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Ultimate Guide in Fiction and Nonfiction Word Counts

A reader would never think that a good book is too lengthy or too short. However, the length of a narrative is one of the most frequent questions asked by authors.

To be sure, different publishers seek different lengths for various genres. There are, however, some basic principles that will be outlined below. It is essential to understand that they are not rigid laws.

Be cautious not to stray too far from your original intent, and keep in mind that a brilliant concept and well-written piece will always triumph.

Number of Words In A Novel

The average novel's word count is approximately 85,000, although it may vary between 50,000 and 120,000.

Guidelines for publishing houses differ, so check their website or email them personally to see what they anticipate in terms of length. Don't go too far from their recommendations.

Most importantly, particularly if you're concerned about your work being too short, maintain tight, straightforward, well-edited, and well-honed scenes. Make each word count, and never let your total consist entirely of superfluous words. Editors have an uncanny ability to see through the fluff.

If more words are required, they should come from other well-written situations.

Word Count According to Book's Genre


Micro-Fiction: 5-350 words


  • Fleeing Complexity by Jon McGregor

  • Golden Years by Edith Pearlman

  • Widow's First Year by Joyce Carol Oates

Children's Picture Words: 400-800 words


  • Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

  • Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

  • Miss Nelson is Missing by James Marshall

Flash Fiction: 500-1000 words


  • The Pedestrian by Ray Bradbury

  • A Haunted House by Virginia Woolf

  • A Telephonic Conversation by Mark Twain

Short Story: 1500-5000 words


  • Luck by Mark Twain

  • The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

  • The Door by E.B. White

  • The Elephant's Child by Rudyard Kipling

  • A Little Cloud by James Joyce

  • The Great Carbuncle by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Novella: 10,000-50,000 words


  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

  • Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

  • Animal Farm by George Orwell

Middle Grade Fiction: 20,000-50,000 words


  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

  • Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

  • Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

  • Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

Young Adult: 50,000-100,000 words


  • The Giver by Lois Lowry

  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

  • Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Adult Novel: 50,000-120,000 words


  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

  • Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

  • All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

  • Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

  • My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult


Devotional: 30,000-50,000 words


  • My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

  • Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

  • New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp

  • Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Self-Help: 40,000-90,000 words


  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson

Memoir: 50,000-90,000 words


  • A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

  • Out of Africa by Karen Blixen

  • All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

  • The Story of My Life by Helen Keller

  • A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

Narrative: 50,000-110,000 words


  • The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

  • Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer

  • Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand

Biography: 50,000-110,000 words


  • The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank

  • I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai

  • The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, Just As I Am by Billy Graham

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