Novel Word Counts

Depending on where you’re submitting your manuscript, these specific requests can vary. This causes a few discrepancies in word counts and their definitions between a short story, novella and novel.

While there are no set rules for word counts there are highly-suggested guidelines in the traditional publishing industry that you might want to keep in mind. 

In general, anything over 40,000 words can be considered a novel but by industry-standard 50,000 is typically the minimum word count.

 

 

 

Desired Word Counts Vary According to Genre

 

  • Romance Novels – Readers like both ends of the scale here. Though short, fast 50,000 reads seem to be the latest trend, many romantics are still reaching for the epic 100,000 novels.
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels – The world-building in these genres is substantial, making the word count larger. There is a lot of work involved when it comes to inventing a whole new environment. As a result, these novels typically range between 90,000-120,000 words.
  • Thriller, Horror, Mystery and Suspense Novels – It takes time to build suspense, but a thrilling mystery also needs to keep the plot moving to hold its reader’s attention. Ideally, the word counts of these novels should be between 70,000-90,000.
  • Historical Fiction  Similar to Sci-fi and fantasy novels, deeper detail will be required raising the word count. Therefore most historical fiction novels will end closer to the 100,000 words mark.
  • Young Adult (YA) – These novels are fictional, geared for ages 14 and up. They bridge the gap between middle-grade and adult fiction. Minimally, the word count should be between 40,000-80,000 though they often range from 60,000-100,000 words.
  • Middle-Grade Novels – These are shorter books, 20,000-50,000 words, relative to 8-12 year-olds.
  • Non-Fiction – Non-Fiction has a wide range of subgenres that would need to be taken into consideration when looking at the word count. 

 

Flash fiction, Short story, Novelette, Novella or Novel?

 

 

Flash Fiction

This is a short story of 500 words or less. 

 

Short Story

Anything above 1,000 words is considered a short story, but ideally, a short story should be between 5,000-10,000 words.

 

Novelette

A Novelette is a narrow in-between work of fiction that overlaps a short story and novella with a word count of 7,500-17,000.

 

Novella

Ranging from 10,000-40,000 words, novellas are fictional pieces between short stories and a novel. 

 

Novel

Depending on the genre, Novel word counts range from 40,000-100,000 words. Fiction novels above 110,000 words are considered Epic Novels. 

 

2 Comments on “”

  1. Eroded immage.

    You built this magnificent castle. Thick walls, protected what you created. Tall and true, they challenged the gods.

    Blinded by your success, you allowed vultures inside. The confident feeling of being invincible blinded you to their actions.

    Alas, slowly but surely, they carved those walls. Little by little, they began to chip at them.

    Now, my friend, the thick walls have thinned. Almost transparent in places, I can see hyenas roaming inside.

    Now, you truly live in a castle of cards. The slightest whisper shakes it’s walls. The ‘roaring’ leak of calm air sounds ominous.

    Now, your creation is vulnerable. Whispers intensifying… …I know, you never thought you would be threatened by a mere whisper. But here we are.

    Are you just going to cower inside your castle of cards? Or…

    😉

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