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The Write Guide – Step 05

Step 05: Decide the total word count.

Before you start writing, make sure you know how you are going to end it. Break down chapters into equal lengths.
Here are some general guiding principles:

10,000 words = a pamphlet or business white paper. Read time = 30-60 minutes.

20,000 words = short eBook or manifesto. The Communist Manifesto is an example of this, at about 18,000 words. Read time = 1-2 hours.

40,000–60,000 words = standard nonfiction book / novella. The Great Gatsby is an example of this. Read time = three to four hours.

60,000–80,000 words = long nonfiction book / standard-length novel. Most Malcolm Gladwell books fit in this range. Read time = four to six hours.

80,000 words–100,000 words = very long nonfiction book / long novel. The Four-Hour Work Week falls in this range.

100,000+ words = epic-length novel / academic book / biography. Read time = six to eight hours. The Steve Jobs biography would fit this category.

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