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YIKES! I am starting Erin Casey's 8 Week Summer Writing Challenge TODAY as I want my next book to be done by the end of this summer. If anyone is interested in joining, it is open to anyone who has purchased her OUTSTANDING 8 Weeks to Authorship program. 

My question is, what is is the average "word" count for book trends today for:

  • Non-Fiction
  • Fiction

I know that for non-fiction it is not near what it used to be, but thought it might be nice to get a discussion going for all of us to reference for our upcoming projects.

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My suggestion is to go to Amazon, look at the top 25 books in whatever category you plan to write in, and see what the page length is for each book. On average, words per page are 200-250 words (half what it is for an 81/2 by 11 sized page). Do some math. Get your word counts! 

Thanks Kathryn!!!

Good question! Word counts can really vary. Traditionally, non-fiction books were around 75,000-80,000 words. In recent years, most of the books I've worked on with publishers have been between 30,000-40,000 words. Lately that number has reduced to 20,000-25,000 words. Of course, it depends on your topic and the intent of your book: Do you want to introduce a topic, or do you want to dive deep into a topic/process?

Fiction books, with the exceptions of children's books and short stories, are typically longer. People get into the storyline and enjoy getting to know the characters. They don't want it to end too soon (which is why sequels are popular). Again, it varies widely, but 60,000-100,000+ isn't unusual for a fiction book.

When was first working on my Zany Zia books, I did exactly what Kathryn mentioned. I went to the bookstore and counted the words on a page and figured out what was typical for the kind of book I wanted to write. I ended up at 11-15K words.

Erin, THANK YOU for providing this helpful info! Also thanks for providing the 8 Week Summer Challenge. Having a blast digging through the  8 Weeks to Authorship program. 

Having that end goal in mind is really helpful in helping count back to figure out how many words are needed within that timeline goal. 

I wanted this book to be right around that 250 page mark for either a 5x7 or 6x9 (I have done books in both sizes and like the look and feel of that size as it makes it easy to travel for talks and to mail out).

I see from the note on your private 8 Weeks Summer challenge that for my own goals to have a ~250 page book it would be broke down per day as follows to complete in 8 weeks:

  • 1,000 words a day: ~35,000 - 40,000 words for the 6x9 book (5 days a week x 8 weeks = 40 days / 40,000 = 1,000 words a day)
  • 750 words a day: ~ 30,000 words for the 5x7 book (5 days a week x 8 weeks = 40 days / 30,000 = 750 words a day)

Thank you!

Woohoo! I love that you have your word count planned out! 

If it helps, my 80k book (that number includes all the front and back matter) was 263 pages in paperback (6x9).

Can't speak for non fiction, but for fiction, the answer is very dependent on genre. My epic fantasy is actually on the short side at 120,000 words. My superhero novel (think urban fantasy) is probably right on the mark at around 80,000 words. Romance, I think, tends to be a little shorter, probably 50,000 to 75,000.

Regarding production, have you read Chris Fox's 5000 Words Per Hour

It's hard to reach that level without switching to dictation, but by following his techniques, I consistently hit in the 2000 - 2500 WPH range. Kind of proud of myself: yesterday - almost 6600 words!

Jen,

Great question. I feel that Erin Casey offered a very thorough response with great information. 

I really feel that in this day an age it is so much more about the quality of the content you are providing than the actual word count. That's just my opinion.

Hopefully you are plugging along with your writing this summer and will meet your goal of having your book done in the next few months.

Good luck,

- Michael Allen Williamson

Thanks Gang for the responses back!!!

Grateful for the ability to look through archived discussions as this one was super helpful again to review. 

Hi, Jen!

I'm coming in a little late on this topic but still wanted to add that the first draft of my fictional romance novel, "The Reunion", was 120,000+.  After my initial editing I was able to cut that down to 102,000+.  At the final stage I'm now down to 92,000+.

Oh awesome! Congrats on your novel Jace!

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