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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

Thank you for clicking on my post.  Now that that's said, I have a question:
I'm writing several books right now (4 to be exact) and my longest has ~14,000 words right now. 
I was wondering how many words an average book would have, so I know what to shoot for.
I guess you could say I'm looking to make it around 200 pages or so.

Thanks for your help.

75 Posts
250 words per page is generally considered to be standard. This
standard was set in earlier times, when most manuscripts were prepared
on typewriters with fixed pitch (monospace) fonts. Even though times
have changed, and many more fonts and text options are now available
to the writer, the old guideline of 250 words per page is still the

"Publishers' word count requirements were set up back in the days of
typewriters when Courier was the only option. Therefore, word counts
are still based on the standards of 25+ years ago. Most publishers
these days will accept manuscripts in any clear, easily readable font,
but there is a lingering belief among certain authors that only
Courier is acceptable for manuscripts...

Many category editors find it easier to judge the length of a book in
the way they've always done: knowing exactly how many book pages a
manuscript of, say, 200 pages in Courier at 250 words per page is
going to translate into when it becomes a finished product.

In actuality, however, most editors now accept Times New Roman since
it is the 'default' font on most personal computers. (Also, it saves a
tree due to using less paper.) I've also heard from various authors,
via e-mail loops, that they use other fonts. The 'must' is that the
font be easy for an editor to read... IMPORTANT: Whatever font you
decide to use, you will need to experiment to find out how many pages
your manuscript would have been if written in Courier, as this is the
only way you will be able to accurately compare your word count to the

WHITE SPACE. Manuscripts are counted by page rather than computer word
count because authors write with varying amounts of 'white space'...
It's possible a page with a good deal of narrative might contain 300+
words, while a page with lots of short dialogue might be not more than
200. Therefore, the editor has to think in terms of number of pages,
not the number of words."

"Word count: based on 25 lines per page in Courier New 12 pt. averages
approximately 250 words per page. 20 pages, an average chapter,
=25,000; 200 pages=50,000; 400 pages=100,000; 600 pages=150,000;
800=200,000 words. Most books are between 50 and 100,000 words long.
Publishers estimate by pages, including the white space. A computer
count of 50,000 words may be 65,000 in publishers' terms. If you use a
computer word count note it on the front of the ms."

"Page Counts
In most cases, industry standard preferred length is 250 words per
page... so a 400 page novel would be at about 100,000 words. If you
want to see what size book is selling in your genre, take a look on
the shelves. If the average length is 300 pages, you're looking at a
75,000 word manuscript (approximately)."

"The following table is a guide to manuscript word count, based on
pages, which is the standard used by editors:

Page count  -  Word count

1 page        250 words
100 pages  25,000 words
200 pages  50,000 words
300 pages  75,000 words
400 pages  100,000 words
500 pages  125,000 words

It should be noted that, in a novel's finished, published form, the
actual number of words per page may be quite a bit higher or lower
than 250. The writer's style has a great deal to do with this. Short,
choppy segments of dialogue can result in lots of white space and
fewer words per page; long paragraphs of descriptive material can
result in a higher density of words. The 250 is just a general
guideline: as they say in the automotive industry, your mileage may


75 Posts
Short Story

~ 1,000 - 7,500 words

The ’regular’ short story, usually found in periodicals or anthology collections. Most ’genre’ zines will feature works at this length.


~ 7,500 - 20,000 words

Often a novellette-length work is difficult to sell to a publisher. It is considered too long for most publishers to insert comfortably into a magazine, yet too short for a novel. Generally, authors will piece together three or four novellette-length works into a compilation novel.


~ 20,000 - 50,000 words

Although most print publishers will balk at printing a novel this short, this is almost perfect for the electronic publishing market length. The online audience doesn’t always have the time or the patience to sit through a 100,000 word novel. Alternatively, this is an acceptable length for a short work of non-fiction.


~ 50,000 -110,000

Most print publishers prefer a minimum word count of around 70,000 words for a first novel, and some even hesitate for any work shorter than 80,000. Yet any piece of fiction climbing over the 110,000 word mark also tends to give editors some pause. They need to be sure they can produce a product that won’t over-extend their budget, but still be enticing enough to readers to be saleable. Imagine paying good money for a book less than a quarter-inch thick?

Epics and Sequels

~ Over 110,000 words

If your story extends too far over the 110,000 mark, perhaps consider where you could either condense the story to only include relevant details, or lengthen it to span out into a sequel, or perhaps even a trilogy. (Unless, of course, you’re Stephen King - then it doesn’t matter what length your manuscript is – a publisher is a little more lenient with an established author who has a well-established readership)

Remember, these word counts are only estimated guides. Use your own common sense, and, where possible, check the guidelines of the publication you intend to submit your work to. Most publishers accepting shorter works will post their maximum preferred lengths, and novels are generally considered on the strength of the story itself, not on how many words you have squeezed into each chapter.
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