How many words are in a book? Hell… ever tried counting them?
This is a handy guide to the word count you would want to set as a goal. No, indeed, sometimes it is better to focus on the flow and the pace of your book, but it is known that a lot of agents and publishers do look at the word count.
A book that is too thin won’t sell and the same surely goes for a book that is too big.
High word counts are also often a sign that the writer in question did not take the time to edit down his book.
This guide on how many words are in a book is not perfect, it is not flawless and surely it is not gospel, but it is something to keep in mind.
It doesn’t matter if you’re penning down the new literary masterpiece or if you are writing a new murder mystery, 80.000 to 99.000 words is a good goal to set for yourself.
This is a small overview
80,000 – 89,999: Totally cool
90,000 – 99,999: Generally safe
70,000 – 79,999: Might be too short; probably all right
100,000 – 109,999: Might be too long; probably all right
Below 70,000: Too short
110,000 or above Too long
Sci-Fi and Fantasy
Ever had a copy of one of the A Song Of Ice And Fire books in your hands? Lord of the rings feels like a thin book, but ever looked closely at the type setting? Sci-Fi and Fantasy books overall are think and big books with a word count often ranging to 119.000 which, in this genre, is totally acceptable. After all : you have a lot of world building to do…
Don’t panick though, there are many books in this genre that have no more than 50.000 words on their pages but do keep in mind that these are series ( star wars, doctor who… )
12 + books – middle grade
Want to write for children? Good idea!
And your word count also drops spectacularly.
Most books for children aged 12 years and above have a general word count between 22.000 and 50.000.
If you want to do a series, again, the rule applies that you can get off with an even lower count ranging from 22.000 to 35.000
I love young adult!
Not only is this genre on the rise, the stories are fast paced and the books don’t tend to be too big. It has to be said that this genre is a very flexible one. You can write anything from 55.000 to 69.000 words. You can surely and safely drop under 55.000 words but it has to be said that 47.000 is a minimum.
Mostly editors will look for a minimum of 400 words and a maximum of 1000.
Non-Fiction books in the self-help genre
Wow. This is a very very hard one. These books can range from up to 10.000 words to over 70.000. The most important thing in these books is the information. Be as complete as possible and if you end up over 70.000 try to tone it down a bit.