what books are 60000 words

The Word Count of 175 Favorite Novels

I’m writing a novel. You’re writing a novel. We’re all writing or reading novels. But how long is too long? How short is too short? If you’re obsessing over how many words your novel should be, it’s a good idea to consult the word counts of popular novels as a frame of reference. In this post, you’ll find the word counts of 175 (well, it’s actually 177, but 175 sounds cleaner!) classic, bestselling, award-winning novels, from books you’d recognize from high school English to recent hits. Along the way, I’ll analyze the word counts and note a few interesting trends. It’s my hope this list can be a resource for other writers like me who wonder how long a novel should be. I hope to follow it up with a children’s literature specific list.

The links will take you to Amazon (these are affiliate links), and if you’d like to know my sources, you can view them in this Google spreadsheet .

Also of note, check out my list of the 20+ best books on creative writing :

The 20+ Best Books on Creative Writing

A few series in focus

Before we dive into the list, let’s explore the word count of a few popular fantasy series and one favorite, bestselling author who racks up high word counts.

Word count of Harry Potter series

what books are 60000 words

The total word count of J.K. Rowling’s seven-book Harry Potter series is 1,084,625. That’s like reading David Foster Wallaces’s Infinite Jest (488,940) twice.

Word count of The Chronicles of Narnia series

what books are 60000 words

The total word count of C.S. Lewis’ seven-book Chronicles of Narnia series is 345,535. That’s approximately the same length as Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote (344,665).

Word count of Earthsea series

what books are 60000 words

The word count of Ursula K. Le Guin’s six-book Earthsea series is 480,503. That’s like reading Stephen King’s The Stand: Uncut at 471,485 words and a third of Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea at 26,601 words.

Word count of His Dark Materials series

what books are 60000 words

The word count of Philip Pullman’s three-book His Dark Materials fantasy series is 390,575, about the length of reading J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion (130,115) three times.

Word count of Game of Thrones series

what books are 60000 words

The word count of George R. R. Martin’s five-volume A Song of Ice and Fire series is 1,770,000. The series is incomplete, so there could still be more words on the way! That’s about the length of Stephen King’s It (445,134) times four (1,781,736).

Word count of the Lord of the Rings series

what books are 60000 words

The word count of J. R. R. Tolkien’s four-volume Lord of the Rings series is 576,459. To equal that, read J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (190,858), Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (169,441), and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (198,227) plus about half of Albert Camus’ The Stranger (36,014)

Author in focus: word count of Stephen King’s books

what books are 60000 words

It’s also fun to look at the word counts in the work of one author in particular, so I decided to do a little exploring and find out the word counts of some books by a beloved author, Stephen King, a prolific writer with millions of words among his many books. In this list, you can see that The Stand: Uncut is 471,485 words. His writing guide and memoir On Writing is 79,139, meaning The Stand holds approximately six (5.957) books of On Writing ‘s length within it. On Writing is one of my favorite guides to writing. I’d gladly take more of those over another novel. (Though I’d of course take The Stand over any novel ever.) For more Stephen King book word counts, see this ver y detailed Reddit thread .

Now we’ll move along to look at this list of 177 word counts of popular novels.

Books that are 500,000+ words long.

what books are 60000 words

Here we see some of the longest novels in the world in the 500,000-word and up level. (And for more on that, check out the Wikipedia entry for List of Longest Novels .) Many people put reading Marcel Proust’s seven-volume In Search of Lost Time series on their reading bucket list. I’ve only read the first volume, Swann’s Way , and loved it, but I’m not sure I’ll ever get around to reading the rest of the books.

Books that are 400,000 words long

what books are 60000 words

Think you can manage writing a 400,000-word novel? If you were going to write 1,000 words a day, that would take 400 days, more than a year. And if you only manage 500 words a day, double that to 800 days, over 2 years. Still, if it’s fame and glory you’re chasing, why not? David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest is a cult classic. And Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind won the Pulitzer Prize. Maybe bigger is better.

Books that are 300,000 words long

what books are 60000 words

If you’re writing a 300,000-word novel, you’re in good company. Some of the most beloved classics in literature sit in the 300,000 word range. And some of these are downright page turners. Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander has to be the quickest 305,000 words I’ve ever read.

