Ever wondered how long a book is? Well, normally my answer would be how long is a piece of string? – but today, just for you, I’ll delve into how long books are.
First off, there is no set standard for exactly how long a book is. Frankly, most people go by word count, though some do go by page count instead. If you’re curious, the industry standard is 250 words per page. That makes my [at the moment] 130,000-word novel about 520 pages… EEP! However, most books now days hold more words to a page, and this also changes depending on margins, typography and book measurements. For example, I have calculated that my trim size, typography etc will bring me up to 390 words per page, taking me down to a respectable 360 pages (which is significantly better for printing and shipping costs to NZ).
Now, there is more to a book than just a novel. There are also novellas, novelettes, short stories and flash fiction. – I know, a lot right! Let me break it down for you.
Flash fiction is typically under 1,000, super short little snippets of stories.
Short stories fall between 2,000 and 7,500 words and are often comprised of single events, scenes or a micro-arc for a character. When you read an anthology, you’re likely reading a collection of these short stories.
Next up are novelettes, which range between 7,500 and 18,000 words. You can throw more story into a novelette, but generally, it’s just a term applied to a book too short to be a novella. It can also be called a long short story, but I prefer novelette. My reader magnet will likely fall into this category (it’s about Braekon 😉 )
Novella’s range between 18,000 and 40,000 words. This is where you see a great deal of shorter fiction falling into, you can have twists, turns and full plot arcs within these pages so have fun with it all! While you can have multiple characters, you’ll generally find novella’s following a single character through one story.
Finally, Novels. Anything upwards of 40,000, this is the sweet spot for most books- genre depending. What I mean by this is each genre (and its readers) has its own expectation surrounding content, tropes, and, yes, length. Romance typically hits the 60,000 mark, where fantasy is significantly higher (think 90k+). And while I am an underwriter, I am also a fantasy writer. Which means I take longer to write more heh.
That’s all for today folks, pop any questions you have down in the comment section below and, as always, go write something!