Word Counts for Each Genre

Word Counts for Each Genre

When submitting to a publisher or an agent, it’s vital that your proposal and manuscript indicate the proper word count for your genre.

There are factors involved in why certain genres have varying word counts, including the cost for printing and how long a reader’s attention can be captured.

While each publisher may have their own limits and standards, this list can get you started. There are more rules for word count within sub-genres, and certain publishers may want word counts outside of this. Be sure to double check before submitting.


Nonfiction (general): 50k-60k

Subgenre: Self-Help

Self-Help: 40k-60k

Subgenre: Memoir/Biography

Memoir: 80k-100k

Biography: 80k-150k

Subgenre: Devotionals

365 days: 250 words

52 weeks: 50k-55k

40 days: 9k-12k


Novella: 20k–50k

Short Stories: 1000–10k. Sweet Spot: 3k–8k

Flash Fiction: 100 to 700 words

Historical: 100k–120k. Sweet Spot: 100k

Literary / Commercial / Women’s: 80k–110k. Sweet Spot: 100k

Subgenre: Crime

Crime Fiction: 90k to 100k

Mysteries / Thrillers / Suspense: 70k–90k

Subgenre: Speculative

Paranormal: 75k–95k

Noir and historical – 80k–90k

Speculative: 75k–125k

Fantasy: 90k–120k. ­ Sweet Spot: 95k–100k

Horror: 80k–100k

Science Fiction: 90k–125k

Subgenre: Romance

Romance: 40k–100k

Regency Romance/Inspirational Romance – 40K+

Romantic Suspense/Paranormal Romance – 40k+

Mainstream romance novels – 70k–100k


New Adult Fiction: 60k–85k

Young Adult Fiction (YA): 50k–100. Sweet Spot: 70k-90

Middle Grade: 25k–40k. Sweet Spot: 35k

Picture Books: 50 to 1000 words. Sweet spot: 400–750 words

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