Books that are 200,000 words long

what books are 60000 words

Writing 200,000 words seems manageable. Interestingly, the first book in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, A Game of Thrones , is also his shortest while J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the fifth and longest book in her series. Here we also have the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay , which won the Pulitzer Prize, and Salman Rushdie’s Man Booker-winning Midnight’s Children . Two classics of the Western canon, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick and Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment also reach the 200,000 word novel club.

Books that are 150,000 words long

what books are 60000 words

I split up the 100,000 – 200,000 category in two to make it easier to grasp. Plus, that 50,000 word difference is significant, at least according to the good people of National Novel Writing Month , who count a winning novel at 50,000 words. In this category, we have three books in the Harry Potter series. We have a few modern classics of literary fiction, including Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections , Zadie Smith’s White Teeth , and Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible . We see a few fantasy and science fiction novels here, too, like Dune , American Gods , and Eragon .

Books that are 100,000 words long

what books are 60000 words

At 100,000 words, several of these novels are bestsellers. If you want to write a hit, this might be the sweet spot. Also, we’ve got Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl , a #1 New York Times bestseller, Ian McEwan’s Atonement , and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice , all three of which were adapted for Oscar-nominated movies. Might this be the perfect length for a film version of your novel? It’s certainly something to consider. Note that we’ve got the first novels in three beloved YA fantasy series here: Twilight , Divergent , and Throne of Glass . If you’re writing YA fantasy, aim your word count high.

Books that are 90,000 words long

what books are 60000 words

We’ve dropped a digit and are now at five-figure word counts, but that doesn’t mean the prestige (or bestseller potential) drops, too. Here at 90,000 words, we see Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games alongside Paula Hawkins’ frenzied thriller The Girl on the Train and Toni Morrison’s lush literary Song of Solomon . And 90,000 words seems quite doable. At 1,000 words a day, you’d be finished in 90 days, or three months. And if you really hit your stride at 1,000 words, you’d finish four 90,000-word books in a year. Not bad if you’re planning a series!

Books that are 80,000 words long

what books are 60000 words

There are many bestsellers and award-winning novels in the 80,000-word novel society, like Marilynne Robinson’s Pulitzer Prize winning Gilead and the Booker Prize-winning The English Patient . But what strikes me most about the books in this category is The Diary of a Young Girl . I take particular inspiration from Anne Frank’s diary, which is 82,662 words long. That’s as long as some of the classics of literature, including 1984 and Persuasion , and shows how insightful, observant, intelligent, and hopeful Anne Frank was while writing her diary. What an accomplishment. It stirs you on, doesn’t it?

Books that are 70,000 words long

what books are 60000 words

It feels a bit strange to know that one of my favorite novels of all time, J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye is 73,404 words long. It’s like knowing how many words are in the bible, if Catcher is your misfit religion like mine was. We see in this batch of 70,000-word novels the first book in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series at 77,325. If you’re keeping track, you could write that in 77 days, a little over two months at 1,000 words each day.

Books that are 60,000 words long

what books are 60000 words

From John Green to Virginia Woolf to Terry Pratchett, the authors who have written beloved 60,000-word novels know how to pack a lot of meaning into a relatively short book. If you’re looking to expand your novel beyond NaNoWriMo length, take some comfort that you don’t have to stretch too far past the 50,000 word draft to pen a future classic.

Books that are 50,000 words long

what books are 60000 words

Several classics of children’s literature are comfortably in the 50,000-word novel range, including Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty , Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows , and Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea . The novels in this category, including Michael Cunningham’s Pulitzer-winning The Hours (one of my favorite books), prove that you don’t have to type your fingers off in order to craft something that takes your reader’s breath away. It’s also interesting to note that The Hours is an homage to Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway , which we learned in the last category, is longer (at 63,422). Sometimes you can take inspiration for a retelling and capture the beauty of the original in far fewer words.

Books that are 40,000 words long

what books are 60000 words

Now, none of these authors would win NaNoWriMo with their 40,000-word novel, but they’re obviously playing the long game. This list of 40,000-word novels should be subtitled: “How to write a book they’ll teach in high school English.” It’s like a who’s who of the English curriculum: Fitzgerald, Vonnegut, Hinton, Bradbury, hell, probably Nicholas Sparks… I mean, who knows? Clearly, even though we’re getting down to the end of this list of word counts of favorite novels, there are still heavy hitters in the lower range.

