You finish the last strokes on your masterpiece, a paint that stands twenty feet tall and thirty feet wide. It’s beautiful, completely recording the essence of your concept of this city and the pitdrops of love, hate, and also betrayal. You unveil it for your beneaspect, eagerly awaiting the slaps on the ago and also joyous exclamations.

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“It’s also massive.”


“It’s beautiful. Breathtaking, really. But it’s simply too substantial. We can’t market this to anyone. If you deserve to paint it aget, precisely as it is, but half the size, then we have the right to market this. But right now, I’m sorry.”

Like the painter, many authors aren’t as well focused on book length or statistics. Sure, it’s amazing to track book sales once you’re publiburned … yet past that, writing isn’t really a numbers game, right?

As it transforms out, numbers deserve to possibly make or break your book before you also submit it. Let’s talk around one of the most overlooked and also underappreciated stats in the book business: word count. On the surconfront, word count isn’t the a lot of interesting topic. But once you dig a little deeper, you’ll see that this number deserve to play a pivotal role in the journey your book takes from production to publication to sales.

So, why does word count issue so much? Let’s take a closer look at the thought procedure behind the recommfinished length for publications in eexceptionally genre.


It’s a Publisher’s Prerogative

First and foremany, word count matters because it matters to publishers. Following the submission guidelines for a publisher is critical. Your book might not be taken into consideration at all if you loss too far outside of the recommfinished word count array. If you’ve publimelted a book efficiently before, you might have actually even more leeway in this location, yet it’s ideal to play it safe by staying within the parameters set by the publisher.

Page count is a fully different issue once it involves submitting your book. Depfinishing on the dimension of your font and also the formatting of your pperiods (single-spaced vs. double-spaced, margin size, and so on.), the page count for your book can vary extensively.

Editors and publishers deserve to better gauge the length of your book by the number of words, which is why this number is emphasized in their submission guidelines. Plus, it avoids authors from fudging the stats to make their book appear much longer or shorter based upon the number of “pages” they’ve written.

Publishers don’t just come up with recommended word counts based on what appears ideal. Instead, they use customer expectations to collection their guidelines. At some point, it’s only worth investing in your book if it will certainly actually offer and earn revenues, so publishers research that subobjectives fit into a word count variety that readers tfinish to choose as soon as purchasing books like yours.

Tright here are two noteworthy exceptions to word count requirements. The initially is self-publishing, in which readers tend to be more forgiving once it pertains to length. In enhancement, e-publications don’t feature page numbers, so if you plan to only publish electronically, the word count isn’t a significant worry.


Word Count Woes

What deserve to go wrong if your book happens to loss external the recommfinished limits for word count? Besides being slightly much less appealing to publishers, a book that’s also lengthy or also brief have the right to challenge some serious challenges in the publication procedure.

Consider a book through a word count that’s also high. Since it’s a bigger book, it will be more expensive to develop from begin to complete. It’s not just even more expensive to print the extra pages; there’s likewise the added cost of a longer editing and enhancing procedure, greater shipping expenses, and also extra warehome room. While the publisher have the right to think about raising the price to cover these expenses, that can make the book much less attrenergetic to readers, specifically given that the majority of have become accustomed to paying a specific amount for publications in particular genres.

You might think a shorter book can actually be more appealing to publishers. After all, wouldn’t it expense less to produce? While that might be true, a brief book encounters its very own unique challenges. The slim spine renders it harder to spot on the shelves. In enhancement, readers can feel favor it’s not worth the money compared to a likewise priced book that’s closer to the expected length for the genre.

Wbelow Your Word Count Should Land

Before we dive into the numbers, let’s go over an easy ascendancy of thumb. For most adult fiction, adult nonfiction, and also YA novels, ssuggest divide the total variety of words by 250 to acquire a page count estimate. For example, a 75,000-word book is about 300 peras lengthy. You deserve to use this handy calculation to visualize the dimension of conventional publications in particular genres based on the word count arrays. Or you deserve to use this virtual calculator here.

Now let’s take a closer look at the recommended lengths for miscellaneous book genres.

Adult Fiction Word Count Ranges

Literary Novel 70,000 – 110,000 words

Science Fiction & Fantasy 90,000 – 120,000 words

Historical Fiction 90,000 – 110,000 words

Thriller 90,000 – 100,000 words

Mystery & Horror 70,000 – 90,000 words

Romance 50,000 – 90,000 words

Novella 20,000 – 40,000 words

Brief Story 1,000 – 8,000 words

Most novels have to autumn in between 70,000 and also 110,000 words. To gain a better principle of what this variety looks prefer in actual life, take into consideration The Catcher in the Rye (73,404 words) compared to Wuthering Heights (107,945 words). Some publishers like a narrower word count variety of roughly 80,000 to 100,000 words—you could call this the “sweet spot” for literary novels.

Certain fiction subgenres have actually slightly various expectations due to the nature of the stories being told and also reader expectations. Romance, mystery, and also horror novels are quick, exciting reads, so a slightly shorter word count is a better fit. At the same time, a longer word count may be essential to accommoday the world-structure or layered details discovered in many kind of sci-fi, fantasy, thriller, and also historic fiction novels.

