Word Count for Novels and Children’s Books:
The most important thing here is to realise that there are always exceptions to these rules.
ADULT NOVELS: COMMERCIAL & LITERARY
Between 80,000 and 89,999 words is 100% safe range for literary, mainstream, women’s, romance, mystery, suspense, thriller and horror.
80,000 – 89,999: Totally cool
90,000 – 99,999: Generally safe
70,000 – 79,999: Might be too short; probably all right
100,000 – 109,999: Might be too long; probably all right
Below 70,000: Too short
110,000 or above Too long
Chick lit falls into this realm and 70-75K is fairly standard.
SCI-FI AND FANTASY
Science fiction and fantasy are big exceptions. They tend to run long. It has to do with descriptions and world-building.
100,000 – 115,000 is an excellent range.
90K-100K is most likely all right
115-124K is probably all right, too.
20,000 – 55,000, depending on subject matter and age range – is trending up vis a vis word count.
40,000 – 55,000 words for a book aimed at 12-year-olds ( “tween” or “upper middle grade”) Stick to MG themes and avoid hot-button, YA-acceptable themes such as sex, drugs and rock & roll.
55,000 – 69,999 is a great range.
standard is text for 32 pages. That might mean one line per page, or more. 500-600 words is a good number to aim for. When it gets closer to 1,000, it’s too long.
50K to 80K. 65,000 is a solid number to aim for.
80,000-89,999, same as a novel.
More on MG Novels:
MG novels usually run 20,000-40,000 words, while YA is 40,000-65,000 words. Protagonists are usually 12-13. Someone once told me that readers like to enjoy a story where the protagonist is older, and in a situation they will soon be in. So for MG, where the readers are 9-12, they want to read about 13-year-olds, etc. For YA, where the readers are 11-14, they want to read about 16-year-olds or above.
Update: It’s not uncommon for MG novels to run 60,000 to 100,000 words (Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Artemis Fowl, to name a few popular examples).
excerpted from Writer’s Digest.com Editor Blogs Chuck Sambuchino 10/12