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How Long Should Your Book Be? Page Number Considerations

August 13, 2021 (Last Updated August 26, 2021)

Marcy G.

How long should your book be? Here at 48 Hour Books, that is one of the most common questions we get from our self-publishing authors, and a loaded one at that. You see, word count matters quite a bit in the world of self-publishing, and falling outside of the average length expectations could make or break your success. In general, word count is one of the leading factors that can help you attract the desired targeted readers and gain exposure within a highly flooded market.


Now, as vital and necessary as book length prioritization is, it is not a ‘one size fits all’ type of scenario. In fact, answering how long should your book be is exceptionally versatile and dictated by the genre you are aiming to cover. Because of that, below is a breakdown of the most popular self-publishing genres and their ideal average lengths, all of which is our impassioned effort to help you spearhead your own self-publishing objectives.


Page Number Averages Based on Genre


Adult Fiction Novels

When it comes to adult fiction novels, the word count ranges anywhere from 40,000 to 125,000 words, depending on the subgenre you are going for. For reference, readers for this area tend to want more in-depth storylines with meatier content.


-       Commercial and Literary Fiction: ~ 80,000 to 110,000 words

-       Romance: ~ 80,000 to 100,000 words

-       Mystery/Thriller: ~ 70,000 to 110,000 words

-       Fantasy/Sci-Fi: ~ 90,000 to 125,000 words

-       Historical fiction: ~ 80,000 to 120,000 words


Non-Fiction Novels

Non-fiction novels are roughly around the same on the surface, coming in with averages between 40,000 to 100,000 words. Again, the range scope you should stick with is based on the type of non-fiction you are writing about. For some more insight, adults/teens who enjoy this category usually prefer more detailed-rich pages than less, much like fiction listed above.


-       Standard Non-Fiction: ~ 50,000 to 80,000 words

-       Self-Help Books: ~ 40,000 to 50,000 words

-       Memoirs: ~ 80,000 to 100,000 words


Children’s Books

When it comes to children’s books, this is where it can get a little more tricky, as different age groups call for different page lengths. Too short of a book can deter more advanced, older readers whereas too long of a book can overwhelm young, new readers. As a rule of thumb, try sticking to the following ranges:


-       Picture Books:  ~ 400 to 700 words

-       Early Readers: ~ 200 to 3,500 words

-       Early Chapter Books: ~ 4,000 to 10,000 words

-       Middle Graded Novels: ~ 20,000 to 50,000 words

-       Young Adult Novels: ~ 45,000 to 80,000 words


Keep in mind that there is no conversion to determine how many pages your book will be based on a page count goal. The actual number of pages will be determined once your book is completely formatted. Our FAQ section can help answer questions you may have about setting up your files for printing.


Summary – Plan the Right Word Count for Your Readers


In the end, answering the question of ‘how long should your book be’ relies heavily on the type of book you are looking to bring to life. After all, you would probably not have much success on capturing the attention of your readers if you created a children’s book of 10,000+ words. In short, the best thing to do here is analyze the type of self-publishing genre you are aiming to cover and review what your target market readers expect in that given category. You can also reach out to our 48 Hour Books team for professional self-publishing support to ensure you are positioned to succeed from cover to cover.



Overall, try your best to fall within the word count parameters based on your specific genre, but remember to not sacrifice quality or creativity when doing so. In summary, it is much better to have an authentic, high-quality book than a lackluster one that meets the preferred length. But, if you are determined to find the perfected balance of achieving both, our team of experts is on standby to help you make that happen.



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