Writing Books/Word Count


I've seen a number of different question and answers about word counts for different types of stories.  They are just so spread out and vary slightly, i am just wondering if you could sum up word counts for all different types of stories that you could think of. example - short stories for fiction, fiction novels, nonfiction books, etc.

Thank you.

Hi, Scott!

I saw your question in the question pool and thought I'd take a minute to answer.

Sure, I'll be happy to help. Here's a pretty standard guide to work from that most of the publishing houses use. I got this from an editor who answered a similar question on a forum I frequent, and the other published authors who visit there agreed with it:

Flash Fiction: 500-1,000 words
Short-short: 1,000-2,000 words
Short story: 2,000--7,500 words
Novelette (General Fiction): 7,500--15,000 words
Novelette (SF & Fantasy): 7,500--17,500 words
Novella (General Fiction): 15,000--30,000 words
Novella (SF & Fantasy): 17,500--40,000 words
Novel (General Fiction): Over 30,000 words
Novel (SF & Fantasy): Over 40,000 words

Non-fiction really doesn't have a "size" per se---just whatever it takes to cover the information. There are some that are a hundred pages, and some that are a thousand.

Hope that helps, and feel free to ask any other questions you might have. :)


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Cathy Clamp


I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.


I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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