Books that are 30,000 words long

what books are 60000 words

As an aspiring children’s literature writer, I’m pleasantly surprised and inspired to learn that Roald Dahl’s classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is only 30,644 words long. You can manage that in a month, for sure! It’s also interesting to note that James M. Cain’s noir novel Double Indemnity is only 30,072. And at 30,000 words, most of these novels fall into the novella length , which is generally between 17,500 and 40,000 words.

Books that are 20,000 words long

what books are 60000 words

And here we are at the last category I’ve included: novels that are 20,000 words long. When you read Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis and George Orwell’s Animal Farm , you’re reading some of the shortest novels (really, novellas) you’ll find in bound books, yet these alarming, still-shocking stories show you can make a huge impact in just a few words.

What’s the word count of your novel? What are some of your favorite short novels or long novels? Leave a comment and share your thoughts on writing and readings books of all lengths.

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Sarah S. Davis is the founder of Broke by Books, a blog about her journey as a schizoaffective disorder bipolar type writer and reader. Sarah's writing about books has appeared on Book Riot, Electric Literature, Kirkus Reviews, BookRags, PsychCentral, and more. She has a BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Library and Information Science from Clarion University, and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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15 Literary Masterpieces Under 60K Words — The Writing Coach Episode 146

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November 4, 2022

what books are 60000 words

Many beginning writers want to write a long book.

There seems to be some sort of belief that long equals good.

Yet, as this episode of The Writing Coach podcast demonstrates, some of the greatest novels ever written are rather short.

In this episode, I cover more than a dozen of my favourite books, all of which are under 60K words long.

Listen to the episode or read the transcript below:

The Writing Coach Episode #146 Show Notes


what books are 60000 words

The Writing Coach Episode #146 Transcript

Hello, beloved listeners and welcome back to The Writing Coach podcast. It is your host as always writing coach Kevin T. Johns here.

If you would like a free book of mine, head on over to www.kevintjohns.com. There’s a book there called Novel Advice: Motivation, Inspiration, and Creative Writing Tips for Aspiring Authors . You can grab a free copy there by dropping your email address into the form and joining my newsletter.

All right, today I want to talk about short books. Virtually every client I work with aims for something longer. I almost never have someone come to me and say, “Oh, Kevin, I want help writing a nice short 55,000 word book.” People are always pushing that hundred-thousand-word mark or even going above that.

I get it. I was there when I wrote my first book, The Page Turners . It was this huge 140,000-word epic that mashed together sci-fi horror and fantasy had a ton of characters.

So many writers, especially people writing in genre fiction and in fantasy want to tell their epic. They want to tell their big story, but unfortunately what they tend to do, and what I try to do with that first draft of my book was put it all into a single book. But what I see so often is people come to me with a manuscript with two, three books worth of ideas crammed into one story, and everything goes by so quickly because there’s so much in there. And yet the book drags because it’s so long. It’s the worst of both worlds.

I only became a published author when I took that big giant manuscript and looked at it and said to myself, I come from the world of. In punk rock, we like nice short, scrappy songs and we do it ourselves. And so this big giant manuscript that I’d been shopping around to agents, I was like, Why am I even doing this process? This is not how I’ve ever created my art. And so I took that big giant manuscript, I broke it up into three books, and I self-published that first book, and the rest is history. My career as an author in my career as a writing coach all took off from there. And that first book, I think it’s about 55,000 words, maybe 60,000 words. It’s not a long book, and yet I’ve never once received feedback that people thought it was a short book. It feels like just an average book at 55,000 words. And yet so

Many, many writers think they need to double or triple that word count in order to feel like they really have a book. But the reality is, especially as a self-published author, everything gets easier when you shorten the length of your book. It’s easier to get the book’s first draft written. It’s easier to get the revisions done. It’s cheaper to hire a copy editor. It’s easier to find beta readers. No beta reader wants to read a hundred-thousand-word unpolished manuscript. But people will take a look at a nice short book, and guess what? You’ll get your feedback quicker. Everything is just so much easier and faster with a short book. And some people start thinking, Well, but is it at 50,000 words? Is it even a book <laugh>? I would say it’s probably a book at 40,000 words. I think most people consider a novel anywhere between about 17,000 words to 40,000 words, and anything above 40,000 words, you’re basically looking at a novel.

And in fact, some of the best novels ever written, some of my favourites anyway, are on that shorter end of things in that 50,000-55,000 word mark. And so today I want to go over some of these masterpieces that are on the shorter end of things.

