Novel Classifications

One of the first thing a potential author needs to know before they submit their book but after they finish the manuscript is novel classifications.  You have to be able to tell the agent, editor or publisher what type of novel you've written.  There are almost as many of these as their are writers, especially when you take into consideration subgenres.
  • Action/Adventure - There is lots of action and adventure.  Typically appeals to men.
  • Children's Books - Written for children.  Could be any child from preschool to eighth grade.
  • Erotica - Textual pornography with a plot
  • Fantasy - Witches, warlocks, wizards, elves, druids
  • Historical - Takes place during a past time.
  • Horror - There is a creature. serial killer, ect out to get you.
  • Literary - Artistic writing.  Basically anything that isn't genre.
  • Mystery - Whodunit. Nancy Drew, Agatha Christi
  • Romance - Boy meets girl or vie versa.  Things happen.  They fall in love.  Hallmark Channel.  Typically appeals to women.
  • Science Fiction - space travel, advanced technology, ect
  • Thrillers - There is danger everywhere.
  • Western - John Wayne, Clint Eastwood
  • Young Adult - PG13.  These are written for 13 to 18 year olds.  Harry Potter
  • Popular, Mainstream of Commercial Fiction - Appeals to a wide audience.  Only an insider in the industry can tell you if you fall into this category.

Basic Word Counts


  • Flash Fiction - Less than 1,000 words (five pages)
  • Short Stories - Maximum of 7,500 words (I've seen magazines accept up to 12,000) (30 to 48 pages)
  • Novelettes - Between 7,501 and 20,000 (30 to 80 pages)
  • Novellas - Between 20,000 and 40,000 (80 to 160 pages)
  • Novels - Between 40,000 and 99,000 (160 pages to 400 pages)
  • Epics - Greater than 100,000 words (More than 400 pages)

Advanced Word Counts


  • Middle-Grade Students - Somewhere between 20,000 and 55,000.
  • Young Adult - Somewhere around 60,000
  • Adult Novels - These needs to have substance AKA: A main plot and lots of subplots.  They also need to reach between 70,000 and 90,000 words.  Some sites say they need to be between 80,000 and 90,000 to be marketable.  My first set of queries went out with a 75,000 word count.  I've since increased it to 85,000 after getting only one bite and never hearing back.
  • Romance - These tend to be between 70,000 and 90,000.
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy - Between 100,000 and 150,000.  I am venturing to guess they have to be this high due to the fact that the author has to create an entirely new world and sometimes new races and all of that needs descriptions.
  • Mysteries - These tend to be between 60,000 and 80,000 words

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