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The Writer’s Guide to Great Lengths

Writers write. Right? (Sorry, I just couldn’t pass that up today. Let me know when you finish groaning. Ready?)

What length should your finished piece be? I’ve compiled a list of typical word counts for some common types of submissions. I offer them as guidelines to give you an idea of a general target number to shoot for. Since every publication is different, you should always (always, always) read the submission guidelines to find out exactly what your intended publication needs.

25+/-  words
Greeting cards, one-liners, quips, haiku, six word stories, riddles, quotations

100+ words
Poems, book/movie review capsules, informative lists, nano fiction, puzzles, jokes, recipes, quick tips, historical facts, news briefs

200+ words
Children’s short story, puzzles, word game, science experiments, trivia, quizzes, blog posts, sidebars, filler articles, letter to the editor, short reviews

750-1,000+ words:
Short essays, how-to articles, profiles, round-ups, long reviews

1,500+ words
Feature articles, long essays, short stories

7,500 – 17,500 words:
Novelette, e-book, special report

17,000- 40k words:
Novella, e-book, middle grade fiction

40,000+ words:
Novels and other book-length works, Young Adult fiction (typically 50-80K). For good advice on the maximum length of novels, check out Nathan Bransford’s post here.

I’m sure there are things I’ve missed. Can you think of something I left out? Please share by leaving a comment.

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