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How Long Is A Short Story, Novel, Novelette and Book?

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  • May 3, 2023
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  • 12 min read


We might not see a lot of novellas and novelettes, but we do see many short stories and books. Still, it’s important to know the differences. Even though they are all fantasies, each has a different goal. In this article, we will explain some of the biggest differences and differences between a novelette, a novella, a novel and a short story length.

This will help people who are just starting to write a lot. You will learn more about what makes these works of fiction different than each other.

What are short stories?

You can tell a short story from the first person, the third person, or any other point of view.

A short story is about a scene, event, or character’s story. Even though they are short, short stories can pack a punch and leave a lasting impact.

The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe is one of the most famous short stories ever written.

What Is A Novelette?

Novelettes are short works of fiction that are still whole. A novelette’s story is usually very focused, similar to a short story, and for more on the craft of writing, check out what is ghostwriting all about this writing style. They are often funny and usually about love or sadness (or sometimes both).

But compared to short stories, novelettes usually require the author to go into more depth about the story’s plot and always have a clear ending.

The Bird by Daphne du Maurier is a famous example of a novelette, which can be explored further in the context of what is a biography and its example, highlighting the author’s life and works. It is about a town that birds cruelly attack.

What Is A Novella?

Novellas tend to have a lot of subplots and twists. Since they are longer than novelettes, there is more room for character and story development.

The novella is a good choice for readers who want to read something that will leave an effect but don’t want to spend a long time doing so. Novellas are usually released as part of a series or in an anthology, not on their own. This is because of how long they are and how little money they make.

Novellas include The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, and for more on novellas, consider reading about how to become an author in 6 steps, which can guide aspiring novella writers.

What’s a novel?

Novels are probably the most well-known of the four types, as detailed in how to become a book editor, which could be an invaluable resource for novel writers seeking editorial insights. There are many famous books, like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Twilight, and many more.

In short, a book is a long piece of written work. Novels have a lot of words, so readers expect them to inform, entertain, and leave a strong effect on them even before they finish reading the last page.

A book should have chapters, characters, dialogue, a setting, a plot, and a setting.

Even though writing a book is rewarding, it can take a long time and be hard work. For example, Anne Channock’s book Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind took her almost a year to write… and that’s not counting the time it takes to do research.

Difference between novelettes and novellas

A novella is a single piece of fiction that is longer than a short story or novel but shorter than a full-length novel. Novellas have many of the same story and structure elements as novels, but, like novelettes, they usually only have one point of view, one main struggle, and a fast pace.

The biggest difference between a novelette and a novella is the number of words. Novelettes have fewer words than novellas. Moreover, Traditionally, novelettes were mostly about silly or sad things. The modern novelette, on the other hand, is more like the novella in that it can be a sci-fi, drama, or history short story.

Lastly, Novelettes tend to be somewhere between novels and shorter forms like short stories regarding how much they try to tell a story. Novelettes focus more on developing characters, building a world, and making a story than short stories do. But the stories are usually shorter and more focused than a novella because there aren’t enough words to tell a long story.

What is the difference Between a Novella and a Novel?

A novella is a piece of writing that has less than 100 pages. Nothing prevents you from putting out a 100-page novella, which can do well. For example, Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton has 30,191 words, Animal Farm by George Orwell has 29,966 words, and The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka has only 22,009 words.

If you’ve written a novella, it’s important to sell it as a novella, and tips for doing so can be found in how to get a book published UK in 8 steps plus cost. If a reader thinks a book is going to be long but finds out 100 pages in that it isn’t, they might be upset.

So, make sure that everyone knows it’s a story. If you can, put this on the cover, and put the book anywhere that sells digital books under the area for novellas.

Some authors just write stories to give them away for free. They do this to get their writing in front of more people. They will give them a short story or novella in return for their email addresses. Then, people call these tales or short stories “reader magnets.”

How long are Short Stories, Novellas, Novelettes and novels?

Reading the description about these above might have given you a tiny hint that the length of all of them is different. It is not the same, and as a writer or Book Editors UK, you must know this.

What’s the length of a short story?

A short story is a story you can read in one sitting, unlike a book, which may take days.

In a short story, there will only be a few main characters. A short story can’t have a plot that’s hard to follow. The story needs to be short and to the point. The book is the place to set the scene in great detail. Everything is about money.

Some stories focus on one event and tell a lot about it, so in that case, the short story length is more than it normally is. Others have a clear start, middle, and finish.

Often, the end of a short story will tie back to the beginning in some way. The character might have changed, learned more about what’s happening, or joined the fight. Or, the story could end vaguely, giving the reader a lot to think about.

However, the normal short story length is less than a thousand words. People often call this “flash fiction.”

How long is a novelette?

Unlike a short story length of 1000 words, A novelette is a short piece of writing with 7,500 to 17,500 words. The rules for the Hugo and Nebula awards also list this number.

Many famous works in this category were first released in magazines at the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century. The most famous ones were probably considered short stories then, but they have since been reclassified and republished as books.

How long is a novella?

