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How Many Words Are in a Book? Find Your Ideal Count

Julia McCoy
Tuesday, 9th Jan 2024
how many words are in a book

Picture this: you’re finally penning the book that’s been brewing in your mind. Knowing how many words are in a book can be the compass guiding your journey from a rough idea to a polished manuscript. It’s not just about hitting a particular word count; it’s about crafting the right amount for your story and audience.

We’ll talk about why word counts matter, especially if you dream of seeing your name on a cover one day. We’ll unpack how different genres like science fiction or romance have their sweet spots when it comes to length, and we’ll explore what makes publishers tick when they consider manuscripts — particularly for first-time authors eyeing that elusive publishing deal.

And since writing is as much art as precision, let’s talk tools — those nifty software options designed to keep track of every chapter and scene.

Stick around; by the end of this read, you’ll grasp why every single word counts toward making your book a success.

Table Of Contents:

The Role of Word Count in Crafting a Book

Ever wondered how many words are tucked between the covers of your favorite novel?

You might be surprised to learn that the average novel boasts around 80,000 words.

That’s quite a stack.

Defining Average Book Word Counts

A book’s word count is more than just a number; it’s an unwritten contract with readers.

Pick up any Harry Potter book and you expect an epic adventure spanning tens of thousands of words.

Dive into The Great Gatsby and find fewer pages but every bit as immersive.

In fact, specific genres like science fiction or historical fiction often hover between 90,000 to 120,000 words due to their complex world-building needs.

And what about self-help books?

They vary widely because their content must be tailored directly towards solving specific problems rather than entertaining.

Their lengths range as broadly as their topics do — from slim volumes offering targeted advice (around 40K-50K) all the way up to dense comprehensive guides (potentially exceeding 100K).

Romance books or young adult novels tend to be leaner on word length — think Nicholas Sparks’ heartfelt tales averaging closer to the lower end at about 60,000-80,000 words.

Why Does Word Count Matter?

Aiming for a target word count isn’t just about filling pages — it signals your mastery over genre conventions.

Estimate your page count based on these averages, knowing they help determine everything from spine width for physical books to reader expectations.

The average book word count also gives you an idea of how long it would take to write a book so you can allocate time and other resources efficiently.

In traditional publishing especially, first-time authors need those numbers dialed in tight.

Books too long can wave red flags — they hint at potential pacing problems or unpolished narratives.

Remember: Publishers see manuscripts by the truckload.

So why does it matter to find out how many words are in a book?

1. Marketability: Attracting Literary Agencies and Publishers

New authors need to consider that literary agencies and traditional publishers are less likely to take risks on larger books from unknown writers.

According to Writer’s Digest, the most marketable adult fiction books typically fall within a certain word count range. This is especially crucial for those who aim for traditional publishing rather than self-publishing.

2. Cost-Effectiveness: Printing Costs Matter

A longer book requires more pages, increasing both size and printing costs significantly making them riskier investments for publishers. Therefore, keeping your story concise can make it more appealing from an economic perspective as well.

3. Reader Expectations: Catering to Audience Preferences

Familiarity breeds comfort; readers have come to expect specific story lengths based on genre norms established over time by bestselling authors like Nicholas Sparks or J.K Rowling.

MasterClass suggests that new authors stick within these ranges initially until they’ve built up their audience base before experimenting with novel lengths outside the norm.

Writing software tools come in handy here. Programs like Scrivener help writers keep tabs on their manuscript’s burgeoning waistline while providing useful features for organizing content effectively.

The takeaway?

Whether it’s JK Rowling weaving her wizardry with hundreds of thousands of words or Hemingway saying much with less, the key lies not just within crafting compelling prose but also in respecting each genre’s benchmarks when considering how many words are in a book.

how many words are in a book

Source: Reedsy

Dissecting Book Genres by Word Count

What is the recommended word count for each book genre?

Let’s find out.

Fictional Narratives

Romance novels and thrillers often play in the 70,000 to 90,000-word ballpark.

This sweet spot hooks readers without overstaying its welcome.

You’ll find J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series waving its wand closer to this range as well.

Epic fantasy tales? They’re a different beast altogether.

Tolkien-esque worlds like Lord of the Rings demand space — sometimes up to 150,000 words or more — to build their realms and legends.

If we step into young adult territory like “Hunger Games,” you might notice a slight dip in numbers — expect these adventures around the 60,000-80,000 mark.

In historical fiction land where facts meet fancy, writers answer our time-travel wishes with works generally ranging between an immersive 80,000 to over 100,00 words.

Nonfiction Books

Straight-shooting self-help books prefer brevity — they know you need help now.

Aim for a crisp manuscript falling somewhere between concise advice at about 40K words all the way up to detailed guidance averaging around 90,000 words.

