Yep, the 1, 2, 3’s of the writing to-be’s! It’s important to know acceptable word count, especially if you’re a new writer. Sure, there are exceptions to the rules but they are rare. If you are a first time writer, don’t narrow your window for an agent to read your MS by large word count. You want to better your chances, not hinder them!

Yes, I know Twilight broke the rule. And I’m sure your book is just as fabulous. But taking a chance on a first time author with big numbers is scary for an agent/publisher. There is a lot of money involved with the cost of editing and such. In reality, if your MS is severely over typical guidelines, you probably need to cut the fat off that scrumptious steak.

Here are some guidelines. I repeat, they are just guidelines. You may type continuously on your awesome MS and let the cholesterol collect wildly.

  • Picture Book (350-500)
  • Early Reader (100-1200)
  • Chapter Book (5000-10,000)
  • Middle Grade (25,000-60,000)
  • Young Adult (60,000-75,000)
  • Adult (80,000-120,000)

Seriously though, don’t freak out. Just stay close to the perimeters and you’ll be fine. You can go nuts after you’ve gotten a wonderful book deal and established your name. If you want to check out word counts for books similar to yours, use the AR BOOK FIND tool. Happy writing and keep it tight folks!

P.D. Pabst
Writer and Blogger


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