Authorship, Publishing, Books and More

How Many Words in a Novel?



One question I get asked all the time is, how long should my book be?

Simple answer only you, the author knows that.

A great book is always going to be the perfect length when all the right chords are struck.

That being, a character or characters the reader can identify with and who beckons them to read on to see what happens next.

A character who wants something and wants it badly enough to live through all the roadblocks you’re going to throw in their way.

A story where smooth sailing is a no-no.

A story that makes you feel something during and even after you’ve read it.

A false sense that everything’s going to be alright.

A payoff where the reader is rewarded with a satisfying conclusion.

I’ve seen some stories achieve all of the above in 50,000 words and less while others it takes 90,000 or more to hit all those chords.

Each story is different so don’t ever think that they always have to be 70,000 words or more to make them the next bestseller.

I know some publishers give guidelines and say they’re looking for books in the 70,000-90,000 word range but a word of caution here.

Don’t ever include non vital scenes or throw in non-essential information or even characters who don’t play a vital role in the story just to reach that range.  On the other hand, don’t cut out vital elements from your story just so you can submit to a certain publisher.

I’m sure agents and editors will agree with me when I say they’d rather read a good story than one that’s been created to fit within a certain word range.

Bottom line, every time you sit down to write, create the best story you can.



Hi, don't miss anything that happens This Writer's Life. Sign up to become a subscriber and be notified every time a new post gets added.

You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

This Writer's Life will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.