How Many Pages Should My Novel Be?
[Approximate Reading Time: 5 mins]
One question that has plagued writers over time has been the number of pages in their book. Will my novel be too short, or will it be too lengthy? This thought is sure to be at the back of your mind even as you write your novel! While this might seem like a trivial matter, remember that this is far from the truth. The success of your novel hinges on the length of your book to a certain extent, especially in the case of a first-time author. So, what number of pages are considered acceptable for a novel? This will vary depending on the genre, the audience, and the writer’s background in the industry. Let’s see how.
First-timer Vs. Established Writer
If you are a first time writer, then it’s better to choose the middle path. Your first novel should not be too short nor too lengthy – 200 pages seems a good number. Fewer pages than that, and you run the risk of being termed a frivolous writer as you may not be able to provide too many details in the plot. If it’s more than 200 pages, you might have difficulty finding a publisher. This is because people look for easy reads from first-time authors. If it’s too long, then there may not be too many takers for your book. When it comes to new authors, readers tend to choose quick reads as they are unwilling to invest too much money or time the first time around. An established writer, on the other hand, will be able to experiment with a lengthier piece.
Word Count and Page Size
An average page contains somewhere between 250 to 300 words when it’s only text. However, this number will vary depending on the type, spacing, and font size used. When larger fonts are used, the page will accommodate a fewer number of words. Most novels nowadays are a minimum of 50,000 words and can go up to 100,000 words. When it comes to novels or fiction for children, the average word count is about 25,000. However, books for young adults can go up to 40,000 words. Some exceptions to these rules are thrillers, and fantasy works such as the Harry Potter series that average 100,000 words each. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is yet another example.
Page size will also play a role in determining the number of words and pages in a book. Larger pages mean space for more words. When pages are of a smaller size, there will be more of them, and this can make the book quite bulky too. For novels and works of fiction, the common page size is somewhere between 5’ x 8’ and 5.5’ x 8.5’.
Factor in the Cost
The number of pages in a book will determine the formatting and printing costs to a great extent. Here it is essential to remember that your page count will have to take into consideration any illustrations, graphs or photographs that are part of the book. A longer book will prove costlier to edit, format, and print. Publishers tend to be wary of books that incur high printing costs. This is because it will lead to an increase in the sale price of the book and that might be a risky move for them, especially with first time authors who might not sell too many copies.
Besides these reasons, sticking to the expected word count indicates that you know your target audience. It illustrates your ability to pace your narrative and ensure that every word matters. If you are able to hold the reader’s attention by adhering to this limit with your very first book, then it will ensure that you have a head start when you publish your next one!