Novel Word Counts

Have you ever wondered how many words your books are? Or perhaps you’re an aspiring writer, and you want to know how long a book should be in your genre? Either way, I have some answers and insight!

As a general rule of thumb, short stories are between 10 and 10,000 words, novellas are between 10,000 and 50,000 words, and novels are 50,000 and beyond.

That’s a lot of reading!

But each of those categories can be broken down into genre. Some genres (like science fiction and fantasy) are typically much longer, whereas other genres stay very close to the above word counts (like romance and contemporary fiction).

For the sake of simplicity, let’s stick to novels. Let me give you some examples of word counts in some popular categories.

Sci-Fi & Fantasy

Ready Player One = 136,000 words

Game of Thrones = 284,000 words

Lord of the Rings #1 = 187,000 words (half of those words were used to describe everyone’s signing)

So much singing.


The Notebook = 49,000 words

Paper Towns = 82,000 words

Anna and the French Kiss = 81,000 words

I have nothing clever to say about romance.

Horror / Thrillers

Gone Girl = 84,000 words

Carrie = 61,000 words

Joyland = 83,000 words

And as a bonus, can you guess the word count for IT? Of course you can’t, because Stephen King is insane.

Sane people don’t write about this.

Stephen King likes to break all the rules. His hit novel, IT, clocks in at 445,000 words.

Hey, it’s only 44 hours and 55 minutes to listen to the audiobook. Jesus Christ, it would take you nearly an entire weekend (no sleep) to listen to this monster. o.o

Long story short–the industry (and readers) have standards based on book category and genre. Typically, the more fantastical or futuristic, the longer you’re allowed to write without the reader getting irritated. Spooky clowns and virtual reality worlds obviously need more words to adequately describe, but be careful you don’t go overboard.

I’m looking at you, Stephen King.

If you want to read futuristic or fantastical books, check out my best-selling space opera, STAR MARQUE RISING, or my critically acclaimed fantasy, KNIGHTMARE ARCANIST.


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