How Many Words Does a Quality Book Contain in 2023?
How many words in a book? Readers have varying expectations about how long a book should be, depending on the genre. If you write a book that deviates from genre guidelines, you’ll have a harder time reaching your intended audience. The book-length standards are well-known among publishing house editors, and if your book does not fulfill them, it will be rejected outright.
Knowing the typical length for your genre might help you plan the sequence and plot arc of your book. But how do you calculate the average book word count? And how do you figure out how many words should be in a book? The publishing industry regulates the length of genre books. We’ll take a close look at each one.
The average number of pages does not provide a clear indication of length because books come in a variety of sizes and are printed with a variety of typefaces and leading. The most precise method for determining the length is to count the number of words.
Most writing services software, such as MS Word, Google Docs, Grammar, Scrivener, and Ulysses, has a word count function. You can set a word count goal, and the software will track your progress and notify you when you reach your goal.
Every word count is significant since every book has a basic contract with the reader. Your book’s word count is determined by the genre.
As a writer, I understand the significance of a book’s word count. Each genre necessitates a certain number of words. In addition, I will also discuss how many words per page in a book are appropriate. To find out, keep reading this blog! how many words in a book, ranges by genres for fiction or nonfiction.
Book Word Count Ranges by Genres
Micro Fiction: 5 to 350 words
Examples: The 6-word story attributed to Ernest Hemingway (Google it), Fleeing Complexity by Jon McGregor, Golden Years by Edith Pearlman, Widow’s First Year by Joyce Carol Oates
Children’s Picture Books: 400 to 800 words
Examples: 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 to 1000 words
Examples: The Pedestrian by Ray Bradbury, A Haunted House by Virginia Woolf, A Telephonic Conversation by Mark Twain
Short Story: 1,500 to 5,000 words
Examples: 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 to 50,000 words
Examples: 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 to 55,000 words
Examples: 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
Devotional: 30,000 to 50,000 words
Examples: 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 to 90,000 words
Examples: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
Memoir: 50,000 to 90,000 words
Examples: 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 Ishmeal Beah
Narrative: 50,000 to 110,000 words
Examples: 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 to 110,000 words
Examples: 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
How many words per page in a book?
Another typical query and the answer should be as simple as utilizing the word count tool for most writers.
If you’re using Microsoft Word, go to “Tools” and select “word count.” Do you want to branch out and try something new? This is how you may find the word count in Google Docs. You may also keep track of how many words you’ve written in Scrivener.
The average single-spaced text typed in the 12-point font has about 500 words per page. However, this varies greatly depending on how it is organized.
So, if you just have an hour to write and need to get 300 words down, you might be wondering how many pages 300 words equals—the correct answer is less than one! Isn’t that the case?
Simply divide your target word count (50,000) by 500 to get an answer to a question like how many pages are in 50,000 words (the average number of words per page). Your response is over a hundred pages long.
Don’t be alarmed by the commas. When divided into five days a week, a year’s worth of fifty thousand words isn’t that much. This equates to only 193 words a day of writing!
You can quickly keep track of how much you’ve covered using these word count calculators. The average double-spaced manuscript page in Microsoft Word (the norm for submitting to publishers) fits roughly 225 words, depending on the quantity of dialogue vs. narrative and paragraph length. I hope you now understand the significance of a page’s average word count and can write accordingly so that your readers will want to finish your book.
Top 3 Reasons Why Word Count Is Important In Writing a Book in 2023
While there are no hard and fast rules on how many words a book should have, there are some guidelines that are strongly encouraged in the traditional publishing industry, especially for first-time authors. Let’s face it: we can’t all be famous writers like Nicholas Sparks or J.K. Rowling and create a bestseller as our debut novel.
Unless you’re self-publishing, you’ll need to keep track of how many words you use in your first draught. The importance of word count can be attributed to three factors.
Shorter books are easier to sell.
A literary agency or a traditional publisher is less inclined to take a chance on a new writer when it comes to hefty books or novels. An adult fiction book’s ideal word count is the most marketable.
Longer novels have a greater printing cost.
Longer books demand a larger number of pages printed as well as a larger book size. As a result, they are more expensive to produce and subject to greater speculation.
Audiences expect a specific quantity of words to be spoken.
Audiences have grown to expect a certain length of story and number of pages, so an unknown author can attract more readers by staying within that range.
How Long Should a Book Be in 2023?
If you’re writing your first book, the general consensus is that it should be between 80,000 and 100,000 words long. While a book can be defined as 40,000 words on average, 50,000 words are generally regarded as the minimum length. Anything over 110,000 words in a fiction novel is considered unnecessarily long.
Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy has a large word count, with the longest novel clocking in at around 175,000 words. Despite their continuous success, such epic sagas are the rare exception to the usual word count constraints. You’ll want to keep your book as short as feasible in most circumstances.
Within the world of scholarly fiction, different types have different word counts:
A good suspense thriller must keep the tale flowing to keep the reader interested. The length of a mystery novel’s book structure ranges from 70,000 to 90,000 words.
Fantasy and science fiction are in science fiction and fantasy novels, world-building is an art form. Due to the need to construct a completely new setting, this genre takes longer than others. A fantasy novel is typically 90,000 to 120,000 words long.
In romance books, not every love story is as grand as Wuthering Heights. Romantic romances are now frequently pleasant and short reads. Some are only 50,000 words long, making them perfect beach reads. A high-end romantic novel has a word count of 100,000 words.
Book of Historical Fiction
Because elaborating on a fictional historical setting needs a larger word count, historical fiction is often approximately 100,000 words.
Due to the different subgenres, there is no set word count guide for nonfiction works. If you’re writing a nonfiction book, look up other books in that category to see how long they are. Memoirs, for example, are typically 80,000 to 90,000 words in length.
All of these are common book word count ranges and should not be used to estimate the exact number of words your book must include. We’ve all heard about outliers who were published considerably below or far beyond these word counts in each category.
Use these graphs as a jumping-off point for your writing goals.
It’s fine whether your book is currently too long or too short.
That is what revision is for. Some writers, like myself, write quickly and then go back to fill in the spaces. Some people make me envious because they write extensive things that need to be edited and tightened. This is very understandable. Only a small percentage of people get it right on the first try. What’s more, you’ll be surprised to learn that Despite this, you managed to finish a draught! Regardless of your word count, rejoice!
Then, and only then, will I work on enhancing it?
I’m sure you’re still trying to persuade yourself that your work can be published in its current state, and you’re making excuses. The rule is always subject to exceptions. My book club recently concluded with The Nightingale, a 167,000-word novel. Kristin Hannah is a bestselling author, despite the fact that I did not think it to be overly long.
She had been publishing for more than 20 years before The Nightingale, and the rest of her books are much shorter, closer to 100,000-120,000 words, which is well within the range of historical fiction.
Novellas can also be purchased separately. Susan Minot’s Rapture, which is approximately 35,000 words long and amazing, is a book I recently finished rereading. A publisher, on the other hand, would be insane to take on a novella by a first-time novelist who hadn’t previously written for outlets like The New Yorker.
Yes, every now and then, a rookie author publishes a book that is unusually long or short. Consider, on the other hand, what occurs far more frequently. Someone has won the Powerball. If you think you’re the lucky exception and have the Midas Touch, get over to the convenience store as quickly as possible, my buddy. As a result, you’ll save a lot of time.
When should you be concerned with word count?
When you’re writing, don’t think about everything. Simply said, you should write. The bulk of the first draughts will be either too long or too short, as I have indicated (not to mention too boring or confusing or predictable, with plot holes and caricatures and flat dialogue to boot). For the love of God, they’re draughts! We clean them up during revision.
When it’s time to pitch agencies, tiny presses, or self-publish, pay close attention to word count.
Why bring up the subject of word count again if it’s a red flag for agents and editors? Because the competition is so fierce, you want to do everything you can to increase your chances.
Someone criticizing your book before reading it in its whole may not seem fair, but you would do the same. If you were in the market for a kitchen remodel (about the same level of stress and commitment as an agency taking on an author) and the market pricing was $10,000, would you throw a sledgehammer at the person who quotes you $999 or the one who asks for $20,000?
Keep in mind that this person is brand new to the job and has no prior experience. There’s no way, no how. You’ll grab their business card, swiftly close the door, and focus your attention on the contractors who look like they know what they’re doing.
When it comes to self-publishing, does the word count matter?
Yes and no, respectively. You are the boss, copyrighter, and your book may be as long as you want it to be when you self-publish. You can call that 12,000-word writing a book, but will the searchers be satisfied with what they got? Similarly, you may self-publish a 400,000-word tome if you don’t mind paying for printing. Should you, on the other hand, do so?
Consider movies for a second, because they’re easier to mass-produce and you’re more likely to have seen them before.
There are a number of excellent three-hour films available. They were almost all written, produced, and acted in by new people. No one wants to take a chance on a long story from an unknown team. Even when most three-hour films with well-known directors and actors are considered, many of them might have been trimmed in half. Did the Titanic require each and every scenario in which they were re-submerged?
If you want to make sure that your book is as enjoyable to read as possible, you should edit it so that it is fully filled out while still being a well-written page-turner.