How long should a thriller novel be? Many writers struggle with this question. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. The length of your book will depend on various factors, including the genre, the pacing, and the word count.

This blog post will explore these different factors and help you determine the ideal length for your thriller novel.

Novel length and word count

A good rule of thumb is to aim for around 300 pages

There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to determining the length of a novel.

A typical length for a thriller novel is somewhere between 80,000 and 100,000 words. However, there’s a lot of room for variation within that range.

Some thrillers might be on the shorter side of things, around 60,000 words, while others could be longer, closer to 120,000 words. But, again, it depends on the story and how the author chooses to tell it.

For example, a thriller novel might be shorter because it is fast-paced and action-packed. On the other hand, literary fiction might be on the longer side because it contains more character development and description.

Why does word count matter?

The traditional publishing industry has word count guidelines for different genres, so you should keep close to the maximum length for a novel published by conventional publishers, usually around 100,000 words.

There are a few reasons why it’s important to stick to novels’ average word count ranges. First, if your book is too short, publishers may not think it is long enough to be a full-length novel. On the other hand, if your book is too long, readers may get bored or find it challenging to finish.

Novels that are longer than the average word count can also pose problems. For one, they can be more challenging to edit and get right. They may also suffer from pacing issues since it can be hard to keep readers engaged for such a long time.

Moreover, translation costs will be higher for a longer book, and the rights will be more challenging to sell.

Each genre has general guidelines for word count. For example, mysteries and romance novels are typically around 80,000 words, while science fiction, fantasy or historical fiction are often extended to around 125,000 words. So if you’re trying to write in a specific genre, it’s essential to make sure your book falls within those guidelines.

Pros and cons of self-publishing:

There are pros and cons to both traditional publishing and self-publishing, but the main difference is that the publisher takes on all the risks with traditional publishing. They invest in the book by paying the author an advance, and they also bear all the printing and marketing costs. If the book doesn’t sell well, the publisher loses money.

With self-publishing, the author assumes all of those risks. The author pays for everything themself, from editing to design to printing to marketing. But if a book becomes successfully self-published, there’s a more significant potential for profit because the author keeps all of the royalties.

So it comes down to what you’re willing to risk and what your goals are.

If you’re self-publishing, you have the freedom to choose whichever length feels suitable for your story. Some readers prefer shorter novels, while others enjoy longer epics. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what works best for your book.

That said, there are a few things to keep in mind when determining the length of your novel. First, remember that longer books tend to take longer to write (and may require more editing). They also often cost more to print and bind, which you’ll need to factor in if you’re selling physical copies of your book.

Ultimately, the most important thing is to make sure your novel is the correct length for your story. If you have a shorter story, that’s perfectly fine – there’s no need to pad it out to meet some arbitrary word count goal. The same goes for longer stories – as long as you’re keeping the reader engaged, there’s no need to worry about cutting it down to a more “acceptable” length.

What matters most is not the word count but the quality of the writing. A well-written novel can be shorter or longer and still be enjoyable to read. So don’t worry too much about hitting a specific word count goal – focus on telling a great story!

Chapter length and pacing

Thrillers are fast-paced, so each chapter should be relatively short

When writing a thriller novel, the most critical factor is the pacing. You want the reader to be hooked from the start and keep turning the pages until the end.

The length of your chapters and your novel’s pacing will depend on the thriller you’re writing. But in general, you want your chapters to be short and suspenseful, with enough tension and conflict to keep readers hooked.

Thriller readers expect an exciting, suspenseful read that doesn’t slow down too much, so if you’re writing a thriller, try to keep your chapters between 3,000 and 5,000 words each, and make sure the plot moves along at a steady clip.

You also want to avoid info dumps and long stretches of exposition, which can slow down the pace of your novel and bore readers.

Additionally, you’ll want to ensure that each chapter ends on a cliffhanger or with a twist that will leave readers wanting more.

If you’re unsure how long your chapters should be, it’s good to experiment with different lengths until you find what works best for your story.

Page layout and design

White space makes your text stand out

When it comes to designing the page layout and design for a thriller novel, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.

