On August 27, 2013, Words for the Journey had a Fall Kickoff Event and we had a blast! Assistant Director Chris Richards led us in a game that was both informative and fun. One of the things we learned was that word count matters!
For those of you who are planning to write a novel, short story, or worse :0, it’s nice to know the word count of what you plan to do.
Short story – up to 5,000 words
Novelette – 5,000 – 25,000 words
Novella – 25,000 – 50,000 words
Novel – 50,000 – 100,000 words
Super novel – more than 100,000 words
These are averages. If you are writing with a particular publisher in mind, you’ll need to know the word count they are expecting for your piece.
When you get into “novel” territory, certain genres demand certain word counts.
Fiction Word Counts
General Fiction, Commercial and Literary 80,000-90,000*
Women’s Fiction 80,000-90,000
Western 50,000-80,000 (many are 60K)
Chick Lit 70,000-75,000
Category Romance 40,000-75,000
Short Historical Romance 40,000-95,000
Long Historical Romance 95,000 plus
SciFi and Fantasy 100,000-115,000
Young Adult (YA) 55,000-70,000
(Middle Reader) 20,000-45,000
*General Fiction includes literary, mystery, horror, thriller, and suspense.
ALWAYS check with the potential publisher for word count for your genre. The ranges will probably fall within the ranges above. But, check to make sure. Harlequin, for instance, has a different range for every imprint.
Non-fiction Word Counts
Articles up to 2,000
Long Form 2,000-30,000
General Non-Fiction and Memoir 80,000-90,000
Again, you will need to investigate what your publication wants.
In case you don’t know what Long-Form journalism is, think “novella” but non-fiction. They are articles that are longer than most articles, but shorter than most non-fiction books. They originated in the oldie times when people thought deeply, and now the newspapers and magazines that used to publish them are too cramped for space to do so. The form has now found a home with e-publishers, such as Amazon Kindle.