What’s the Word Count?

Books190106

An oddity in today’s publishing industry is that the number of words used in a manuscript is what matters in the first selection. Publishers want novels by debutants to be of 80,000 to 120,000 words. I realise that this makes some sense in some instances, but what many great novels we would be missing had the rule always been applied.

  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (27,000)
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (28,000)
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell (29,000)
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (30,000)
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (36,000)
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (46,000)
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (47,000)
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (49,000)
  • The Bluest Eyes by Toni Morrison (52,000)
  • Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck (55,000)
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy (59,000)
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding (60,000)
  • The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (68,000)
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (68,000)
  • Exit Ghost by Philip Roth (68,000)
  • I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (69,000)
  • The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (70,000)
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (73,000)
  • This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald (80,000)
  • A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (83,000)
  • 1984 by George Orwell (89,000)
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison (95,000)
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (95,000)
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (96,000)
  • The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (97,000)
  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (99,000)
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (104,000)
  • Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald (104,000)
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (106,000)
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (107,000)
  • One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey (108,000)
  • World War Z by Max Brooks (117,000)
  • The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald (122,000)
  • Atonement by Ian McEwan (123,000)
  • The Plot Against America by Philip Roth (130,000)
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (135,000)
  • The Human Stain by Philip Roth (137,000)
  • Light in August by William Faulkner (151,000)
  • Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (156,000)
  • White Teeth by Zadie Smith (169,000)
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (169,000)
  • We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates (172,000)
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway (174,000)
  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (174,000)
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (183,000)
  • Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (195,000)
  • The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen (197,000)
  • Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson (208,000)
  • Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (209,000)
  • Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (210,000)
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon (216,000)
  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck (225,000)
  • The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow (248,000)
  • The Hunger Games (trilogy) by Suzanne Collins (302,000)
  • David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (339,000)
  • Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (418,000)
  • Lord of the Rings (trilogy) by J. R. R. Tolkien (455,000)
  • Harry Potter (full series) by J. K. Rowling (1,002,000)