Can the Number of Pages Make or Break A Book?

The Number of Pages in a Book

Congratulations! You’ve started writing the story you’ve been thinking about and you must have numerous questions too. Like, umber of pages in a book?  How many pages is a novel?  For a new author, how many pages are in a novel? How the number of pages does a good book have for a first-time author? 

How many pages are in a book?

How many pages should a book have? How many pages are in a book? What are the minimum pages for a book? Such simple questions, but so important to a writer looking to get published? The number of pages in a book depends on several factors like:

  • The genre of the book, a fiction, non-fiction/poetry
  • Established author/first-time author/at what point in an authors journey you are placed. See example below.
  • The audience for whom you are writing the book. Both age to paying capacity will determine a book length
  • Your writing skill and topic on which you are writing.

A combination of the above points will determine whether your book should be 50 pages long, as in a children’s book or 300 pages long in a fiction or an encyclopedia.

For a first release, 200 pages or less are enough. One can also look at authors like Chetan Bhagat, who continue to release books well below the 300-page mark even today. This is because readers across different cities and professional backgrounds prefer quick reads that fit into their hectic schedule. The genre also becomes a factor, since a romantic slice-of-life drama usually excludes details and depends on dialogue to move the plot.

number of pages in a book

Number of pages in a book for a first-time author

How many pages in a novel? If you are a first-time writer, this question will affect how you write too! First-time writers have a tougher time getting published. One of the factors that can make this process easier is writing a compact book, a story that is not too long and not too short either. How does one decide what is too long? How many pages should a book have?

A famous example regarding first-time authors and the number of pages is the Harry Potter series, written by J.K. Rowling. The first book in the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone series was only about 223 pages long. As its popularity increased, the number of pages for each Harry Potter release also went up. This happens when an author’s growing popularity guarantees many readers, encouraging the author to experiment with narrative details and characters. With the success of the first book, the reader also trusts the author’s writing style and is willing to spend money and time on lengthier work.

The publisher will often ask for a word count/how many numbers of pages are in a novel. Which genre does the book fall under? This also holds true for determining minimum pages for a book, for a traditional publisher. The publisher will be reluctant to take it on if a manuscript is described as commercial fiction or chick-lit crosses the 200-page mark. These genres are supposed to be easy-reads after all! First-time authors, specifically the ones who are not public figures and do not have a fan-following. The reader will be reluctant to pick up a thick book by a newcomer as reading is not only an investment of money, it also involves an investment of time and he may not be sure whether the book will be worth this investment.

How many words are on a page?

Your next question will be, how many words in a book page? There are approximately 250- 300 words on a page. This is true for a page that has only text. The type, font size and spacing also determine the number of words on a page. These factors come together to determine how many words will fit on a page. The smaller the font size, the more words you can fit on a page. Another factor that limits the number of words on a page is the page size. Normally, the ideal page size for a novel or fiction book is 5”x 8″ to 5.5 x 8.5″. The larger the page or the book size, the more words can be fitted in. On an average a book should not be over 50,000- 60,000 words.

How to determine the cost of publishing a book?

Another important point to note is that it entails costs, for books to be published. The longer the book, the more it will cost to edit and format and print and that can be a deterrent. So while the number of pages in a book for different genre varies, a debut author is more likely to get a positive response if they stick to a book of 200-250 pages. Telling a good story within this limit is a skill, and if you hit it off with the first book, it will give you headway the next time you want to get published.

The writing and publishing process is intricately tied to each other. See how a simple question like “how many pages should my book be?” works with several elements important to your story. Try some of these tips, and let us know how they worked for you!

Read more about the pages of your book

Numbering the Pages of Your Book
Number of Pages Matter
Book Title Ideas