What is a reasonable estimate for the minimum length, in word count, for a non-fiction book? I'd guesstimate that non-fiction books "generally" (yes, this is very rough) run perhaps 150-450 pages, and at about 350 wd/page that works out to something like 50-150k words. (Correct me if I am off here).
However, occasionally very short books are published, such as Harry Frankfurt's On Bullshit, at 67 small pages with very wide margins (about 110 wds/page)...one count I saw was the whole book was only 3,000 words, as it was just a book version of a short essay. (It spent 27 weeks on the NY Times Bestseller list). This is obviously an extreme case.
But what of a book at perhaps 15-20k words? At, e.g., 300 wds/page that could be 50-67 pages. Aside from the Frankfurt book, is there any kind of market for something too long to be an article but too short to be a "normal" 250 pager? Other examples would be helpful. And what else should one know about that market?
Think word count isn’t important in writing? Well, think again. As a writer, the number of words in a piece matters a great deal; it is the only measure of productivity you have. Therefore, you need to ensure the number is within what’s expected for your genre and category. So how many words should your text have? Let’s take a comprehensive look at word count list, and find out how it all works.
A good average sentence length
There’s no perfect length, however, a well-written sentence should have 15-20 words on average. Using simple and short sentences will help more people to understand your content. But restrain from using uniform sentence lengths if you don’t want your writings to be choppy and without flow.
Though there’s the possibility of long structured sentences being balanced and readable, comprehension often drops and readers may struggle to understand the whole content. People expect you to get to the point, especially your busiest readers. They don’t have the time to slow down to deconstruct the long, complicated sentences and contemplate the clauses. By making it simple, it shows you respect your content reader’s time and interest.
How many words in a paragraph?
As you can expect, there is no fixed number of words that a paragraph should have. A rule of thumb: the paragraphs are usually about 100 to 200 words long, which is about 6-8 sentences. Nevertheless, it all depends on the ideas, and ideas come in many sizes. So the paragraph can be long enough to reach its end. But we can’t ignore the fact that readers don’t like seeing blocks of paragraphs. And it’s for that reason you should stick to one concept or idea per paragraph to avoid creating very long paragraphs. Simply shift to a new paragraph when you shift to a new concept/idea.
How many words in an essay?
A standard essay must be a minimum of 3-5 paragraphs, but if you’re not instructed to write the given paragraphs, there’s no point sticking to this extremely limiting rule. This is handy in academic writing, where your paragraphs are expected to be longer than most essays. On average, there are 100 to 200 words in a paragraph. And as a general rule with essays, you’ll have an introduction, body, and conclusion. So you can assume that a 1500-word essay will likely to have about 5-8 paragraphs. Remember your essay will be evaluated on the content you present, not the number of paragraphs.
How long should a book be?
Though the length of your book is determined by the details needed to make it good, it is important to adhere to the expected word count in your genre and category. It demonstrates how well you understand your market. And in line with this, here are the industry norms worth knowing.
- Under 500 words is generally considered flash fiction
- A short story: 1,000-8,000 words
- Novella Story: 10,000-40,000 words
A 40,000-word manuscript can be considered to be a novel, but to be eligible for finisher status, you’re required to write a minimum of 50,000 words. The maximum word is generally 60,000-100,000 words.
Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books
There is no rule on the word limit regarding science and fantasy fiction books. However, most of the books usually fall within the 90,000-120,000 words. The publisher and agents are more lenient on word limits for this genre; therefore, you’re not likely to lose out on a deal if you exceeded the number of words. You may be wondering why the books in this category are an exception. Well, reading epic novels of this genre are interesting and require the audience to take some time to create the fantasy world around them, and then imagine themselves in it.
The generally recommended words usually fall between 80,000 and 100,000. If your manuscript is over 100,000 words, publishing it could prove to be more expensive.
The word length for children novels is not set in stone, but even so, its likely to be around 20,000 to 40,000 words.
What is the average word count for an email?
According to a study conducted by Email Labs, people spend about 15-20 seconds reading an email. Sending the readers lengthy email messages may make them feel overwhelmed, and might not read through it. Now, you may be tempted to ask, “what’s the right number of words for an email? “ Well, it all depends on the ideas or information you want to deliver. A rule of thumb: the shorter message, the better. Always try to limit your email to around 300 words or less. If your email message needs to be longer, it’s absolutely okay. However, focus on the main message, eliminate the distractions, and keep the content easy to scan.
How many words should your report have?
There’s no set minimum or maximum, regardless of the type of report. If you’d like a guesstimate, just assume the audience will take around 10-20 minutes reading the report. And on average, your readers can read 1 double-spaced page or 250 words in a minute. In 10 minutes they would have read about 2,500-4,500 words. But that’s just an approximation.
Remember a few people read an entire report, so keep it simple and not too long.
How many words should your application have?
Whether you are applying for a job or college, it’s extremely important to keep in mind that there’ll be a long list of applicants. When you present a very long resume, you’re simply scaring off the person who’ll be reading it. Don’t forget he/she has other applications to review. Even if you were to be more qualified, there’s a great possibility of wasting your chances. So if you are not instructed to write within a certain word limit, just make sure your application is short as possible, typically less than 500 words.
How long should your motivational letters be?
While there are no exceptions, your letter of motivation shouldn’t be longer than one page. Make it around 300-500 words. It is crucial to keep it shorter, but make sure you highlight your most relevant qualifications and what you have to offer.
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