The Outsiders   by S.E. Hinton

First off, S.E. Hinton’s incredible book, The Outsiders . You might know this one because it was made into a film in the eighties. It’s a book about greasers, and it is just such a fantastic book. I think Hinton was like 17 or something when they wrote it. It was insane how young the author was, and yet the book is a masterpiece. But it’s a nice short masterpiece.

Fahrenheit 451  by Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury’s arguably most famous book would be Fahrenheit 451. I love Bradbury. I love Fahrenheit 451. Again, it’s in that 50,000-word mark. A nice short book.

You know what, I should talk about Ray Bradbury more often.

I really love Bradbury, but for some reason he doesn’t come up in conversation as much. I often reference, say, Chuck Palahnuik from Fight Club , but I mean, I like Bradbury more than I like him, more than I like Chuck. So I don’t know why I don’t talk about Bradbury that much.

I would say in terms of my own artistic goals, I love the way Bradbury combines genre fiction with literary fiction. He’s kind of the best of both worlds, and I’ve always tried to capture that. I would say he is like the author of Lolita, Nabokov, he does the same thing as him. They are both really this absolutely amazing combination of edge-of-your-seat thrilling storytelling mixed with just gorgeous literary writing.

And so if you haven’t read any Ray Bradbury lately, go out there and read some of his great stuff, including the nice short Fahrenheit 451 .

The Turn of the Screw   by Henry James

Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw , is like an early psychological thriller. You could call it a “ghost story” or not. It’s a fantastic book. I think I read that one in university for a course and its in that 55,000-word range. Nice short book.

The Old Man and the Sea  by Earnest Hemingway

Just like the Old Man in the Sea , the amazing Ernest Hemingway masterpiece. A lot of Hemingway’s books are on the lean end of things. I mean, certainly as a minimalist that plays into it, but he also just understood that he didn’t need to cram his books with a thousand ideas. The Old Man In the Sea is a pretty simple story, told wonderfully.

Lord of the Flies  by William Golding

William Goldings’s Lord of the Flies , we all read in high school probably. When I was in university, there was a Golding course where they looked at Lord of the Flies really in-depth as well. I didn’t take that course, but I remember hearing other folks talking about it and what a great course it was. Again, a book that teachers make kids read at high school level or a university level, an incredible examination of children and culture and violence and humanity and all of these things. Nice short book.

The   Catcher in the Rye  by J.D. Salinger,

JD Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye , is obviously an incredible masterpiece and a nice short book at 55,000 words.

I recently read At Home in the World by Joyce Maynard, a memoir that paints JD Salinger in not the best light really. As a grown man, he dated a child, a teenager and didn’t perhaps treat her all that well. So I don’t know. It’s hard . . . most authors are horrible people. Everyone’s horrible to some extent. And I suppose it was a different time, but I don’t know . . .

Growing up reading all of the Glass stories and A Perfect Day for a Banana Fish or whatever, the suicide story that he wrote from The New Yorker, all of his stuff. I mean, everything he published was incredible. So I’ve always admired his work, but I think maybe after reading At Home in the World , I might not admire the man quite as much.

To the Lighthouse  by Virginia Woolf

Someone who I do admire Virginia Wolf. You guys know I love Virginia Wolf, and her amazing book To the Lighthouse is in the 55,000-word range. A nice short book, super awesome, beautiful writing, as always from Virginia Wolf.

The   Metamorphosis   by Franz Kafka

Kafka’s The Metamorphosis , his most famous book, is a nice short book. I actually just read The Trial for the first time. I think I go through phases in my life where I read a bunch of Kafka, and I always loved The Hunger Artist , his short story and that other short story about the crazy torture device, The Colony . . . I think it’s called The Penal Colony . Anyway, Kafka’s amazing. His writing is great, and the trial is awesome, but The Metamorphosis is really his most famous work, I would think. And it’s a super short book, and yet incredible and stands the test of time.

Heart of Darkness  by Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is the inspiration for Apocalypse Now , and is probably another book that you might have been made to read in high school. I think I was in grade 10 or 11 maybe when I read that book for school. And obviously again, another dark, powerful book about colonial culture and about life and death and all these amazing things. And it’s all captured in a nice concise book.

The Picture of Dorian Grey  by Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde is perhaps better known for his plays, like The Importance of Being Ernest and whatnot, but his awesome horror story The Picture of Dorian Gray, again, it’s a nice short book, a nice short novel that’s still incredible and scary and dark.

