How Many Words

This question is probably one of the most common asked by new authors. Unfortunately, this question is meaningless, without some qualifying information.

How Many Words on a Page

This is going to depend on:

  • What the font size is
  • What the font is
  • What the page size is

As a general rule, Font sizes range from the miniscule 6pt to a rather large 14pt, and everything in-between. But, normally the accepted font size is 10pt or 11pt. Specialist books use the sizes at either end of this scale; academia uses a smaller than average size while books for the partially sighted use the largest, sometimes even larger than 14pt. Another exception to this are books for children. Early age books again use a larger than normal font size.

Font size in itself is a rather confusing subject because that often depends on the actual font. For instance, a Times New Roman font size of 10pt is a lot larger than a Bookman font size of 10pt. A note on fonts. If you are planning an ebook, then by all means use the Times New Roman and Aerial fonts, but nothing screams “Self Published” louder than seeing these fonts on paper. If you aren’t sure which font to use, then, if you pick a font with ‘Book’ in its name, you should be safe.

Chapter headings can be whatever font you want, although I’d personally steer clear of anything too distracting. While you want something eye-catching, you don’t want something that takes the reader away from your story.

How Many Pages, or Words in a Book
How many pages is another subjective question, as it depends on the how many words there are on a page. Te best way to answer this question is to turn it on its head and ask how many words make up a book.

Short Story – 2,500 to 5,000 10 to 20

Novelette – 7,000 to 25,000 30 to 100

Novel – 35,000 to 80,000 140 to 320

Novel/Saga – 75,000 to 150,000 300 to 600

For normal paperback books, around 70,000 words is the normal, anything less would need to have a significantly lower price than average. For example, my book has around 50,000 words making 139 pages and has a retail price of £6.98. A major problem with Print on Demand (POD), is that it tends to be more expensive than traditional publishing, and therefore, it is easy to price yourself out of the market.
OK, so going back to the original question, let’s take a novel with 80,000 words and 320 pages. That would work out at 250 words per page, probably a bit on the low side as most novels these days have around 350 words on the page. When I say most novels, I’m talking about the normal sized ones that fill the bookshelves in your local Waterstones.

So to summarise, an average novel has about 70,000 to 80,000 words, it also has about 350 words per page, on average. So it should be about 220 pages long.

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