This question is probably one of the most common asked by new authors. Others are, “How many pages should I write?” and “What size page should I use?” Unfortunately, these questions are all interlinked. There is no way to answer one without considering the others.
Due to the bewildering choice these days, finding the right font for your book can seem a little daunting. It also doesn’t help that there are so many different platforms people use to read books on either, as what looks great on the written page, may not look so good on a Kindle. Luckily for scriptwriters, there is no choice but to use Courier 12pt, but for creative writers, the choice is a lot more difficult.
If your book is going to a publisher to be printed, then what font to use will probably be decided for you by the publishing house. They may offer you a choice, but it won’t make a whole lot of difference which one you choose. So for this article, we’re going to concentrate on the choices for the Indie Publisher.
Let’s take what fonts you should consider first. The most common choices are:
As you can see, they are all fairly easy to read, although, you may have a personal preference for a specific one. And, at the end of the day, that’s what matters most. As long as it is easy to read for the average reader, then it doesn’t really matter which one you choose. What does matter is how the font affects the size of your book. As you can see from the above, despite all the fonts being 12pt, they all take up a different amount of space, which leads us nicely to…
As a general rule, font sizes for books range from the minuscule 6pt to a rather large 14pt, and everything in-between. But, the normal font size is between 10pt to 12pt. Taking the above examples for a novel, the Bookman Old Style and Courier New fonts should probably be at 11pt, while the others could be at 12pt.
If your book is a short story or children’s book, then it is probably better to go for the larger font and size to give the book more pages; if it’s a space opera with a couple of hundred thousand words, then something smaller would probably be more appropriate.
If you’ve written a non-fiction book, then the smaller fonts are often used; academia uses a smaller than average size (often 10pt). Other exceptions are books for children and scripts; early age books use a larger than normal font size, and as mentioned earlier, scripts must be in Courier 12pt.
The choice of font for chapter headings can be a lot more varied, although I’d personally steer clear of anything too distracting. While you might want something eye-catching, you don’t want something that takes the reader away from your story or is difficult to read.
Obviously, page size has the biggest impact on how many pages your book will have, and therefore, how much it will cost to print. There are two standard sizes for novels; 5-1/2″ by 8-1/2″ (140mm x 216mm) or 6″ by 9” (216mm x 280mm). The advantage of using either of these sizes is that bookstores will be more likely to stock your book as it will fit nicely onto their shelves. Again, books that are not novels are often either larger or smaller than these sizes.
How Many Pages in a Book
Now we come to the final often asked question. And, again, it’s another subjective question, as it depends on the how many words there are on each page. And how many words depends on what font (and its size) along with what your page size is. The best way to answer this question is to turn it on its head and ask how many words make up a book. The below is a list of average sizes, your book may well be outside these numbers.
Short Story – 2,500 to 7,000 words or 10 to 30 pages
Novelette – 7,000 to 35,000 words or 30 to 140 pages
Novel – 35,000 to 80,000 words or 140 to 320 pages
Novel/Saga – 75,000 to 200,000 words or 300 to 600 pages