Fiction Genres Word Counts
Children’s Books Word Counts
- Mainstream Romance: 70,000–100,000 words
- Subgenre Romance: 40,000–100,000 words
- Science Fiction / Fantasy: 90,000–120,000 (and sometimes 150,000) words
- Historical Fiction: 80,000–100,000
- Thrillers / Horror / Mysteries / Crime: 70,000–90,000 words
- Young Adult: 50,000–80,000
- Picture Books: 300–800 words
- Early Readers: 200–3500 words
- Chapter Books: 4000–10,000 words
- Middle Grade: 25,000–40,000 words
Harry Potter isn't a kids' book then, I guess.I think it needs to be mentioned that age ranges matter, too. No kid's book is going to be 100k+ words. Adults have the time/money/brain power to handle a big book, which tends to use all those words to discuss complex topics. But if it's 100k+ words of "Uh huh, yeah, tell me more about your grocery trip" then it's Too Long, no matter what.
Just as a side note, Sanderson's first published novel, Elantris, is somewhere around 150k words. Not quite 170k, but not that far off either. So it can be done in certain genres, just only if those words are needed, and probably only in those genres.There are absolutely first time authors who have 170k novels published....but all those words are needed, and the writing is good enough to back that up. Forget that Sanderson and GRRM have huge novels, they have publication history to back up their skills for publishers to take that risk, you do not.
From what I gather, the word count standard these days is simply whatever number Word gives. It's the program everyone (in the corporate world) uses and it's quick. It doens't actually matter if it's exact or not, since no one cares if a book is 100k or 101k words. All that matters is how it compares to other books in the genre when measured in the same way. If Word says Twilight is 100k words, then any other book where Word gives 100k words will be about the same length.Quick ETA: These wordcounts are always rounded to the nearest 5,000. Different programs count the words in different ways, so sharing exact numbers with outside parties is impossible. When Scrivener updated on Windows, their new counting algorithm decreased my wordcount by ~1k.
First Harry Potter book is only 76k words. And I'd say that the first two are the only ones firmly in kids-books teritory. After that, the themes and books become darker. Also, the last 3 books are definitely too long and needed an editor brave enough to cut out half the words.Harry Potter isn't a kids' book then, I guess.