How Many Words Should Your Novel Be?

Novel Word Count.png

A lot of writers ask this question as they near the end of their manuscripts. We don’t want our novels to be too short or too long. To help you out, I dedicated this week to research and tried to find word count ranges for different genres and age groups. Below you will find a list divided by target audience and genre.

However, I urge you to take these word count ranges with a grain of salt. I’ve noticed that there are no hard and fast rules for word counts. Take these word count ranges into consideration, but do not stress over them; There are always exceptions to every rule.


Standard Word Counts:

-Average Word Count: 80,000-90,000 words

-Children’s picture book: 300-800 words

-Children’s chapter book: 1,000-10,000 words

-Middle grade: 20,000-50,000 words

-Young Adult: 50,000-80,000 words

-Short Story: 5,000-30,000 words

-Novella: 30,000-50,000 words

-Novel: 50,000-110,000 words


Word Counts by Genre (Fiction):

-Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 90,000-120,000 words (can go even higher, up to 150,000 words, if epic fantasy)

-Historical: 80,000-100,000

-Romance: 50,000- 100,000 words

-Crime/Mystery/Thriller: 70,000-90,000 words


Word Counts by Genre (Nonfiction):

-Standard: 70,000-80,000 words

-Memoir: 70,000-90,000 words

-Biography: 70,000- 200,000 words

-Self-Help: 30,000-50,000 words


Again, use these numbers as a guide, but if you are a new author, don’t try to deviate too far from each word count range. Above all, listen to your characters. If a story needs to go a little longer, then write more. If you’ve said all you can say, then don’t force yourself to add fluff to your novel.

Note: If you feel that your novel’s word count is too high, don’t stress. Usually, after editing, your novel’s word count will go down.

If you’ve already published a novel, does your novel fall within these word count guides? If not, how does yours differ? If you plan to publish in the future, what’s your target word count? Let me know in the comments down below!