How Many Words In A Novel?

Are you planning to write a novel? Do you have that one story that wouldn’t leave you, urging you to write it? Why not? If you want to and you have a good grasp of the basic elements of a novel, you are good to go.

One of your aims in writing a novel, aside from telling a story, is to get published. Publishers look for good stories that they think will be loved by the masses. Aside from that, they’re looking for a certain word count in a novel.

Now, different genres have different word counts. But before we explore those specific genres, we should look into the general guidelines first.

Average Word Count Of A Novel

The average word count could be anywhere from 70,000 to 120,000 words. These word counts assume that a novel is more for commercial consumption, and for adults. Some books, however, go up to 150,000 to 180,000 words. Mostly, it will depend on the story you want to tell.

Now, let’s look into the word counts of some of the most popular genres.


Romance fiction usually has about 40,000 to 100,000 words. Because it has various sub-genres, writers can write as much or as short as they want to. Just make sure that it has a happy ending, okay?

Young Adult

YA novels can range from 50,000 to 80,000. Most mainstream YA novels stick to that word count. However, due to the variety of sub-genre YA has, it can exceed 80,000 words. A good example of that is the Twilight series – the first book alone has more than 100,000 words!

Middle-Grade Books

Middle-grade books cater to kids aged 8 to 12. These books can run from 25,000 to 40,000 words. It’s quite shorter compared to other genres of novels, but this will give the writer to showcase their ability to edit well.

Crime Fiction

This genre runs longer than romance fiction. It usually runs from 90,000 to 100,000 words for one novel. It might seem long, but a good crime book will make the pages fly away and keep you at the edge of your seat.

Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

These novels differ depending on their sub-category, but they range from 70,000 to 90,000 words. Cozy mysteries clock in at 75,000. On the other hand, noir or historical thriller novels run up to 90,000 words.


Horror novels can run from 80,000 to 100,000 words. Writers must find a good balance between giving readers a good grasp of what’s happening without boring them with overdescription, and giving them a nightmare with their words.


Fantasy novels can run from 90,000 to 100,000 words. As these novels are in another world, those number of words are really needed to establish that alternate universe as well as possible.

Science Fiction

Like fantasy novels, science fiction authors depend on words to describe scientific and fantastical stuff in their novels. This is why they have from 90,000 to 125,000 words – a big leeway, as this genre also has many sub-categories. It gives a writer more flexibility – they can write and describe the world they built in many words possible.

Historical Fiction

These novels run from 100,000 to 120,000 words. This genre gives the writers an allowance to write in an extended word count. However, they should still be careful – they won’t want to bore readers with long and winded historical references.

In conclusion…

Novels are a joy to read, but can be a little daunting to write. Writers have to always be careful of the words they use and how many words they use. They have to find a good balance of clear storytelling without it being overly long and boring.

We hope this clears up your confusion! Good luck, no matter what genre of novel you want to write in! What are you waiting for? Start writing now! If you want to know your story’s word count, just use our word counter tool anytime. Happy writing!



editor by day, writer by night, music junkie 24/7.