Word Counts for Fiction

A common problem for writers is trying to decide how long to make their stories.

Now, the proper answer is of course- as long as it needs to be.

However, there are still some standards (albeit ones which are slowly changing thanks to eBooks) that most publishers go by when determining how long a book should be. As more than two-thirds of the publishing market is still dead-tree print books, even eBook authors might want to keep them in mind.

The basic rules are:

  • Novel: 80,000-110,000 words
  • Young Adult Novel: 50,000-80,000 words
  • Novella: 20,000-50,000 words
  • Novelette: 8000-20,000 words
  • Short Story: 500-8000 words

But there’s a lot of variation by genre, which is where this by-genre list of word counts on Literaryrejections.com comes in. For example, Romance novels can go as low as 40,000 words, but it depends on the type of book. In any case, if you’re planning to write a novel and want to know exactly how many words you have to play with, it might be worth checking that site out.


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