Dear Miss Snark,
I know editors claim the story should determine the length of the book, but I have also heard publishers get squirrely when ms length passes 125,000 words. It also seems that historicals tend to be a bit thicker, 150,000 or so.
How long is too long? At what point does the word count become a liability for you in pitching a novel?
When the weight of the pages exceeds the body weight of a pink tammed, cigar smoking, t-bone chewing, MoMA loving poodle.
100,000 is a sort of benchmark. Too much over (like 125,000) and you'd better be able to show me a synopsis that has plot to die for, and a pretty well written partial. Anything under 50,000 and I'm not so sure that's a book either.
I won't even consider something over 150,000 words for a new writer. Remember, I don't represent historical fiction and I don't represent SFF and those two categories are famous for Big Ass Novels.