Some publishers have clear guidelines on novel length. For instance, as an editor in publishing, I generally look for novels of around 75,000 – 90,000 words. Naturally, this can be frustrating to someone who’s written a novel of 50,000 words…or for someone who’s written a novel of 150,000 words or more.
Many people will say, understandably enough, that the answer to “how long should a novel be” is however long it takes to tell the story. By having a preferred word count, a publisher isn’t arguing with this. As an editor, I don’t want stories that are rushed, and I don’t enjoy stories with a bunch of unnecessary padding. I’m looking for stories that are a good fit for that length.