Writing Info

Word Count Statistics – What’s in a Word?

I was doing some research on the internet about average word count for different types of books.  Here’s what I found from author, Cassandra Marshall:

Average Word Counts

Micro-Fiction – up to 100 words
Flash Fiction – 100 – 1,000 words, usually no more than 500.
Short Story – 1,000 – 7,500 words
Novellette – 7,500 – 18,000 words
Novella -20,000 – 45,000 words
General Novel – 50,000 -110,000

Genre Guidelines

Picture Books -200-500 words
Early Readers – 500-2000 words
Chapter Books – 5,000-10,000 words
Middle Grade – 25,000-45,000 words, most averaging 35k.
Young adult – 55,000-90,000 words
 – YA contemporary tends to be on the shorter side, 60-70k
 – YA fantasy, sci-fi, and paranormal tends to fall on the longer side due to world building, 70-90k
Adult – 70,000-115,000 words
 – Romance – 85,000-100,000 words
 – Cozy Mysteries – 70,000-85,000 words
 – Mysteries, Horror, Crime – 75,000-95,000 words, most averaging 90k
 – Sci-fi and Fantasy – 80,000-120,000 words, most averaging 100k-115k
 – Literary and Women’s Fiction – 80,000-100,000 words

I’ve also read some blogs from published authors who verify these same stats.  One contemporary YA novelist said her latest book that got picked up was 55,000 words, which falls into the above amounts.  Divergent by Veronica Roth was long at about 105,000.  And the first Harry Potter book was about 77,000.

8 Comments on Word Count Statistics – What’s in a Word?

  • Theresa Milstein says:
    September 18, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    This is so helpful. I’m sharing this with my writer friends on Facebook!


  • girl101 says:
    September 18, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Thanks, Theresa! Glad it is helpful! It was definitely useful to me because I’m in the midst of writing a contemporary YA novel, which has a different word count from the other YA novel I finished this year.



  • Ellie Garratt says:
    September 19, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Thanks for this – very helpful!


  • Theresa Milstein says:
    September 19, 2012 at 11:28 am

    I wish they had a middle grade fantasy range. I know Harry Potter’s first book was high, but it would be nice to know.


  • Sharon K Mayhew says:
    September 19, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Great post. I’m tweeting it.


    • girl101 says:
      September 19, 2012 at 7:25 pm

      Thanks, Sharon and Ellie! I’m glad it was useful!


      • Dediche says:
        October 10, 2012 at 1:00 am

        She did say you could go a little over, but didn’t sfcpiey how much that little is. From past experience I’d say 10%Yeah, I’m not a fan of limiting either which is why I preferred it when I got to grad-school. Whilst you had a goal (5000 words normally) if it was more and you weren’t speaking crap it was ok. One of my friends turned in a 10,000 word essay (that’s roughly half a dissertation at MSc level) for a 5000 word question. And she got a 90% for it.AH, I see what you mean about majors now.For lit we’re studying The Bloody Chamber by Angel Carter and Translations which is a play by Friel (I think). For lang we’re doing Much Ado About Nothing and also looking at the Metaphysical Poets (whoever they may be I think they are contemporaries of Shakespeare).


  • Julie Musil says:
    September 19, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    Totally helpful! I’m also tweeting it :)


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