I mean, you kind of tell by the books I’m referencing here, the type of stuff I like. There isn’t a lot of super fun, light, happy stuff in here, but just because I like dark stuff doesn’t mean it has to be long, right? I like nice, short, dark things.

Notes from Underground  by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Dostoyevsky’s Notes From the Underground is a classic novel of Russian literature that . . .Dostoyevsky’s Russian, isn’t he? Yeah, I think so. <laugh> Eastern European writing. Great book about an outsider, something that became very common in the writing of the Beats and whatnot, these stories of people kind of pushed to the edges of society, and that’s certainly what Notes from the Underground covers and captures in a nice short package.

Alice’s Adventures in   Wonderland  by Lewis Carroll

I actually l just in the mail this week got Brian Talbot’s book, Alice in Sunderland , which is a graphic novel about Sunderland, this place in England where Lewis Carroll and Alice, the inspiration for Alice in the Alice books, comes from. And it’s about theater and it’s about mythology, and it’s about art, and it’s about Alice in Wonderland . Anyway, incredible, incredible graphic novel that really pushes the edges of the medium and might surprise you. It’s not what you think of when you think of your typical comic book.

Anyway, that incredible book was inspired by and is about Louis Carroll’s Alice’s Advetures in Wonderland , a nice short book. Nothing long about it. You can read it to your kids in a few evenings. And just a wonderful masterpiece of insane fantasy storytelling.

Slaughterhouse Five  by Kurt Vonnegut,

Speaking of insanity, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five , is his world war II time travel alien masterpiece. I mean, I guess everything Vonnegut did was a massive piece. I feel like each book is as good as the next, but Slaughterhouse Five is one of the ones that’s really held up there as one of his top books along with Breakfast of Champions and a few others. But Slaughterhouse Five isn’t too long, yet a great, nice concise book.

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy  by Douglas Adams

Even something like the first Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy is short. There you go. See, not everything I read is Dark <laugh>. We got some Douglas Adams in there. That first Hitchhiker’s Guide book is short. I mean, I think, did it start as a radio play or did it get turned into a radio play after it was a book? I’m not sure which way it worked, but perhaps because of that relationship with audio and radio play, it was a little shorter than it might otherwise have been. Or maybe I’m crazy. Maybe it did start as a book. Either way. It’s a nice short book.

So hopefully what you take away from this list is that you don’t have to be long to be a masterpiece. You can write incredible books that are nice and short, and when you do, it makes a lot of things easier.

I’m always ragging on The Order of the Phoenix , but I have got to do it again. I would say of all the Harry Potter books, it’s maybe the worst or the second worst. I think that first book is not great. The first act of the first book is fairly atrocious, I believe, but obviously, it’s set up everything to come. So maybe I will go with The Order of the Phoenix as the worst of all Harry Potter books. And I would say the reason that it’s the worst is because it’s ridiculously long and bloated. It takes 300 pages or something to get Harry two Hogwarts <laugh>. The length of the entire first book is just the first act of order of the Phoenix, and there are some conversations with Dumbledor that go on for 15 pages. I mean, she was so powerful. No one could edit her at that point, and I think ego got in the way, and she just wrote a bloated book that should have been trimmed back. And so not only do I believe shorter books can be great and are easier to produce, I also think longer books can actually be bad. Some of the worst books have sometimes trimming, sometimes putting boundaries around ourselves make things better.

There was once a Letter from Mark Twain where he wrote a letter to someone. It was like a 12 page letter, and at the end of it, he said, PS, sorry for this letter being so long, I didn’t have time to write anything shorter, <laugh>. The point being it takes hard work and thought to create something concise, and perhaps with the order of the Phoenix, no one was there to tell her, Hey, take the time to tighten this up a bit.

All of which is to say, when you’re writing today, when you’re looking at your manuscript, ask yourself, how long does this book really need to be? And are there places here where the story’s getting bloated? Or just opportunities for me to tighten my pros to make the book a little bit shorter? All right, that is it for this episode. Don’t forget to head over to www.kevintjohns.com. Grab that free book of mine. There’s a little tab at the top that says Free book. Click on it, and you can get your copy of Novel Advice: Motivation, Inspiration, and Creative Writing Tips for Aspiring Authors

Thank you so much for tuning in. I will see you on the next episode of The Writing Coach .

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Inside Foster Grant

Word counts of the most popular books in the world.

