Why Should Word Count Matter with Mel A Rowe

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Does word count matter? And what is the average word count for writing books? See if our research results match your book, below…

We all know books are made up of words.

Word count matters when novels are judged, not just by their covers, but by how they sit on the bookshelf.

Bookshops count:

Bookshop owners can only allocate so much space for certain genres on their specifically created bookshelves. 

When a book is too big it looks messy on the shelf.

If a book takes up too much spine space, they can’t get as many books to fit within this crucial selling space.

Editing counts:

If you are self-publishing, word counts matter, as you’ll be charged for all those words!

Printing and postage counts:

Printing and postage costs is another factor to consider as to why word count matters.

It matters not only to you, but there’s also the cost of printing, then the postage costs, may filter into the price of the book that costs the reader.

A bunch of scrambled game board pieces with letters imprinted on them, focusing on Words with a shallow depth of field.

So, what is the average word count for writing books?

Honestly, there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to word counts in publishing, we could only find guidelines. You can search for hours (like we did) trying to find the set-in-stone word count for books and couldn’t.

So, with our scrolling fingers retiring we collated together a list of word count averages for books:

Average for Adult fiction is: 60k-100,000 words

  • Novels: 50,000–110,000 words
  • Novellas: 30,000–50,000 words 
  • Picture books: < 700 words
  • Short Stories: 1-10,000 words
  • Flash fiction: 100-500 words

The average word count for genre fiction

Gathered from various resources the list for genre fiction is:

  • commercial women’s fiction: 70,000-100,000 words
  • Sci-fi and fantasy: 80,000 – 125,000 words
  • Historical Fiction: 85,000 – 100,000 words
  • Mystery/ Crime: 70,000 – 90,000 words
  • Category Romance: 15,000 – 45,000 words
  • YA/ New Adult: 50,000 – 80,000 words
  • Middle Grade: 25,000 – 40,000 words
  • Romance: 45,000 – 90,000 words
  • Thriller: 70,000 – 90,000 words

But then there are the rule breakers…

  • Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, 95,000 words.
  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, ended at 105,000 words
  • Twilight by Stephanie Meyer came in at 120,000 words.
  • Jane Eyre – 180,000 words
  • The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After by Julia Quinn, 97,000 words.

Mm, does this mean to get a Netflix/ movie deal you need to write over 90,000 words?

What matters to you with your word count:

It shouldn’t matter what the word count is, in the end it’s your story that should be told how you want to tell it. Your way.

Write what you want from beginning to end and let the editor do their magic.

If you want to learn more about setting a daily word count goal visit this post >>

Happy writing,


Australian Bestselling Author, Mel A ROWE, lives and writes from the Northern Territory Outback, where she enjoys random road trips, while annoying her family with her bad singing, and making new friends in the middle of nowhere — except for water buffalos. She’s been chased by a few.  

You can find Mel & her stories at MELAROWE.COM

**This post is a condensed version from the original article: “Word Count: The why & how to meet your daily word count” printed with permission by the author, for THEAUTHORPLATFORM.COM **

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