Friday, June 22, 2007

How many words should your novel be?

If you're like me, you've probably wondered how long your novel should be--by word count. Publisher's guidelines vary a lot, but here's a list I've compiled of the word count for some popular Christian novels. They're listed by publisher in alphabetical order, and I plan to add to this list.

Raising Dragons by Bryan Davis (YA fantasy): 105K
The Candlestone
by Bryan Davis (YA fantasy): 110K
Circles of Seven
by Bryan Davis (YA fantasy): 120K
Tears of a Dragon
by Bryan Davis (YA fantasy): 103K
Eye of the Oracle
by Bryan Davis (YA fantasy): 182K
Enoch's Ghost
by Bryan Davis (YA fantasy): 121K
Last of the Nephilim
by Bryan Davis (YA fantasy): 131K

Barbour Trade fiction
Playing by Heart by Deborah Raney (novella): 30K
Bygones by Kim Sawyer (women’s fiction): 80K
Beginnings by Kim Sawyer (women’s fiction): 80K
The Redemption by MaryLu Tyndall (historical): 112K
The Reliance by MaryLu Tyndall (historical): 115K
Petticoat Ranch by Mary Connealy (historical): 92K

Bethany House
The Secret Life of Becky Miller by Sharon Hinck (mom lit): 85K
Renovating Becky Miller by Sharon Hinck (mom lit): 85K
Waiting for Summer’s Return by Kim Sawyer (historical): 92K
Where Willows Grow by Kim Sawyer (historical): 92K
Summer of the Midnight Sun by Tracie Peterson (historical): 102K
Sutter's Cross by W. Dale Cramer (contemporary): 112K
Bad Ground by W. Dale Cramer (contemporary): 104K
Levi's Will by W. Dale Cramer (contemporary): 109K
Summer of Light by W. Dale Cramer (contemporary): 97K


Crime Scene Jerusalem by Alton Gansky (suspense/historical): 83K
Veil of Fire
by Marlo Schalesky (historical): 82.5K

In Honor Bound by DeAnna Dodson (historical): 105K
By Love Redeemed by DeAnna Dodson (historical): 87K
To Grace Surrendered by DeAnna Dodson (historical): 92K

Abiding Darkness
by John Aubrey Anderson (suspense) 108K
Wedgewood Grey by John Aubrey Anderson (suspense) 102K
And If I Die by John Aubrey Anderson (suspense) 102K

Harvest House:

Kissing Adrien by Siri L. Mitchell (chick lit): 100K
Something Beyond the Sky by Siri L. Mitchell (women's fiction): 98K
The Cubicle Next Door by Siri L. Mitchell (chick lit): 98K
Moon Over Tokyo by Siri L. Mitchell (women's fiction): 88K
The Guy I’m Not Dating by Trish Perry (chick lit): 95K
Too Good to Be True by Trish Perry (chick lit): 95K
The Lost Sheep by Brandt Dodson (crime): 77K
The Root of All Evil by Brandt Dodson (crime): 75K
After Anne by Roxanne Henke (contemporary): 145K
Becoming Olivia by Roxanne Henke (contemporary): 134K
The Secret of Us by Roxanne Henke (contemporary): 124K

Heartsong (includes several imprints):
Spinning out of Control by Vickie McDonough (romance): 45-50K
The Bounty Hunter and the Bride by Vickie McDonough: 45-50K
Dear John, That Wilder Boy by Kim Sawyer (romance): 45-50K
Promising Angela by Kim Sawyer (romance): 45-50K
Of Mice ... and Murder by Mary Connealy (mystery): 58K
Golden Days by Mary Connealy (historical): 48K

Remember to Forget by Deborah Raney (women’s fiction): 85K
Shoofly Pie by Tim Downs (mystery): 97K
Chop Shop by Tim Downs (mystery): 93.5K

Sincerely, Mayla by Virginia Smith (Mar. '08) (contemporary): 80K
Just As I Am by Virginia Smith (contemporary): 62K
Pieces of Silver
by Maureen Lang: 118K
Remember Me by Maureen Lang: 118K


My Hands Came Away Red
by Lisa McKay (contemporary): 107K
A Shadow of Treason
by Tricia Goyer (historical): 88K
A Valley of Betrayal
by Tricia Goyer (historical): 93K
Arms of Deliverance by Tricia Goyer (historical): 90K