Date August 3, 2017

what books are 60000 words

If you’re a big reader then you’ve probably read a mixture of very short and very long books in your lifetime. And you’ve probably wondered how long some of your favourite stories are. But because time sometimes slows down or speeds up when we’re engrossed in a good story, it’s very hard to compare the length of different stories by reflecting on our experiences. The number of pages also doesn’t help much, as publishers use different typefaces, page sizes, font sizes, etc. The ultimate measure of a story’s size is its wordcount, however, so the literary geeks here at Foster Grant have put together a list of many of the most popular books and short stories in history for you. Make sure you take a look at our range of reading glasses if you need a little help reading your next book!

What’s the Difference Between a Novel, a Novella, and a Short Story?

First off, it’s important to be able to tell the difference between a novel and a novella, a short story and a piece of flash fiction.

  • Flash fiction is anything from 100 to 500 words
  • A short story is usually anything from 1,000 to 8,000 words, but many are often longer
  • A novella is usually between 20,000 and 50,000 words
  • The average novel is usually between 80,000 and 100,000 words
  • An epic novel is anything over 110,000 words

Word Counts in Different Genres

There are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to what word count a novel in a particular genre should be. However, there are averages and rough word counts expected by publishers. Of course, figures differ depending on which publisher you ask, so the following figures are merely approximations derived from various sources.

  • Crime – 90,000 to 100,000 words
  • Thrillers – 70,000 to 90,000 words
  • Literary – 80,000 to 110,000 words
  • Romance – 40,000 to 100,000 words
  • Fantasy – 90,000 to 110,000 words
  • Horror – 80,000 to 100,000 words
  • Science – 90,000 to 125,000 words
  • Historical – 100,000 to 120,000 words

Literary Fiction

Literary fiction is a slightly difficult genre to define sometimes, as it tends to contain a mixture of all genres. One thing that seems to connect all books considered ‘literary’ is that they are all considered to be intelligently written. However, there are intelligent books in all genres, so literary fiction is really just the upper echelons of books considered ‘good’ by revered critics and academics.

  • To Kill a Mockingbird , Harper Lee – 100,388 words
  • Gullivers Travels, Jonathan Swift – 107,349 words
  • Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte – 107,945 words
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn , Mark Twain – 109,571 words
  • As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner – 56,695 words
  • Lord of the Flies, William Golding – 59,900 words
  • Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Wolf – 63,422 words
  • Black Beauty, Anna Sewell – 59,635 words
  • The Colour Purple, Alice Walker – 66,556 words
  • Treasure Island , Robert Louis Stevenson – 66,950 words
  • The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway – 67,707 words
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde – 78,462 words

Epic Literary Fiction Novels

Epic novels are works of fiction that are 110,000 words or over.

  • Ulysses , James Joyce – 265,222 words
  • Bleak House , Charles Dickens – 360,947 words
  • Great Expectations , Charles Dickens – 183,349 words
  • Les Miserables , Victor Hugo – 530,982 words
  • War and Peace , Leo Tolstoy – 561,304 words
  • Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy – 349,736 words
  • Gone with the Wind , Margaret Mitchell – 418,053 words
  • Moby Dick , Herman Melville – 206,052 words
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls , Ernest Hemingway – 174,106 words
  • Memoirs of a Geisha , Arthur Golden – 186,418 words
  • Jane Eyre , Charlotte Brontë – 183,858 words
  • Catch-22 , Joseph Heller – 174,269 words
  • Sense and Sensibility , Jane Austen – 126,194 words
  • Atonement , Ian McEwan – 123,378 words
  • Lonesome Dove , Larry McMurtry – 365,712 words
  • Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand – 561,996 words
  • Crime and Punishment , Fyodor Dostoyevsky – 211,591 words
  • The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck – 169,481 words
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude , Gabriel Garcia Marquez – 144,523 words

Fantasy Books

Fantasy readers usually expect all their books to be epic. So, most of the famous fantasy novels are over 110,000 words – although there are a few exceptions…

  • Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell , Susanna Clarke – 308,931 words
  • American Gods , Neil Gaiman – 183,222 words
  • The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett – 65,113 words
  • Eragon, Christopher Paolini – 157,000 words

Word counts of the books in Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea series:

  • A Wizard of Earthsea – 56,533 words
  • The Tombs of Atuan – 45,939 words
  • The Farthest Shore – 60,591 words
  • Tehanu – 99,200 words
  • Tales from Earthsea – 128,960 words
  • The Other Wind – 89,280 words

