What is the best word count for a novel? - Page 4


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Thread: What is the best word count for a novel?

  1. #31
    Copied from an internet search:
    thewritelife dot com
    What should my book word count be?

    The following are average word-count ranges by genre.
    General Fiction

    • Flash Fiction: 300–1500 words
    • Short Story: 1500–30,000 words
    • Novellas: 30,000–50,000 words
    • Novels: 50,000–110,000 words

    Fiction Genres

    • Mainstream Romance: 70,000–100,000 words
    • Subgenre Romance: 40,000–100,000 words
    • Science Fiction / Fantasy: 90,000–120,000 (and sometimes 150,000) words
    • Historical Fiction: 80,000–100,000
    • Thrillers / Horror / Mysteries / Crime: 70,000–90,000 words
    • Young Adult: 50,000–80,000

    Children’s Books

    • Picture Books: 300–800 words
    • Early Readers: 200–3500 words
    • Chapter Books: 4000–10,000 words
    • Middle Grade: 25,000–40,000 words

    Nonfiction

    • Standard Nonfiction (Business, Political Science, Psychology, History, etc.): 70,000–80,000 words
    • Memoir: 80,000–100,000 words
    • Biography: 80,000–200,000 words
    • How-to / Self-Help: 40,000–50,000 words


    All of these are average book word count ranges and should not be taken as the definitive word count you must reach in your book. We all know of outliers within each genre that have been published well under, or well over, these word counts.

  2. #32
    In addition to what Indian posted, which is basically the standard...

    From my experience and conversations, publishing folks' tolerance for word count is primarily affected by their overall interest in the piece and initial assumptions on writing ability.

    For example, if the query for a historical fiction novel is extremely strongly written and the agent really likes the idea, then the fact it is a little long, let's say ~110,000 words, maybe even up to 120,000 or 130,000 wont necessarily be an issue. However, if they are on the fence it will be. The more on the fence they are about the idea, the more trivial issues such as word count are going to matter.

    They will also take into account the style of the writing from the first 10 page (or whatever) sample. If the writing is on the purple side, they are going to assume the 120,000 word story is simply full of meandering garbage and pass. However, if the writing is tight, they may be inclined to give the benefit of the doubt and assume the 120,000 words are actually packed full of story.

    TL;DR: Word count IS important, but it's not the most important thing. Rather than focus on hitting an ideal word count, try to focus on the overall quality of the book and then edit it to an acceptable rather than a necessarily optimal range. The idea here is just to eliminate Reasons To Pass.
    Deactivated due to staff trolling. Bye!

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