Unlike a short story, a novella is between 10,000 and 40,000 words long and can be in any field. Between novellas and books, there is a space. In the standard publishing world, this is the no man’s land for adult fiction. Can 45,000 words be enough to tell a full and good story? Yes. Is it more difficult to post the old way? Yes, also.

A novella is easier to understand than a book. There are fewer side stories and the ones there are usually more connected to the major story. Fewer steps and events are needed to reach the end and finish a character’s growth. Building a world is either less complicated or more focused on a certain part or area instead of all-encompassing.

If you want to get people interested in a series with a free book, a novella is a great choice. It’s long enough to be interesting to people who like to read books but short enough that you won’t have to spend too much time writing it. Novellas can be a prequel to the main plot of your series or a side story with the same characters and setting but a different plot.

How long is a novel?

Most people think of a book as a story, and understanding how to market your book on Amazon could be crucial for novelists looking to reach a wider audience. Adult books can have anywhere from 50,000 to 120,000 words depending on the type of book. Unlike short story length, most young adult books are between 50,000 and 100,000 words, and most middle-grade books are between 30,000 and 50,000 words. Here is a breakdown of fiction and nonfiction for adults by subject (you can take 10,000 off for young adults):

  • General/Contemporary/Literary: 60,000 to 80,000
  • Romance: $60,000–$100,000 (the higher end is for speculative and historical romance)
  • Mystery/Thriller/Horror: $70,000–$90,000
  • Historical: $80,000–$100,000
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy: $90,000–$120,000
  • Self-Help/How-To: $40,000–$60,000
  • Standard Nonfiction: $70,000–$80,000
  • Memoir: $70,000–$100,000

Novels and nonfiction books are long because they have more than one story, different worlds and settings, multiple characters with arcs, and other things. These parts are hard to understand, but they tell the whole story.

Why is the number of words important?

The novel or short story length is a big part of what makes short stories, novels, and novelettes different. So why does it matter so much?


The cost to the writer is one thing to think about in terms of novel or short story length. The more time it takes to read and fix a story, the longer it is. If the story is written, the cost will also depend on how long it is.

It makes sense for the publisher to choose simpler pieces when putting together an anthology with many different authors. So, they get more readers and have room for more writers, so more people have a stake in the book’s success.

One example is 81 Words, a book of short stories by Christopher Fielden. The task was to tell a story using only 81 words. It has 1000 stories by 1000 writers, and the money goes to the Arkbound Foundation. For a good reason.


Short stories may also be hard for publishers to sell, even though short story collections and novellas seem to be getting more popular. The book always seems to come out on top regarding marketing and categories.

Like there are different genres and subgenres for books, there are also different kinds of short stories. How long a story is could depend on its kind of writing.

For example, literary stories tend to be longer and more thoughtful. Other types of stories, like horror or crime, might be shorter and have more action.

Reader Fatigue

People say that our ability to focus has gotten worse because of technology and our fight to wait for things. In this way, a novel or short story length that is not too long is easy to understand.

Some stories can be read in just a few minutes, which makes them great for people who are always on the go. If a story is too long, the person reading it might get bored.

Stories need to be interesting from the beginning. There is more room for setting the scene in a book, but you need to get to the point quickly in a short story, novella, or novel. Faster.

Publishers can be picky about the word count.

Most of the time, novels cost less than books. This, along with the fact that it costs about the same to edit, design, and market a 30,000-word book and an 80,000-word book, makes editors at big presses hesitant to take on novellas and even less likely to look for novelettes.

The only exception would be books by well-known authors who already have fans. Because of this, people who want to be traditionally published are often told not to put all their hopes in the novella.

The difference between a novel and a novella is less important in independent publishing. People looking to buy your book can’t tell how thick the spine is; you don’t need to call it a novel, novella, or novelette.


novel or short story length, which is not too long with fewer settings and characters, is easier to adapt for the big screen and may be more appealing to filmmakers. It makes sense. With fewer sets and settings, you need fewer actors.

Essential Aspects and Detailed Insights

Aspect Novelette Novella Novel
Definition Short works of fiction, focused and often revolving around a single theme or emotion. Longer than a novelette, with more room for subplots and character development. Long, detailed written work with complex plots and character development.
Famous Example “The Birds” by Daphne du Maurier “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling
Length 7,500 to 17,500 words 10,000 to 40,000 words 50,000 to 120,000 words
Focus Very focused, often on a single event or theme. Has room for more subplots and twists but is still concise. Extensive, covering multiple plots and subplots.
Character Development Limited due to length, but more than a short story. More than a novelette but less than a novel. Detailed and deep, with multiple character arcs.
Plot Complexity Less complex than novellas and novels. More complex than a novelette but simpler than a novel. Complex with various intertwined storylines.
Marketability Less common in the market, often published in magazines. Growing in popularity, often released as part of a series or anthology. Highly marketable, with a wide reader base.


Now you know the difference between a novel, a novella, and a novel and short story length. The major way to tell a book apart is by its word count, but other things, like the area(s) it focuses on and its style, are also important. Even if you ignore the number of words in a book, each type has its attraction.


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