Word counts of the books in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series:

  • A Game of Thrones – 298,000 words
  • A Clash of Kings – 326,000 words
  • A Storm of Swords – 424,000 words
  • A Feast for Crows – 300,000 words
  • A Dance with Dragons – 422,000 words
  • The entire A Song of Ice and Fire series (so far) – 1,770,000 words

Word counts of the books in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series:

  • The Hobbit – 95,356 words
  • The Fellowship of the Ring – 187,790 words
  • The Two Towers – 156,198 words
  • The Return of the King – 137,115 words
  • The entire Lord of the Rings series (including The Hobbit ) – 576,459 words

Word counts of the books in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series:

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – 76,944 words
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – 85,141 words
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – 107,253 words
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – 190,637 words
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – 257,045 words
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – 168,923 words
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – 198,227 words
  • The entire Harry Potter series – 1,084,170 words

Word counts of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series:

  • The Golden Compass – 112,815 words
  • The Subtle Knife – 109,120 words
  • The Amber Spyglass – 168,640 words

Word counts of C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia series:

  • The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe – 38,421 words
  • Prince Caspian – 46,290 words
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – 53,960 words
  • The Silver Chair – 51,022 words
  • The Horse and His Boy – 48,029 words
  • The Magician’s Nephew – 64,480 words
  • The Last Battle – 43,333 words

Science Fiction

  • The Time Traveller’s Wife , Audrey Niffenegger – 155,717 words
  • Fahrenheit 451 , Ray Bradbury – 46,118 words
  • The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury – 64,768 words
  • Brave New World , Aldous Huxley – 63,766 words
  • War of the Worlds, G. Well – 59,796 words
  • The Time Machine, G. Well – 32,149 words
  • Nineteen Eight-Four, George Orwell – 88,942 words
  • Dune, Frank Herbert – 187,240 words
  • The Left Hand of Darkness , Ursula K. Le Guin – 94,240 words
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Phillip K. Dick – 79,360 words
  • Frankenstein, Mary Shelley – 74,800 words

One Response to “Word Counts of the Most Popular Books in the World”

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I can’t believe you didn’t include one of the best and longest Epic Fantasy series ever. The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan is by far one of the longest series . The series has 147 unique POVs and 1,379 total POVs in 14 books totaling 4,410,036 words, not to mention over 1,500 unique characters.

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Average Book Length: How Long Is a Novel?

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Hannah Yang

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How long is a novel, what’s the average word count of a book, how prowritingaid can help you hit your word count.

Readers want books that hit a perfect sweet spot in terms of length. Short books can leave readers feeling like they didn’t get their money’s worth, while long books can feel like a slog.

Knowing the ideal length for your genre will help you plan the order of events and story arc of your book.

So, how do you know the best length for your book?

This article will explain what an average book length is and how you can calculate the right word count to aim for in your own manuscript.

Let’s start by looking at the average length of a novel. The answer varies a lot depending on what type of novel you’re writing, so here are some ranges you can use as a benchmark.

What Is the Average Novel Word Count?

Most publishers consider novel length to be anywhere between 50,000 and 110,000 words. The average length of an adult novel is about 90,000 words.

Novels for younger readers run shorter than novels for adults. Young adult novels have an average length of 50,000–80,000 words, while middle-grade novels have an average length of 25,000–40,000 words.

Genre can also make a difference to how long your novel should be.

Science fiction and fantasy novels tend to have higher word counts than most other genres, averaging around 90,000–120,000 words, since they often need a lot of words for world building and introducing magic systems. Big, epic stories, such as George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, can even be 120,000+ words.

Romance novels, on the other hand, often have shorter word counts, averaging 50,000–100,000 words. Some even go as low as 40,000 words, depending on the specific subgenre.

Mystery, thriller, and horror novels also tend to run on the shorter side since they’re fast-paced and often focus more on action than on exposition. They average around 70,000–90,000 words.

Historical fiction is fairly average in terms of length, usually falling between 80,000 and 100,000 words.

If you’re a first-time writer and don’t know your exact genre, aiming for around 90,000 words for an adult novel is a safe goal.

what books are 60000 words

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What Is the Average Novel Length in Pages?

Books come in various sizes and are printed with different fonts and spacing, so page count isn’t always consistent. The best way to calculate length is by the number of words.