Faking Grace by Tamara Leigh (chick lit): 91K
Splitting Harriet
by Tamara Leigh (chick lit): 92K
Perfecting Kate
by Tamara Leigh (chick lit): 98K
Death of a Garage Sale Newbie
by Sharon Dunn (mystery): 70-80K
When the Day of Evil Comes
by Melanie Wells (suspense): 80-90K
Soul Hunter by Melanie Wells (suspense): 80-90K
Ransomed Dreams by Amy Wallace (romantic suspense): 93K
Dark Star by Creston Mapes
(suspense): 107K
Full Tilt by Creston Mapes
(suspense): 97.5K
obody by Creston Mapes (suspense): 98K

Stealing Adda
by Tamara Leigh (chick lit): 101K
Chateau of Echoes
by Siri L. Mitchell (women's fiction): 106K
The Big Picture by Jenny B. Jones (YA) (2008): 100K
On the Loose
by Jenny B. Jones (YA): 96K
In Between
by Jenny B. Jones (YA): 85K
The Restorer
by Sharon Hinck (fantasy): 110K
Watching the Tree Limbs by Mary DeMuth (coming of age): 84K
Wishing on Dandelions by Mary DeMuth (coming of age): 81K

Angel by Alton Gansky (suspense/supernatural): 89K

Stuck in the Middle by Virginia Smith (Feb. '08) (contemporary): 82K
The Pawn
Steven James (mystery): 111K
The Stones Cry Out
by Sibella Giorello (mystery): 54K
Pink by Marilynn Griffith (chick-lit): 90K
Jade by Marilynn Griffith
(chick-lit): 80K
Tangerine by Marilynn Griffith
(chick-lit): 80K
Turquoise by Marilynn Griffith
(chick-lit): 80K

Steeple Hill:
The Winter Pearl by Molly Noble Bull: 93K
Murder by Mushroom
by Virginia Smith (cozy mystery): 60K
Bluegrass Peril by Virginia Smith (Dec. '07): 60K
A Vow to Cherish by Deborah Raney (contemporary): 80K
Wild Rose by Ruth Axtell Morren: 100K
The Healing Season by Ruth Axtell Morren: 100K
The Elevator by Angela Hunt (contemporary): 82K

Tsaba House:
Sanctuary by Molly Noble Bull: 85K

Thomas Nelson:
The Oath by Frank Peretti (horror/suspense): 165K
The Visitation
by Frank Peretti (suspense): 163K
by Frank Peretti (suspense/adventure): 108K
House by Frank Peretti & Ted Dekker (thriller): 80K
Seclusion Point by John Perrodin & Jerry Jenkins (YA): 50K
Demon's Bluff
by John Perrodin & Jerry Jenkins (YA): 50K
The Tattooed Rats
by John Perrodin & Jerry Jenkins (YA): 50K
by Colleen Coble (suspense): 107K
Facing the Giants by Eric Wilson (contemporary): 70K
Split Ends by Kristin Billerbeck (chick-lit): 84-88K
Calm, Cool & Adjusted by Kristin Billerbeck (chick-lit): 84-88K
Comes a Horseman by Robert Liparulo (thriller): 145K
Germ by Robert Liparulo (thriller): 138K
Deadfall by Robert Liparulo (thriller): 125K
Uncharted by Angela Hunt (supernatural/suspense): 96K
Plague Maker by Tim Downs (suspense): 119K
Head Game by Tim Downs (thriller): 92K
First the Dead by Tim Downs (Dec. '07): 107K

Riven by Jerry B. Jenkins (contemporary): 160K
Left Behind by Jerry B. Jenkins (end times): 100K
Tribulation Force by Jerry B. Jenkins (end times): 102K

The Oak Leaves
by Maureen Lang (contemporary): 100K
On Sparrow Hill by Maureen Lang ('08): 100K
Doesn't She Look Natural? by Angela Hunt (contemporary): 104K
She Always Wore Red by Angela Hunt ('08) (contemporary): 110K

Urban Books
My Soul Cries Out by Sherri Lewis (95K)


