According to the Nebula Awards the lengths of the various categories of fiction is as follows:
- Short story < 7,500 words
- Novelette 7,500 - 17,499 words
- Novella 17,500 - 39,999 words
- Novel > 40,000 words
Some people say a novel is anything over 50K words (NaNoWriMo for a start), not 40K words. Others aren't interested in anything less than 75K or 90K.
Some of it is very dependent on genre as well.
When researching this post I found a very interesting article by literaryrejections.com about what agents are looking for depending on genre. If you would like to see their whole post it is here: Word Count @ literaryrejections.com.
I find it very interesting that they list Romance as being anything from 40K to 100K, where are Sci-Fi and Fantasy don't even start until 90K even though the Nebula awards defines novels at much lower lengths. I can only assume this is to do with the difference between established writers and new writers. It is easier to sell novels of a certain length so agents looks for those word counts; once you have a fan base varying lengths are an option.
What do you consider novel length? Do you expect different lengths from different genres? Do you even care?
Do you prefer a book description to tell you how long the book is?
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