How Long Should My Book Be?

Word counts!

Here are some ideal word count ranges. If you’re trying to break in, stay within these guidelines to decrease your obstacles to getting published.

Adult fiction: 75k-100k words (sweet spot is 80-90)

Sci-fi or fantasy can be up to 120k.

YA fiction: 50-90k

Nonfiction: 70-80k

Memoir: 75-95k

Self-help: 40-55k

Children’s picture books: 300-1000 words

Middle grade: 25-40k

Yes, there are exceptions! Try NOT to be an exception if you want to improve your chances.

There are reasons for these word counts — tradition, history, reader expectation, physical limitations — but don’t worry about that. These are what traditional publishers want to see, and staying within guidelines will ensure you have one less obstacle on your publishing journey.


If you should decide to invest in some personalized counsel, I offer coaching for unpublished authors here: My Coaching Services


Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!