Adult Nonfiction Word Count Ranges

Nonfiction Book 50,000 – 100,000 words

Biography 80,000 – 150,000 words

Memoir 60,000 – 90,000 words

Travel & Nature 40,000 – 70,000 words

Self-Help & How-To 20,000 – 50,000 words

There’s a lot even more leeway once it comes to nonfiction word counts. Because these publications cover such a substantial number of topics, some in good detail, you’ll most likely view a more comprehensive array of book sizes in this genre. If you choose to have actually a range in mind, research nonfiction publications that are similar to yours to obtain a better idea of the typical size you need to be aiming for. Of course, you can additionally inspect out publishers’ submission guidelines for direction.

Children’s Fiction Word Count Ranges

Picture Books (Ages 3-8) 50 – 800 words

Early Readers (Ages 5-9) 200 – 3,500 words

Chapter Books (Ages 7-10) 10,000 – 12,000 words

Center Grade Novels (Ages 8-12) 20,000 – 25,000 words

Young Adult Fiction (Ages 12+) 50,000 – 80,000 words

What age group do you desire to create for? That’s the massive question that children’s fiction authors need to answer prior to they submit their book. Words count rises substantially as children grow right into each subgenre, so be certain to think about your taracquire audience once writing children’s fiction.


It’s crucial to note that the image publications and early reader books cover the periods when kids’ analysis skills improve drastically year by year. There’s a really noticeable distinction between a book through 200 words and also a book through 3,500 words, for example. Authors creating picture books and also early reader publications should think about vocabulary and also reading understanding skills and enhance them to an proper word count within their subgenre.

Young adult fiction has actually subgenres that are similar to adult fiction, which have the right to impact the final word count. Romance and fantasy are 2 specifically well-known subgenres for pre-teenagers and teens, and their word counts tfinish to be on the shorter and also longer ends of the spectrum, respectively. For instance, The Fault in Our Stars by John Environment-friendly has just 65,752 words, while Divergent by Veronica Roth has actually 98,521 words.

The Rule-Breakers

If you’re the kind that believes rules are made to be damaged, you’ll be happy to hear that good publications don’t always fall within the recommended word count ranges set forth by publishers. In fact, here are some notably long rule-breakers from literary history:

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe – 160,515 words

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller – 174,269 words

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden – 186,418 words

Ulysses by James Joyce – 265,222 words

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin – 293,625 words

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes – 345,390 words

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami – 407,450 words

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – 418,053 words

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand also – 561,996 words

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace – 577,608 words

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – 587,287 words

Short books deserve to break the rules, also. There are a variety of well known novels that occur to be much longer than a novella however shorter than what a lot of publishers today take into consideration to be the minimum for adult fiction, including:

The Awakening by Kate Chopin – 45,965 words

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – 46,118 words

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – 47,094 words

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut – 49,459 words

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk – 49,962 words

Heartburn by Nora Ephron – 54,595 words

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner – 56,695 words

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Osautomobile Wilde – 65,105 words

Mrs. Dallomethod by Virginia Woolf – 68,320 words

Want to break out of the meant word count range? Prove that your publications have the right to offer. J. K. Rowling is an excellent instance of pushing the limits after acquiring acknowledgment in the literary people. Her initially two books in the Harry Potter series are on the lengthy side for children’s fiction, yet the word count is fairly normal from a publisher’s perspective. But after the wild success of the beforehand publications, she had the ability to publish much longer, even more thorough books via word counts that quickly veer right into “epic novel” lengths. Check out this breakdown for the series, which was publimelted over the course of a decade from 1997 to 2007:


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer"s Stone – 76,944 words

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – 85,141 words

Harry Potter and also the Prisoner of Azkaban – 107,253 words

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – 190,637 words

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – 257,045 words

Harry Potter and also the Half-Blood Prince – 168,923 words

Harry Potter and also the Deathly Hallows – 98,227 words

Speaking of epic novels, are longer books ending up being a trend? While the majority of publishers generally stick to the traditional guidelines, it’s worth noting that some recent award-winning fiction books have actually gone well over the expected limit for word count, including:

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Athardwood (2000 Man Booker Prize) – 160,080 words

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (2015 Pulitzer Prize) – 165,920 words

The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnchild (2013 Pulitzer Prize) – 168,490 words

The Echo Maker by Rictough Powers (2006 National Publication Award) – 174,435 words

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen (2001 National Book Award) – 175,680 words

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (2009 Man Booker Prize) – 210,975 words

A Short History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (2015 Man Booker Prize) – 214,720 words

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (2013 Man Booker Prize) – 263,520 words

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (2014 Pulitzer Prize) – 297,680 words

Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen (2008 National Book Award) – 351,625 words

Hone Your Story

It’s herbal for authors to feel exceptionally attached to their publications. After all, you spend plenty of hours crafting your story, inhabiting your personalities, and bringing details to life on the page. That’s why it can be so difficult to hear that your book can not warrant attention from a publisher based on exactly how long it is.

However before, having actually an appropriate word count have the right to help your book become a success. It have the right to make your book more attractive to both publishers and also readers, which is crucial for those trying to break right into the literary industry.

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And if you have a sprawling story that sindicate can’t be included by typical word count guidelines, you can location your bets on being among the rebellious rule-breakers—or discover a great editor to assist you rein it in.