First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure the pages are easy to read; after all, readers will be devouring your book in one sitting! Therefore, use a clean and simple font that is easy on the eyes.

A lot of times, thrillers are formatted differently than other novels. For example, they often have shorter chapters and leave plenty of white space on each page so readers can quickly move from one line of text to the next. This helps create a feeling of suspense and makes the book easier to read in one sitting.

Here is an example of text showing plenty of white space, leaving it easy to read:

Walking home after work, Amy smiled at the thought of the tip-and-recovery course Willa had insisted they take. The course took place in a sheltered bay. They both had their own kayak; they’d tipped it and learnt how to turn it upright again with the help of paddles and floats. That course hooked Amy on kayaking. Now her waterproof dry bags were packed. She couldn’t wait to go.

Back in her apartment, Amy pushed the blinking message button on her landline. There was a brief sound of movement; then, the line went dead. The rest of the messages were blank. She poured herself a glass of juice.

Her cell phone rang. She flipped it open. “Yeah?”


No, not again. Amy’s heart sped up. “What do you want?”

“I’m in trouble. I need to borrow some money.”

“Not my problem.”

“Dammit, Amy, you have to help me.”

A thriller is all about building suspense and keeping readers on their seats. So you’ll want to make sure your page layout reflects that. In addition, short chapters and punchy dialogue can help ratchet up the tension.

Also, think about how you want to reveal information to your readers. A thriller is all about twists and turns, so you’ll want to be strategic about how and when you show key plot points. One way to do this is through flashback scenes or dream sequences.

Formatting for Kindle and other eBooks

Thrillers tend to do well as eBooks because of their fast pace and shorter chapters

It’s no secret that publishing a book can be a complex process. But with the right tools and advice, it’s manageable – especially if you’re aiming to publish an electronic book, such as on Kindle.

To format your book for Kindle, you’ll need to create a document that meets the following specifications:

-Your document must be in PDF or MOBI format

-Your document must be formatted as a “book” with no headers or footers

-Your font must be between 10 and 12 points

-You should use single spacing and left justification

-Your margins should be at least 0.25 inches on all sides

-You should include a table of contents and chapter headings

Once you have your document formatted according to those specifications, you can upload it to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and set your price. Amazon will then take a 70% cut of any sales you make.

For more details, check the eBook manuscript formatting guide online. Make sure your formatting is correct to look good on all devices.

Here are a few tips about the text:

– Use short paragraphs.

– Indent the first line of each paragraph by 0.2 inches (5 mm).

– Avoid large chunks of text – you can always break up longer chapters into shorter ones or combine shorter chapters if you find yourself with too many.

While there’s no set “rule” for how long chapters should be, a good rule of thumb is to keep them under 20 pages. This will help maintain a fast pace and keep readers engaged.

Again, the pacing of your novel is important to consider. A thriller should have a fast-paced plot with plenty of action and suspenseful scenes, so make sure each chapter moves the story forward somehow.

Polish your writing until it’s as good as it can be

Use straightforward language to avoid any confusion

Generally speaking, you’ll want to polish your manuscript until it’s as good as possible. That means ensuring every scene is tight and suspenseful, every character is fully fleshed out, and every plot thread is neatly resolved.

Of course, this will take different amounts of time for different writers – some may bang out the first draft in a few months, while others may spend years fine-tuning their masterpiece.

First, try to get feedback from beta readers or other writers. Getting constructive feedback is crucial in helping you see where your work needs improvement. Second, copy edit or hire a professional editor to help ensure there are no typos or errors in your book.

The important thing is not to get too bogged down in perfectionism; at some point, you’ll need to let your book go out into the world and see what readers think. But if you’ve put in the time to make sure your novel is the best it can be, you’re well on your way to success.


If you’re ready to write a novel, make sure it’s the best it can be by paying attention to these details. Polish your writing until it shines and makes your readers want more. And don’t forget to have fun with it! Writing is a passion project for many people, and if you love what you’re doing, the words will flow. Are you ready to start writing your masterpiece?

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs

And if you’re looking for more writing advice, be sure to check out our other blog posts on the topic. As always, happy writing!

Thanks for reading!


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