I have just finished a book. Well, I have finished the first draft of said book, and am diving into the editing and rewriting process, banging my head against the wall and cursing humanity. As I get in deeper, doubts are starting to surface. My book is YA fiction--and it's 110K words. This I can fix, with skillful editing. But I don't think the story fits in less than 100K words, since I have multiple protagonists.
Yes. This is one of those books, and I need your advice.
I have no idea whether my book is good or not. I know that the bottom line is always quality, but things like word count and complexity definitely impact sales and chances of representation. I am passionate in this story, and I would love to get it published, but I know odds are slim. Am I shooting myself in the foot attempting to even get this published, much less as a debut novel? Can I even trust my own judgment that the story works how it is?
Here are my options, as I see them:
a) Edit the story down to be shorter and with fewer protagonists. No
b) Edit how much I think I need to, then trust the writing to hold the story. Yes
c) Stop worrying until I get opinions from the rest of the world, such as rejections letters or beta readers. Yes
d) Put the novel in my under-the-bed novel box and wait until I'm world-famous to publish it. No, NO. NO!
e) None, all, or some of the above? No
I know you can't magically tell how a book will do, but I'd love your professional input. Thanks.
No, I can't tell magically about how a book will do.
No one can.
Not even great agents and prescient editors.
Every book is acquired with high hopes.
Some find traction with readers.
A lot don't.
Not only is there no way to tell, there's NO PATTERN.
Long books with a multitude of characters can do just fine.
Simple books with fewer characters can tank.
THERE IS NO PATTERN.
And none of this is anything you can control. Write the story you want to write.
Then let it sit for a month.
Then go back and start revising.
In the month that you let it sit, READ.
The best way to learn about good writing is to read it.
Go read the books that librarians recommend. They have all sorts of list of Best of this, and Better of that.
The library is a writer's nuclear arsenal. With it you are powerful.
Without it, you're slinging arrows at random.
I know this isn't the answer you were looking for, but it is the answer.
PS This question is a good sign you're on the right track. It means you're not one of the clueless folks who think golden prose falls from their pen; nary an edit nor revision needed.