A quick-reference guide to common word count ranges so you can know what to aim for depending on the genre you are writing in

Ebook-only Promo

I may have made up this category, but I believe every up-and-coming expert-author-person should seriously consider having one of these. They are great little books to use for platform-building, for giveaways on your website to grow your mailing list, to pitch yourself for speaking engagements, or other special promos or opportunities. Even I have one. Their word count should be bite-size at

2,500-10,000 words


10,000-15,000 words

General Nonfiction

50,000-70,000 words

Some titles come in at 25,000-40,000 words and make powerful purse-size resources. Think Who Moved My Cheese, The Art of War, The Prayer of Jabez, and Prayers That Rout Demons.

Fiction and Memoir

70,000-90,000 words


50,000-60,000 words

Children’s and Young Adult (YA) Fiction

Middle grade: 20,000-55,000 words

YA: 55,000-80,000 words

Easy/early readers: 2,000-5,000 words

Chapter books: 2,500-10,000 words

Picture books: 500-1,000 words

Some first-time authors have mentioned to me that they want to write small books of less than 5,000-10,000 words, some less, because they don’t want to give their readers too much to read. Don’t be afraid to write within the word count ranges I listed above. They’re the standard for what people have been reading for centuries. You read books of this length all the time without flinching, and if you make it good, your readers will want to read this much from you.

Also, consider that if you want to catch the attention of agents or publishers, they pay attention to these word count ranges, and it’s cool if you show some savvy about the industry by giving them and your readers what they expect.

For more details, literary agent Chuck Sambuchino wrote a fairly comprehensive discussion on word count over at Writer’s Digest.