Is a 50000-word Fantasy Novel Too Short?

Determining the appropriate word count for a fantasy novel can be a tough decision for any writer. You might have completed your manuscript, done all your edits, and just when you think it’s ready for publication, a question arises – “Is 50000 words too short for a fantasy novel?”

Understanding Word Count Spectrum

Word count for books generally varies based on not just the genre, but also the target audience. Broadly, the young adult genre generally requires 60,000–80,000 words, with approximately 70,000 being seen as an ideal count, especially for debut authors. When it comes to fantasy and sci-fi genres, an additional 10,000 words are generally acceptable due to the need for world-building.

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Age and Preferences

A crucial factor to consider is the age group targeted by your book. For lower grades, the word count could range between 8,000 to 25,000 words. For middle-grade readers, you can aim for the range of 30,000 to 50,000 words.

However, if you are targeting a young adult demographic (13–18), it would be beneficial to increase your word count to the pre-established range of 60,000–80,000 words. Keep in mind, it is often acceptable to add an extra 10,000 words if your novel is based in fantasy or science fiction genres due to world-building requirements.

Novel or Novella

For many readers and publishers, a work that is only 50,000 words, especially in the fantasy genre, might be considered a novella rather than a novel. So, if you’re planning on publishing a new book, think about whether you want it to be classified as a novel or a novella.

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More than Just a Word Count

An important aspect of writing to remember is that it’s not all about hitting a specific word count. Focus on creating a compelling, complete, and exciting story that keeps readers engaged. Concentrate on fleshing out characters, developing unique and engaging plotlines, and adding vibrant layers to your fantasy world.

Ensure your story is as long or short as it needs to be and not limited by perceived word count requirements.


To answer the question, “Is 50000 words too short for a fantasy novel?” it ultimately depends on your target readership and story requirements. However, generally speaking, a word count of 60,000 to 80,000 words tends to be more acceptable in the publishing world for fantasy novels. If your manuscript falls shorter, consider whether it needs additional subplots, more detailed world-building or expanded character development. After all, a novel isn’t determined by its word count alone, but by the quality and completeness of the story it tells.

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