i understand that the average length of a novel is 70-74k. my manuscript, which i am getting ready for the query stage clocks in at around 67k. it is commercial women's fiction - think bridget jones's diary. now, bridget jones was around 64k but it was published in britain so their rules maybe different. is my word length an outright deal breaker?
You'll recall Bridget Jones Diary was written in epistolary format. Such a format often runs short on word count because of that structure.
For example, the headlines of each diary entry are abbreviated with number of cigarettes, number of calories etc. This is shorthand for knowing what is happening with Our Bridget.
Unless you're writing in this style (diary entries) you're simply going to need more words.
Word count isn't the problem. It's a symptom of the problem. Proper word count is the correct number of words to tell the story, and that includes world building. That's why stories set in "other worlds" run long.
It's why books of instructions (Life's Little Instruction Book) are VERY short.
The question you need to ponder isn't word count, it's have you developed your story enough? Is there texture of smell and sound. Do we see the furniture, not just the room?
When I did a post on word count earlier, it was to guide you into getting a full story on the page, not actually dictate the number of words you must have.
To answer your question: 64K isn't a deal breaker, but I'm skeptical that you've gotten enough on the page to hold my attention for a novel.
Here's where you go back and chart the number of times you evoke smell or sound. The number of places you flesh out the setting with more than "her bedroom" or "his truck." Is his truck tidy or messy? If it's messy, what's it messy with? Fast food wrappers and empty Coors bottles say one thing; books and newspapers say another. That kind of description makes your story come alive.