The following are average word-count ranges per genre.
Flash Fiction: 300–1500 words
Short Story: 1500–30,000 words
Novellas: 30,000–50,000 words
Novels: 50,000–110,000 words
Mainstream Romance: 70,000–100,000 words
Subgenre Romance: 40,000–100,000 words
Science Fiction / Fantasy: 90,000–120,000 (and sometimes 150,000) words
Historical Fiction: 80,000–100,000
Thrillers / Horror / Mysteries / Crime: 70,000–90,000 words
Young Adult: 50,000–80,000
Picture Books: 300–800 words
Early Readers: 200–3500 words
Chapter Books: 4000–10,000 words
Middle Grade: 25,000–40,000 words
Standard Nonfiction (Business, Political Science, Psychology, History, etc.): 70,000–80,000 words
Memoir: 80,000–100,000 words
Biography: 80,000–200,000 words
How-to / Self-Help: 40,000–50,000 words
All of these are average ranges and should not be taken as the definitive word count you must reach in your book. We all know of outliers within each genre that have been published well under, or well over, these word counts.
Use these numbers as a baseline for your writing goals.
Know what readers expect in terms of your genre’s word count (even if the reader isn’t aware of their expectations when it comes to how long a book is).
Lastly, don’t let those commas instill fear. Fifty thousand words isn’t that much divided into five days a week for a year. That’s only 193 words per writing day!
About the Author: Blake Atwood
Blake Atwood is the author of Don’t Fear the Reaper: Why Every Author Needs an Editor and a freelance editor and writer with EditFor.me.