Different book lengths in the same series?

I’m in the middle of writing my fantasy series. My first book is a novella at around 30,000 words (when I’m done editing it’ll probably be near 40,000) and right now I’m writing the second book. From the amount of things going on in the sequel and the current word count of some chapters, I think it will end up becoming a short novel (at least 50,000 words) instead of a 40,000 word novella.

To all those who write series (or read series) should the length of each book be uniform, or can some be shorter/longer than the other? I’ve seen series where it’s either all novels or all novellas (and for those that mix, the novellas aren’t direct sequels to the novels so they act more like companion books). I’m asking because I don’t really want to stretch my first book, but at the same time I can’t cut down on my second book.

EDIT: Thank you to all those who responded! :slight_smile: I guess varying word counts are okay.

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Personally, I don’t care unless the length fluctuates drastically. Like going from 40,000 words to 150,000 words.

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Thanks.

(some books will be about 38,000 words and the remaining could range from 50,000 to 60,000, according to my estimates. Hopefully others won’t mind)

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It’s quite common for fantasy books to have drastic differences in word count between books in a series. Honestly, I think it’s fine. So long as you don’t do what Russian said and have one book be triple or quadruple the word count of another.

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I don’t mind it as long as the length works for each book, and like others said it’s not a massive jump. My trilogy is 80k, 105k, and 115k, and I’m currently estimating 170k and 200k for my duology. It’s very common in series

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Good question! Im on the final book of my trilogy. The first two were easy 50 chapter… 3rd book is looking like it’s gonna go over

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Each Harry Potter book got longer, and it didn’t hurt that series!

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It does not matter. Simple!

SD

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Novels in a series do not need to be the same size. Each book can only be as long as it needs to be. I have a four book series where the word count varies from 90 000 to 20 000.

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It depends. They can vary length for many reasons and it’ll be okay, but in the traditional industry, in any kind of series, it’ll start off small and grow for two reasons:

  1. First books have to be a small length.

It’s hard to sell to the publishers and even readers because bigger books are less attractive unless the writer is well known. So for fantasy, which is expected to be long, will need small books that start the series off. And as the series grows with the writer growing in popularity, they can make longer books if they were in such a scenario.

  1. The author changed the target audience or genre.

Changing the genre may not be the best way to phrase it since it’s unheard of really, but still plausible. However, it is common for the story to lengthen if the series audience changes. This happened to Harry Potter. The first three books were pretty small, averaging around 70-100,000 words. They’re classified as middle grade fiction, which is often novella length (20,000-40,000 words long). But by the fourth book, the theme, mood, and audience shifts to young adult which asks for more depth, description, and other. The average young adult fantasy is between 90,000-120,000 words, but by the fourth book of the series, it grew from 107,000 words (Prisoner of Azkaban) to 190,000 words (Goblet of Fire). The longest book in the series is the fifth one, Order of the Phoenix, at over 257,000 words. The last two are under 200,000 by a hair (Half Blood Prince at 168,000; Deathly Hallows at 198,000).

But besides the two common reasons, it honestly doesn’t matter if they change as long as it isn’t a drastic change. You’re not going to be able to make every book the same length or almost the same length. You can try, but it is perfectly okay if there is a gap between them.

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