Word Counts for Children, MG, YA, and Adult books, by genre

I’ve been getting a lot of word count questions from Pitch Wars hopefuls, so I though I’d write everything out in a post for ease and convenience.

These ranges are generalizations and there are always outliers. If you have a book that is a little bit outside these ranges, it’s an extra hurdle and your book needs to be really great for the agent/editor to take a chance on it. If you’re a lot outside these ranges, it’s going to be nearly impossible to get a publisher to commit to a book from a debut author. Established authors have more leeway.

Childrens Books

  • Picture Book: 0-800 words, preferably in 300-550 range
  • Early Reader: 100 – 2,500 words, depending on level
  • Chapter Book: 4,000-13,000, preferably 6-10k

Middle Grade

  • Contemporary: 25,000-60,000, preferably 30-45k
  • Fantasy/Sci-fi: 35,000-75,000, preferably 40-60k

Young Adult

  • Contemporary: 40,000-95,000, preferably 55-80k
  • Fantasy/Sci-fi: 50,000-140,000, preferably 65-90k

Adult

  • Contemporary: 75,000-110,000
  • Literary: 60,000-80,000
  • Fantasy/Sci-fi: 90,000-125,000, preferably ~100k
  • Women’s Fiction: 80,000-120,000
  • Romance: 40,000-100,000
    • Category Romance: 45-60k
    • Romantic Suspense: ~70,000
    • Historical: 60-95k
    • Single Title Contemporary: 60-100k
    • Novellas: 20-45k
  • Mystery/Thriller: 65,000-95,000, preferably ~80k
  • Memoir: 65,000-100,000
  • Historical: 80,000-120,000, preferably <100k

7 thoughts on “Word Counts for Children, MG, YA, and Adult books, by genre

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