How Long Should Your Book Be? — A Word Count Guide for Fiction

Length matters . . . am I right?

If you don’t believe me, try reading the 200,000-word autobiography of a snail. Unless that’s the kind of kinky stuff you’re into, you’ll probably rather it was no more than two hundred words . . . no extra zeros allowed. Poor snail. The problem was he didn’t read this word count guide for books.

Granted, this particular guide is more for fiction than autobiographies, but that’s okay. Research is research. And if you’ve done even one Google search, you know the range of word count for short stories, novels, and specific genres varies from source to source.

So I thought I’d offer up a cheat chart of the average word count range for fiction. Please note the word average. As I said, the range is pretty wide and different from source to source. Yes, I know I’m repeating, but I really wanted it to sink in.

A Word Count Guide for Fiction and the Most Popular Genres:


Remember this is just a baseline, and there are exceptions to the rules. But if you’re just starting out, it’s probably better to be safe than sorry.