How Many Word Count Are in a Novel? Word Count by Genre

Does word count really matter in novels?

Word count does matter for a novel. Not only a novel but both fiction and nonfiction work alike.

Knowing the length of the manuscript gives an insight into how to plan your writing routine. It will also determine if agents and publishers will take you seriously.

In this article, we will explain all you need.

How many words in a novel at a glance

A normal novel has a word count of between 60,000 to 100,000+ words. The ideal number is 80,000 words long.

Don’t think that can make your novel as lengthy as you can. If you’ve ever published, you would have heard your editor ask that you cut the work down. There are rules around length. You do not just do as you want.

As a first-time author, stick within 60,000 to 100,000 words but a typical novel shouldn’t exceed 80,000 words.

Anything over 110,000 words is considered too long.

If you need at least 200,000 words to tell a story, consider dividing it into two or three novels. Make it a series even.

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Word Count by Genre

These are the average word count ranges by genre.

General Fiction Word Counts

  • 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 Word Counts

  • Début fiction: 80,000 words
  • Mainstream Romance: 70,000–100,000 words
  • Subgenre Romance: 40,000–100,000 words
  • Science Fiction / Fantasy: 70,000–120,000 (and sometimes 150,000) words
  • Historical Fiction: 90,000–120,000+
  • Crime Fiction: 80,000–150,000 words.
  • Romantic Fiction: 70,000–90,000 words.
  • Thrillers: 80,000–100,000+ words
  • Horror / Mysteries: 80,000–100,000 words
  • Young Adult: 50,000–80,000
  • Literary Fiction: 50,000–150,000 words. Literary fiction describes a novel that doesn’t fit into a specific genre

Children’s Books Word Counts

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

Nonfiction Word Counts

Standard Nonfiction (Business, Political Science, Psychology, History, etc.): 70,000–80,000 words

Memoir: 80,000–100,000 words. Memoir is a top-selling genre. It represents a piece about the life of a person on a particular theme. It is different from an autobiography as the latter explains all the events that happened in a person’s life.

Biography: 70,000–80,000 words.

How-To / Self-Help: 40,000–100,000 words

Business books: 70,000–80,000 words. This is even one genre that shouldn’t be long. It is aimed at busy people and should be written accordingly and straight to the point.

Travel writing: 70,000-100,000 words. Travel guides should be short and precise.

Nature writing. 80,000-100,000 words.

See also: What is 3rd (Third) Person Limited Point Of View?

Word count for picture books

The standard length for a picture book is 32 pages. This might mean one line per page or more. 500-600 words is a good number to write. When it gets closer to 1,000 words, editors and agents may not be comfortable with it.

How many pages are in a novel?

You will calculate the number of pages based on the number of words that are on a page and fit into your format.

The process of determining the number of pages that should be in your novel is called cast off.

Follow the steps below.

Count the number of words in the manuscript.

Divide it by the words per page of the text format you’ve chosen.

Add 24 pages to cover the preliminaries; copyright page table of content postlims like index, and acknowledgments.

Because of printing, divide the total by 4 and round it off.

How many words per page in a novel?

The number of words on a page will depend on the format, text design, font, font size, line spacing, texture features, and illustrations.

How exactly do you determine the word count per page considering all the factors above?

As a rule, divide the total word count by 275. This will give an idea of the number of pages you’ll end up with.

For an 80,000-word manuscript, the book will have 292 pages.

Why does word count matter for first novels?

The following are reasons word count matters especially for debut novels.

Short novels are easier to sell: write the right manuscript for the right market. If you’re on contract, the word count will be specified to you.

Pitch professionally: If the novel is one you’ll need to pitch to an agency, the word count will make you sound professional. It will indicate you understand the acceptable framework for a novel.

Helps track progress: Knowing the required word count will help you to plan the writing routine. For instance, writing 500 words daily for an 80,000-word count will take six months to finish.

See also: Fourth vs Forth: How to Choose the Right Word as a Writer


Some agents have many queries about novels and one way to give them the wrong impression about your work is to exceed the required word count for the genre you want to write.

A standard word count for a novel is between 60,000 to 100,000+ words. The ideal number is 80,000 long.