Young Adult Novel Length or Word Count

YA word novel length or word countThe Young Adult (YA) novel length or word count is 45,000 to 90,000 words. Hard fantasy and science fiction writers can get away with 100,000+ words, but it might be a gamble if you’re going the traditional publishing route.

Traditional Publishing

Agents suggest sticking with the guidelines above. Publishing houses are running a business so they take into account printing costs, how much storage space your book will take up, and other boring, yet necessary, business investment considerations.

If your novel length is towards the high end, then make sure it’s had a good editing. As a not-yet-best-selling author, a poorly edited book with superfluous text will make your rookie-ness stand out. Translation. Your writing won’t be taken seriously.

Once you’re a best selling author, you might be able to get away with a little more. By then you’re writing will have greatly improved but will never be perfect.


The above information is a guide. If you decide to self-publish, then you have total control over every aspect of your “book baby.” Also, there are exceptions to the above in the traditional publishing world a la Stephenie Meyer’s breakout novel Twilight which is 130,000 words.

I prefer to be positive and choose to believe anything is possible if you’ve got a great story with even greater characters.

Get UN-Ruly

Check out this article by Mike Wells. Not being able to get a traditional publishing contract doesn’t have to be the end of your writing world. He’s had great success self-publishing entirely in eBook format, so printing costs and storage space is a non-issue and might be something you’d want to consider.

Many authors, whether traditionally or self-published, break all sorts of rules and have great success. If you believe in what you’ve written, then go with it!



The Young Adult Reader – Age Range

Young Adult Reader Age RangeThe age range for young adult (YA) readers is 12+ at the younger end of the target audience. While some YA books are labeled as 14+ and even 16+ for more mature content.

With best sellers, story lines, and series like The Hunger Games, Twilight, The Maze Runner, and Divergent, many adults have also been drawn into the YA market, including me. More, please!

More examples of YA novels:

The Mind Readers by Lori Brighton

UnEnchanted (An Unfortunate Fairy Tale Book 1) by Chanda Hahn

The Program by Suzanne Young

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I love what happened with the young adult (YA) market. It’s really opened up over the past several years. There are opportunities for writers to produce a vast range of stories for this hungry audience with just as hungry publishers looking for the next crossover to film story.

Of course, it’s not every writer’s goal or dream to have a crossover book. We write because we have to, and that is the pleasure in and of itself.

Middle Grade Novel Length or Word Count

middle grade word count and novel lengthThe Middle Grade (MG) novel length or word count is 15,000 – 60,000 words with the high-end being more for fantasy and science-fiction genres.

Traditional Publishing

Agents suggest an average length of 35,000 words and strongly suggest that unpublished or unestablished writers stay close to this average to increase the chances of a larger reading audience and to keep printing and shipping costs down. This might be crummy to read, but publishers are running a business.


You can use the above information as a guide or break the rules like J.K. Rowling. She went the traditional publishing route, so her word counts are more for reference.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is 76,944 words. Though, as her first novel, it was the shortest of the series.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – 85,141. Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban – 107,253. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – 190,637. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – 257,045. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – 168,923. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ~ 198,227.

Once Rowling established herself, she boldly went way beyond the MG suggested word count. For newbie writers, I gently suggest not exceeding 60,000 words in a Middle Grade novel and sticking closer to the average of 35,000 words even.

Get UN-Ruly

Many authors, whether traditionally or self-published, break all sorts of rules and have great success. Consider the above, but if you believe in what you’ve written, then go with it!

The Middle Grade Reader – Age Range

middle greade reader age rangeMiddle grade readers are usually 8-12. Authors target either end of this age range spectrum.

This audience likes to read about characters they can “look up to”. Create protagonists who are slightly older than the readers you’d like to reach, typically age 9-13.

Examples of MG novels:

I love the idea of yet-to-be-born books that will turn MG-ers into lifelong readers and the soon-to-be discovered writers turned authors who’ll get to do what they love for a living. So write on!

You’re A Writer – Believe It Because You Choose To

You are a writer
Image Source: Wiki Media Commons

I’m a writer. It’s taken me almost forty years to declare this – the words His inner voice had been whispering to me, “Create, my child. Create with words. You are a writer.” I was a little slow in “getting it”, but I believe no time has been lost. For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1), including the activity of writing.

God doesn’t force us to do anything, of course, but I do believe if we are praying and asking the Lord to help us fulfill His purpose for our lives that He will not only show us but will also orchestrate circumstances to make that purpose and path obvious to us. I also believe that God, the ultimate Author, wrote the very desires and dreams we long for on our hearts. This way, we begin to get an idea of what to pray for. We take actions to achieve our dreams – that inner God-sense of what we should be doing, be it writing, singing, teaching, being a stay-at-home mom, skating, etc.

I spent most of my life figuring out what I didn’t want to do so I could get to the good stuff – writing. Before, following my writing dreams didn’t seem feasible since I’d plowed ahead so far in the wrong direction, but God can pick us up no matter how off course we’ve gotten, turn us around, and plop us where we belong.

When we do our part – writing – God will open the right doors for us at the right time and will sometimes do for us sooner what may have taken years for other authors to accomplish. Just because it took so-and-so a decade or more to be a successful writer (I didn’t say famous) doesn’t mean it will take us that long too. Being a successful writer for me has become wherever God wants to lead me with the words I put on the page and how those words touch others.

I have no desire to be like everyone else – never have. I don’t want to write like anyone but me. I want to carve out my own unique path in this world, the way God intended. I believe He wants that for all of us. Anything else brings misery and lack of peace. Be unique. Be yourself. Be who He created you to be. If you’re a writer be a writer, and believe it because you choose to – no matter what it looks like.

Please enjoy this inspirational video about Slomo, a man who decided to reject going with the flow. With all my heart, I believe he’s on God’s path for his life. As you’ll see in the video (if you have time to watch it), God even sent a messenger to help him get on his happy path. Slomo didn’t take the messenger’s advice right away, but he never forgot his words. It might not seem like an important existence to some, but Slomo made me smile, cry, and even cheer for him as I watched one man live his dream and experience joy in life. I believe God wants His children to be happy.

God’s gift to us is the happiness we get from our food and drink and from the work we do” (Ecclesiastes 3:13).

encouragement for writers

Thanks for reading!

– D.L. Perching