A Nest of Sparrows by Deborah Raney (women’s fiction): 120K
Dark to Mortal Eyes by Eric Wilson (suspense): 125K
Expiration Date by Eric Wilson (suspense): 115K
The Best of Evil by Eric Wilson (mystery): 85K
A Shred of Truth by Eric Wilson (mystery): 85K
Thorn in My Heart by Liz Curtis Higgs (historical): 158k
Fair Is the Rose by Liz Curtis Higgs (historical): 152k
Whence Came a Prince by Liz Curtis Higgs (historical): 182k
Grace in Thine Eyes by Liz Curtis Higgs (historical): 140k

Beyond the Reflection's Edge by Bryan Davis (YA suspense): 108K
Zero-G by Alton Gansky (suspense/sci-fi): 99K
Finder's Fee by Alton Gansky (suspense): 87K
Amber Morn by Brandilyn Collins (suspense) ('08): 75-80K
Crimson Eve by Brandilyn Collins (suspense): 75-80K
Violet Dawn by Brandilyn Collins (suspense): 75-80K
Web of Lies
by Brandilyn Collins (suspense): 75-80K
Dead of Night
by Brandilyn Collins (suspense): 75-80K
Stain of Guilt by Brandilyn Collins (suspense): 75-80K
Brink of Death by Brandilyn Collins (suspense): 75-80K
Wounded Healer by Donna Fleisher (contemporary): 85K
Warrior’s Heart by Donna Fleisher (contemporary): 87K
Valiant Hope by Donna Fleisher (contemporary): 95K
Standing Strong by Donna Fleisher (contemporary): 92K
Presumed Guilty by James Scott Bell (legal thriller): 90-95K
No Legal Grounds by James Scott Bell (legal thriller): 90-95K
Last Light by Terri Blackstock (suspense): 90K
Night Light by Terri Blackstock (suspense): 97K
True Light by Terri Blackstock (suspense): 80K
Fair Game by Elizabeth White (contemporary/romance): 97K
Off the Record by Elizabeth White (contemporary): 88K


WordVixen said...

Interesting, aside from the romances they all seem to come out between 85K and 95K. I often wondered what word count I should be trying to hit.

Nicole said...

Most submissions instructions set the word counts at 80-100,000 for novels with the max-out at 120,000--and that not generally for unknown authors.

I believe it's Heartsong which has a fairly rigid criteria for subject matter and sets the word limit at 60,000.

I was surprised to see that both of the listed Eric Wilson novels came in so high. I've read them both and would've guessed them to be around 95-100,000 words.

Good research, C.J. How'd you get the info? Would really love to know the word counts on Randy Alcorn's Deception (and Dominion, for that matter), and the two Robert Liparulo novels.

Kasey said...

Any idea of word count or range for the genre Young Adult Contemporary fiction?

This is a great list!

Pam Meyers said...

Great info, C.J. Actually all Love Inspireds from Steeple Hill have a maximum of 60,000 words now. Same and Heartsong Presents.

Rose McCauley said...

Great info, CJ. I bookmarked it for future reference. I would love to know the WC for the Mitford books by Jan Karon. It seemed to me that they varied from long to short. I also didn't notice any of Brandily Collins' books listed, so would be interested in them also. thanks, rose

Vickie said...


Thanks for passing this info on. I've wondered how long some of the books were that you listed, like Liz Curtis Higgs' books. I was surprised to see my name on the list.

C.J. Darlington said...

Thanks for your comments, guys. I'll work on getting the books you mentioned up here!

lisa said...

Wow - I wish I'd had a glance at this list before I wrote a 170,000 word first novel and then had to work hard to cut it down. It needed it - but that didn't make the task any less difficult. Mine's now about 107,000 I think.
Cheers, Lisa

C.J. Darlington said...

Hey, Lisa. Good to see you here. Thanks for commenting. And I've added your My Hands Came Away novel to the list!

Richard Mabry said...

Great information. Are your eyes tired from counting all those words?

Jenny B. Jones said...

Really interesting to see the range. Kasey, contemp. YA is usually a minimum of 75k.

M. C. Pearson said...

Cool Post, CJ. I wonder about YA fantasy...

C.J. Darlington said...

Mimi---I think it's time I added to this list, so I'll try to get some info on YA fantasy titles. Any in particular you'd like to know about?