If you really want to estimate the number of pages for your book, you can divide the total word count by the number of words on a page.

A double-spaced document with standard manuscript formatting in 12-point font contains about 250 words per page. If you format your manuscript as a single-space document, it will be about 500 words per page.

So, if the average novel is around 90,000 words, that breaks down to about 360 double-spaced pages.

Here are a few more quick conversions to save you from having to do the math:

A 50,000-word book is about 200 pages

A 60,000-word book is about 240 pages

A 70,000-word book is about 280 pages

An 80,000-word book is about 320 pages

A 90,000-word book is about 360 pages

A 100,000-word book is about 400 pages

A 110,000-word book is about 440 pages

Even if you write only one page per day, you’ll have a completed manuscript in less than a year.

There are many types of books other than novels, such as textbooks, memoirs, and self-help books. Let’s look at what those average word counts are.  

How Long Is a Self-Help Book?

The average self-help book is shorter than the average novel, coming in at around 40,000–50,000 words. Readers want a quick, concise read that can teach them something new in a short span of time.

How Long Is a Memoir?

Memoirs have similar word counts to novels. Most memoirs are 80,000–100,000 words long.

How Long Is a Biography?

Biographies tend to run longer than memoirs, often going as high as 200,000 words. A good target range is 80,000–200,000 words.

How Long Is a Textbook?

Textbooks vary widely in length depending on the subject you’re writing about and the audience you’re writing for.

A biology textbook designed for college students might be 200,000 words, while an arithmetic textbook designed for elementary schoolers might only be 30,000 words.

One useful way to figure out the target word count for a textbook is to look at the word counts of other textbooks with similar topics and target audiences. That can give you a more specific sense of what word count to shoot for.

It’s important to hit the right word count for the type of book you’re writing.

If you’re hoping to traditionally publish your book, editors at publishing houses know the right book lengths for their genres, and they’ll be less inclined to take a chance on your story if it doesn’t meet their expectations. And if you want to self-publish, you’ll have a better chance of selling your book to your target audience if you give them the length they’re expecting.

You can run your manuscript through ProWritingAid to look for ways to hit your target word count.

If you need to cut words, you can use the Pacing Check to look for sections that are particularly slow-paced, such as long sections of introspection, and tighten them up. If you need to add words, you can look for fast-paced dialogue and action and add more description.

You can also consider adding an extra subplot to a novel that’s too short or splitting a novel into a series if it’s far too long. Don’t be afraid to get creative.

Good luck, and happy writing!

Hannah is a speculative fiction writer who loves all things strange and surreal. She holds a BA from Yale University and lives in Colorado. When she’s not busy writing, you can find her painting watercolors, playing her ukulele, or hiking in the Rockies. Follow her work on hannahyang.com or on Twitter at @hannahxyang.

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List of 50,000 Word Novels

Here is a partial list of well-known novels that contain roughly 50,000 words , which in turn is roughly 175 pages, and are thus comparable to the average size of a NaNoWriMo winner's novel.

See also List of published authors who write quickly for published authors who consistently write at the NaNoWriMo pace or faster.

  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (46,333 words)
  • The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks (52,000 words)
  • The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (50,776 words)
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (50,061 words)
  • The Apostle Paul's Epistles from the Bible (43,293 words. 50,190 if you count Hebrews.)
  • Lost Horizon by James Hilton
  • Shattered by Dean Koontz
  • Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
  • The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells
  • Gadsby: A Story of Over 50,000 Words Without Using the Letter "E" by Ernest Vincent Wright
  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (56,695 words)
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry (43,617 words)
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (46,591 words)
  • A Separate Peace by John Knowles (56,787 words)
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (46,118 words)

Interestingly, Brave New World , the novel famed to be the one Chris Baty used to choose the 50,000-word goal in No Plot? No Problem! , is 64,575 words long.

The NaNoWriMo website previously had a topic on their website , which was wiped in the site relaunch. It is still up on the Wayback Machine . A thread on this topic has already been posted in the 2012 forums , referencing this article.

Books of smaller word counts were more common in the 1800s and early 1900s, but the trend for books became longer with the rise of modern printing techniques. Nowadays, adult novels generally tend to range from 80k to 120k depending on genre, however, young adult is often closer to the range of a Nanowrimo winner, with 60-70k being desirable. In addition, digital publishing is making novels and novelettes of any length more accessible.

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