Politics Magazine

Classifying Works of Fiction by Length

Posted on the 21 May 2015 by Calvinthedog

Taken from the Internet. This looks pretty good to me. Page count based on 250 words/page, which admittedly can vary by the book.

Short Story:  1,000 – 7,500 words or 4-30 pages.

The regular short story usually found in periodicals or anthology collections. Most genre zines will feature works at this length.

Novellette:  7,500 – 20,000 words or 30-80 pages.

Often a novellette-length work is difficult to sell to a publisher. It is considered too long for most publishers to insert comfortably into a magazine yet too short for a novel. Generally, authors will piece together three or four novellette-length works into a compilation novel.

Novella or Short Novel:  20,000 – 50,000 words or 80-200 pages.

Although most print publishers will balk at printing a novel this short, this is almost perfect for the electronic publishing market length. The online audience doesn’t always have the time or the patience to sit through a 100,000 word or 200 page novel. Alternatively, this is an acceptable length for a short work of non-fiction. On the other hand, quite a few publishers are now publishing very short novels, even from new authors. This is particularly true with small publishers and experimental or alternative fiction.

Novel: 50,000 -110,000 or 200-440 pages, optimal 320-440 pages.

Most print publishers prefer a minimum word count of around 70,000 words or 280 pages for a first novel, and some even hesitate for any work shorter than 80,000 or 320 pages. Imagine paying good money for a book less than a quarter-inch thick?

Yet any piece of fiction climbing over the 110,000 word mark also tends to give editors some pause. They need to be sure they can produce a product that won’t over-extend their budget but still be enticing enough to readers to be salable.

Epics and Sequels: Over 110,000 words or 440 pages.

If your story extends too far over the 110,000 mark, it may be too long for a single novel, however, many longer novels are published nowadays, often by well-known authors.


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