I've read writing tips about how the word count of a novel is guided by genre and by whether or not the book is part of a series. What about where a writer is in their career? Are there guidelines that apply specifically to first-time novelists?
Let be honest: doesn't size always matter? :)
Anyway...from what I was told, both before I submitted my ms to agents and after I'd nabbed one, the sweet spot for debut authors is about 80k words (75k-85k is perfect). This is for commercial fiction...I believe that you can go longer for historicals and perhaps paranormals. Anyone else know? YA is much shorter - somewhere in the 60k ballpark. But whatever you do, try to trim your ms to under 100k words. Anything longer, and from what I understand, agents assume that you've either rambled on too long and/or lack any ability to self-edit.
After you've proven yourself, I'd imagine that you have more flexibility. I mean, if the publishers knows that you have a built-in audience who is going to slap down their credit cards regardless of length, I doubt that they'd balk at your 115k ms. But for first-timers, generally, it's probably best to try to adhere to what the industry prefers.
Just my opinion, of course. Anyone have a different experience or know the desired word counts in other genres?