Average Novel Length

Typical work length of books per Genre:

At a quick glance:

  • How to/Self Help 40,000 – 50,000 words
  • Non-fiction books and memoir 50,000 – 70,000
  • Fantasy novels – 100,000 words
  • Thrillers 70,000 – 90,000
  • General Fiction 80,000 – 90,000 words is what you aim for
  • 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

Do your research for your particular genre. If you are trying for a publishing deal, the agent/publisher might not even get past reading the subject line (Title, Genre, Word length).

Are you going to submit to a publisher – what are their guidelines?

Think about how your target market read their books. Our reading habits have changed a lot in the last few years. It is interesting to follow the statistics that come out about the percentage of readers that use kindle, read paperback, etc.

Most of my readers read on Kindle (digital).

They typically want instant gratification (get straight into a book, no big build-up)

How are they reading?

In short bursts on the train to work?

In their lunch break?

In bed after a big day?

On weekends?