Thursday 7 March 2013

Breakdown of Daily Word Count Goals for the Chapter Book Challenge #ChaBooCha

I have found a lot of discussion going on in the Chapter Book Challenge Facebook group about word counts. There are questions about how long a book should be within different genres and age groups. Also, some people are worried that they are not writing a high enough word count to reach their goal for ChaBooCha. I decided it might be helpful if I made a little chart of daily word count goals for everyone to be able to see at a glance how well they are doing. (Please read the paragraph at the end of this before you panic, if you haven't been reaching your word count goal though.)

There are 31 Days in March. To help everyone out, I have done a quick breakdown of what having 31 days to write your novel means in terms of your daily word count goal.

Early Readers – 200 to 3,500 words, but most of us will be writing the longer ones, so, for the purposes of this challenge,  we will go with the high word count in the breakdown.
   Broken down into daily word count goals:  113 words

Hi-Lo Books - Hi-Lo Books: 500 - 50,000 words, but more often they fall between 500 - 20,000 words, so those are the number we will go with here. (Again, I am going to break it down for the higher word count goal.)
   Broken down into daily word count goals: 646 words

Chapter Books4,000 to 10,000 words
   Broken down into daily word count goals:  129 to 323 words

Middle grade25,000 to 40,000 words
   Broken down into daily word count goals: 807 to 1,291 words

YA45,000 to 80,000 words
   Broken down into daily word count goals:  1,452 words to 2,581 words

Nonfiction MG/YA  - 5,000 - 70,000 words
Broken down into daily word count goals:  162 to 2,258 words

Again, these are rough estimates. Although there are well-known industry standards, there are known to be variations in these numbers, and word count lengths are evolving (and in some cases shrinking) with the advent of ebooks. My suggestion is to write what you are capable of writing and don’t worry too much about the word count for now.  If you finish your manuscript, GREAT! If you don’t, it’s still good because you will be further along towards finishing it than when the month started. And if you end up with a first draft that is over or under the accepted word counts, don’t stress because this is only the first draft. Changes can be made while you edit and revise your manuscript.


  1. Excellent point--write what you can and don't stress about what you can't. Finishing the month with any word count is awesome!

    Thanks for that breakdown. I don't write on the weekends, so I've tried to adjust my word count to reflect that. But, whatever I end up with at the end of the month is more than I started with. My only competition is with myself and trying to keep up and/or beat my daily word counts to see if I can do it. I want to complete two novels this year.

    This is such a great challenge. Thank you so much for sponsoring it!

  2. Thanks! this really puts it into perspective. And makes it not so scary. 300 words a day? I can do that!

  3. Thank you so much for this. It is quite helpful. I'm with Sue, this post makes this wonderful challenge so much more manageable.

  4. This is great! I signed up early for the challenge and have been working in the shadows. So far I've managed around 750 words a day. yayyy!

  5. Thanks. This will be helpful, especially as I get (hopefully) to the end of my first draft, giving me an idea of how far away I am from the word count suggesion, and in which way to steer my revision.

  6. Well, I finished chapter three, and I'm now at 4,000 words and counting.

  7. Well, I finished chapter three, and I'm now at 4,000 words and counting.

  8. This is a brilliant blog! I'm very happy with the comments!.. word counter