…apparently, having done some research into the matter, UK and US publishers only really consider fantasy novels of around a 130,000 words or more, as shorter volumes don’t sell. A quick perusal of the local bookshop* seemed to bear this out with only legacy titles from the eighties (primarily Gemmell and Pratchett) representing the < 100k brigade and current authors with an unusually large sell rate (Gaiman, Pratchett, etc.).**
The Scarred God is approximately 88000 words.
This was quite a disappointing discovery as in order to make the story longer by 42k I’d be basically looking at another rewrite and probably transforming the story into something else. I’m going to see what my remaining test readers say and how I feel about it once the current draft of Forever is finished but I may have to be more creative with getting TSG to some kind of market. Or roll my sleeves up again and rewrite.
If anyone does know of a publisher that takes shortish heroic fantasy on spec please do jump on the comments thread and let me know. Ditto for agents.
*which also enabled me to pick up a copy of The Graveyard Book that I wasn’t expecting to be out until the 20th
**UK agent and former editor, John Jarrold, answers a whole host of useful questions, including wordcount, over at http://www.sffchronicles.co.uk/forum/publishing/