20 Average Fiction Novel Word Counts - #WriteTip

April 14, 2017

https://www.amazon.com/S.-A.-Soule/e/B017Y1KM2I/


A general rule to follow for fiction novel word counts should be based on the guidelines listed below (all of these updated estimations are based on current trends in 2017)

One thing I will say is that regardless of an average "genre word count" the length of a story depends on each unique story. And always, always prune a narrative once you get close to a finished draft. 

In early drafts, I use so many unnecessary words in my sentences, like “some” and “that” and “seem(s)” and “almost” and “about” etc. And just pruning and tightening sentence structure really helps flow. I use a software program that also points out wordy phrases and repetitive words. I have a list too that I use to “find and replace” or in this case, find and omit. It is tedious to go through the entire MS, but I know it’s an important step in revision.

It’s funny how when I’m drafting a book, I’m so concerned with increasing the word count, and then once I get an almost finished draft, I’m obsessive about trimming the word count.  



Middle Grade (or tween)

(Examples of published books: Coraline is 30,640 and Gingerbread is 44,510 and Mockingbird is 36,466.)


Average Word Count: 20k to 50k words
Average No. of Chapters: 20
Average Words per Chapter: 600

 
Young Adult Fiction

(It seems that paranormal YA or YA fantasy can occasionally run as high as 100k because of the world-building needed. Of course, there is always the exception on word counts in YA. Books in fantasy and paranormal genres will tend to have higher words counts, like Twilight  is 118,975 and New Moon is 132,758. Beautiful Creatures is 147,695 and A Great and Terrible Beauty is 95,605.)

Average Word Count: 70k to 90k words
Average No. of Chapters: 30 to 35
Average Words per Chapter: 1,900

(My own YA books have an average of 83k words, and my genres are mainly paranormal romance and Sci-Fi romance, so more world-building is needed. Almost all of my books have an average of 35 chapters, and my word counts per chapter range between 1,700 to 2,500.)

Cozy Mysteries  


Average  Word Count: 45k to 85k words
Average No. of Chapters: 25
Average Words per Chapter: 1,800


Paranormal Romance  


Average  Word Count: 80k to 95k words
Average No. of Chapters: 30
Average Words per Chapter: 2,000


Romance

Average  Word Count: 50k to 100k words
Average No. of Chapters: 35
Average Words per Chapter: 3,000


New Adult Romance

Average  Word Count: 85k to 100k words
Average No. of Chapters: 35
Average Words per Chapter:  2,500


Crime Drama, Mystery, Suspense/Thrillers 

(Historical mysteries and noir can be around 90k to 100k. Most other mystery/thriller/crime novels should be  around  90k to 110k.)

Average  Word Count: 150,000
Average No. of Chapters: 45
Average Words per Chapter: 3,000

Dystopian

Average Word Count: 85k words
Average No. of Chapters: 35
Average Words per Chapter: 2,000


Mainstream /Commercial Fiction


Average  Word Count: 65k to 90k words
Average No. of Chapters: 25 to 30
Average Words per Chapter: 3,500

Fantasy

Average  Word Count: 145,000
Average No. of Chapters: 45
Average Words per Chapter: 5,000


Historical, Memoirs, and Literary Fiction

 
Average  Word Count: 95k to 110k words
Average No. of Chapters: 30
Average Words per Chapter: 4,900


Science Fiction /
Space Opera 
  
Average  Word Count: 80k to 125k words
Average No. of Chapters: 30 to 40
Average Words per Chapter: 3,500


Urban Fantasy  


Average  Word Count:
85k to 120k 
Average No. of Chapters: 30 to 40
Average Words per Chapter: 2,500


Steampunk (a combo of historical / fantasy / Sci-Fi)


Average  Word Count: 75k to 95k 
Average No. of Chapters: 30
Average Words per Chapter: 2,500


Horror, Supernatural Thriller, Apocalypse


Average  Word Count: 100,000
Average No. of Chapters: 40
Average Words per Chapter: 3,000 


Chick-lit / Romantic Comedies

Average  Word Count: 50k to 75k words
Average No. of Chapters: 25 to 30
Average Words per Chapter: 1,500


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Even if you've already published a few books or you're just starting out in the indie publishing world, there's always more to learn on the craft of fiction and book promotion. If you're determined to take your writing career seriously, you need to make sure that your author branding and book packaging are "genre specific" to hit your target audience and build a loyal readership. 
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