Word Count: It Matters!

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 7,500 words
Novelette – 7,500 – 17,500 words
Novella – 17,500 – 50,000 (some say 40,000) 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 Grade
(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.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Word Count: It Matters!

  1. Great, informative post!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s