Business books play by similar rules but sometimes extend upwards towards six figures in word count, depending on complexity — a trait shared with some business plans.

Key Takeaway: Fiction genres have unique word counts — romance and thrillers average 70-90k, while epic fantasies can soar to 150k+. Nonfiction varies too; self-help books tend to be around 40-90k words, with business books potentially hitting the higher end.

Page Count vs. Word Count Dynamics

If you’ve ever tried to guess the length of a book based on its spine, you know it’s tricky business.

The interplay between page count and word count is influenced by more than just the words themselves.

Formatting choices and text size play a big part too.

Estimating Pages from Your Manuscript

A standard manuscript page with a 12-point font like Times New Roman typically holds about 500 words if double-spaced with one-inch margins all around.

This number isn’t set in stone because factors like dialogue spacing or chapter breaks can cause variations.

To get your hands on an accurate estimate for your work, tools like Reading Length can be invaluable as they help writers calculate their book’s potential page count using current word tallies — taking out much of the guesswork involved in formatting pages.

Does Font Size Affect Word Count?

Indeed it does.

When larger fonts are used, fewer words will fit on each line which then increases total pages.

Conversely, smaller fonts allow for more economy space-wise but could challenge readability.

It begs the question: Does font size affect the overall quality of the reading experience?

Certainly. It affects reader engagement, clarity, and understanding of the material. This is particularly important in nonfiction where conveying complex ideas is paramount to the success of the book.

What about formatting styles?

Ah, now therein lies another variable in the equation.

Take science fiction for example. Authors may opt for denser world-building, thus potentially increasing both the volume and intricacy of the language used, resulting in higher word counts relative to other categories of literature.

Or consider romance books, where the flow of storytelling is key to captivating readers. A good romance novel keeps you hooked with well-developed characters and a storyline that feels as real as our own lives. That’s what makes turning each page so irresistible.

Key Takeaway: Font size matters — a bigger font means fewer words per page but may enhance readability. Each genre also brings its own style to the table; for example, sci-fi might have denser language compared to romance novels which focus on smooth storytelling flow.

Writing Software Tools for Authors

You’ve got a story in your head, and it’s time to bring it to life on the page.

But keeping track of where you are can be just as important as the plot twists in chapter five.

Luckily, writing software like Scrivener exists to keep tabs on every twist and turn—and word count too.

Advantages of Using Specialized Writing Software

No more second-guessing if your manuscript is hitting its mark; with specialized tools, tracking towards that target word count becomes a breeze.

Gone are the days when pen and paper or basic text editors were enough — now AI chatbots like AIMEE of Content at Scale can help streamline the book writing process from brainstorming ideas to outlining chapters.

This shift means more time creating worlds and less fuss over managing them.

The Dynamics of Word Count Management

If J.K. Rowling had worried about counting each word while crafting Harry Potter, we might still be waiting for The Sorcerer’s Stone.

A tool that offers real-time statistics empowers writers by giving instant feedback on length — crucial info whether you’re working on an epic fantasy or a concise self-help book.

Just think: no surprises when you aim for 80,000 words but end up with double because Stephen King inspired you to go big.

Simplifying Structural Complexity

Epic fantasies aren’t just long; they have complex structures — with multiple POVs and subplots galore (hello George R.R Martin), not forgetting those family trees stretching back generations.

And Philip Pullman didn’t craft His Dark Materials without considering structure either. Specialized software keeps all this straight so readers won’t need their own alethiometer to follow along.

A tool like Scrivener isn’t merely about avoiding red flags due to excessive length; it’s also about organizing layers upon layers of narrative into something digestible.

FAQs –  How Many Words Are in a Book?

How many words is a 150-page book?

A 100-page book would be about 25,000 words. A 150-page book would be roughly 37,500 words.

How many words should a 300-page book be?

The average paperback book ranges from 200 to 300 pages, averaging about 275 words per page.

A 300-page book will have approximately 82,500 words.

With consistency, it’s possible to reach that word count by writing 500 words per day, seven days a week, for about five and a half months.

How many words are in a 200-page book?

A 200-page book is about 60,000 words in traditional publishing, assuming you fit 300 words to a page.

How many words is a 400-page book?

A 400-page book has about 100,000 words.


Knowing how many words are in a book sets the stage for your writing journey. It shapes your story, fine-tunes its pace, and ensures it fits snugly into genre norms.

Remember: word counts vary by genre; romance may wrap at 90,000 words while epic fantasy might climb to 150,000 or more.

Debut novels have tighter bounds so stick between 60,000 and 100,000 words to catch a publisher’s eye.

Page count ties closely with word count — factors like font size and formatting play their parts.

Nail these details down and it will give you an edge when carving out a space for yourself in the publishing world.

Got a target word count in mind? Content at Scale can help you stick to those parameters as you write your book. Try it today!

Written by Julia McCoy

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