# Number of words in a typical novel?

Simple question. I’m wondering how many words there are in a typical novel, or how many are in a typical printed page in a novel; references to large amounts of text often refer to the number of words contained therein but I don’t seem to have any real guess as to what those numbers correspond to in terms I can relate to.

Amazon.com has a section on many books, bestsellers mostly I believe, called Text Stats. For example, Break No Bones by Kathy Reichs comes out as:

Number of
Characters: 533,237 66% have fewer 34% have more
Words: 89,949 69% have fewer 31% have more
Sentences: 11,858 92% have fewer 8% have more

Don’t know if that helps or not, as I’m not sure how many books they have the statistics on.

This page gives information about different ways of counting words and other statistics stuff. It claims a novel is anything over about 45000 words. I’d always heard 60-80K was typical for one, that a 40-50 would be a novella or “novella-length novel” (there’s some pickiness about what exactly a novella is).

I doubt any definition is hard and fast.

To qualify as a novel for National Novel Writing Month, it has to be 50,000 words or more. But they acknowledge that this is on the light side for publication.

The cutoff point for a novel for SFWA purposes is 40,000+ words. However, it’s rare that a novel that short is published these days. The minimum for a first novel is probably around 70K words, and some publishers prefer 90K. An established novelist can go longer or a bit shorter. (Incidently, in publishing, a “word” in this context is a precise measurement: 6 characters, including spaces.)

YA novels are probably around 60K.

Words per page is impossible to determine: there are different book sizes and different fonts and point sizes. You can determine it fairly simply for one book: count the number of characters per justified line, divide by six, multiply by the number of lines, multiply by the number of pages (adjusting for half pages).