of queries for historical novels that clock in around 70K. My first thought on seeing that word count is "there's no way you can build a world and tell a story with so few words."
If I read the first couple pages, or even sometimes more, my suspicions were correct almost 100% of the time -- the world building is flawed.
Well, you might ask, what the hell is world building? Editor Keith Kahla once told me world building wasn't just the room, it was the furniture and the art. He didn't mean that specifically, he meant it as a metaphor. It's not just what's there, it's what gives the place character. It's the scars and distinguishing marks and the mannerisms. It's the smell of a place. It's the layers and nuances of the setting.
Still not clear?
Well, often times the best way to see what something is, is to see a good example.
Here are the six books that the Romantic Times nominated for Best Urban Fantasy world building for 2013.
Trickster by Jeff Somers
"Everything in this book seemed to work together: the setting, the magic, the language, the characters were all very consistent to create a world I was instantly drawn into"--Amazon review
Heart of Venom by Jennifer Estep
"The world building grows and grows with each book."--Amazon review
Blood Winter by Diana Pharaoh Francis
"It is a superbly created world overflowing with complex characters." --Amazon review
Last Blood by Kristen Painter
"Kristen Painter's Blood Rights is dark and rich with layer after delicious layer"--Gena Showalter
Touch of the Demon by Diana Rowland
"Phenomenal world building"--All Things Urban Fantasy
Ritual Magic by Eileen Wilks
"can't wait to visit this world again"--Amazon review
[When you buy these books for research, they're tax deductible as a business expense!]