How many pages to increase the chances of publishing and the book’s success?
You’re not the only one searching for an answer to the age-old question: how many pages should a book have? A writer enters a bookstore and not only is he looking for a particular author or a book of a particular genre but he is also aware of the average number of pages in a book. How many pages in a book are enough, 200 pages enough, or are 300 pages too much and do 100 pages seem too light a read?
While counting the number of pages in a book and holding a jury session on the ‘acceptable’ limit may seem pretentious, it’s a pretty common question among writers and readers. While the answer keeps changing depending on many factors, we organize the various aspects and their impact in an easy-to-read format in this article.
Words and Pages in a Book
Publishing houses may have a different count for the number of pages that make a book, a novella, a novel, or an epic. Some figures overlap and a consensus is that, on average, a book is about 60,000 -90,000 words long. That is approximately 200-350 pages. It can fluctuate, of course, depending on the writing style, the genre and the author’s reach. 300 is the average number of pages in a book targeted toward an adult audience familiar with your work.
One reason the average number of pages in a book is often a point of discussion when talking with publishers and literary agents is that shorter books are more marketable if you’re getting your first book published. In recent times, many publishers believe that small, light reads sell better than complex, lengthy literary pieces that demand commitment. But, then again this is not a hard and fast rule.
Is the Genre or Just You, who determines how many pages in a book?
If you’re someone who reads books across genre, you would know that a mythical or fantasy book is not the same as contemporary fiction or a self-help book. For example, a Colleen Hoover book is much lengthier than a self-help book like Ikigai. Take, for example, Wings Of Fire, an autobiography of Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam. The number of pages in the Wings of Fire is only 180 pages. Compare that with Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None,” which is more than 250 pages long.
What is the number of pages in a novel?
You would also notice that fantasy books are often thicker, with many books surpassing the 100,000-word count. While the writer’s style definitely plays a role in this, the requirement of the genre must not be ignored. Most fantasy or mythological writing needs world-building. The reader, who has no clue about a different world existing, must be immersed in it by the end of the book, hence the need for more words or an average number of pages in a novel.
Also, consider that your audience is no fool. They know their genre well. They’ve read hundreds of books with similar tropes and writing and are well acquainted with the structure. This is why a chick-lit novel with more than 100,000 words will have them hesitating to pick it up.
However, sometimes it’s not just the genre that decides how many pages does a novel have? Sometimes it’s also you, not just your writing style but also your established fan base. Often, when publishing your first book, it is recommended that you keep the book short, with clear plot lines and character arcs. You’ll notice a pattern when it comes to famous series- they get longer with each passing book. Hence the average number of pages in a novel will differ.
Some great examples are Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling and Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, both of which are full-fledged series, with thousands and hundreds of pages, several events and an exceptional world-building. The number of pages in a novel such as Harry Potter book, the first book in the series, is merely 223 pages long. By the time Deathly Hallows was written, the last book in the series, the number of pages in the Harry Potter book had swelled to over 600!
A count of 200 to 250 pages for your first book is a good start. But, it isn’t a number you should look down upon. Even writers like Chetan Bhagat, who have firmly established them self in the industry, still release books that are below a 300-page mark. Chicklits or slice-of-life comedies are supposed to be light, entertaining reads. Anything that delves too deeply into storylines and individual plot arcs can easily lose track of the genre’s requirements.
Short Stories, Poetry and Children’s Books – what is their ideal number of pages?
The average number of pages in a children’s book
Children’s books tend to be a lot lighter and shorter than those of adults. But, while ‘adult readers’ refers to a vast mass of people, Children’s books are divided into age groups. So, you have different books for toddlers, elementary school kids, pre-teens, etc. And for good measures, because a child just starting to spell m-a-t will not devour a Roald Dahl or a Ruskin Bond.
Hence, the number of pages for children’s books will depend upon the age group. While your picture books are, on average 30 pages long, books for pre-teens can hit the 50,000-word count.
But, unlike adult novels, children’s books rely on images and graphical representations of the written text. Compare, for example, the text-heavy world of Roald Dahl with the colourful, stylistic and cleverly illustrated storytelling of Geronimo Stilton. This is where the page count becomes tricky because a short story can still end up with a higher page count because the book has plenty of colourful illustrations too.
The third factor that affects the number of pages in a children’s book is the cost of publishing a book. The more the pages or the more coloured pages in a children’s book, in both cases the mrp of the book will be higher.
Additionally, there has been a recent trend in poetry books. Page count in poetry books is usually more straightforward, with each poem taking one page. Sometimes, they may be accompanied by drawings or illustrations, affecting the page count.
Number of Pages for each Genre
Now that we have established how page count works, here is a breakdown of words and pages for every genre.
How many pages should a book be?
How many pages in a novel? Mainstream romances are usually 80,000 to 100,000 words long. That is approximately 330-350 pages. But romances in other categories like historical, sci-fi or fantasy are generally a bit longer, often even transforming into a series. This can be attributed to the heavy world-building or the author’s creative choice of mixing elements of mystery and drama with the same. In such sub-romance categories, the word count can go up to 120,000 with multiple sequels or prequels.
On the other hand, a standard chick-lit or young adult romance would be between 50,000 to 80,000 words, which is 200 to 350 pages long. Mystery and thriller books are usually 360 to 400 pages long.
Non-fiction books, when aimed at academia, are 300-360 pages long. However, it must be noted that most academic books follow different formatting wherein the ideal page size can vary from 6 x 9″ to 8.5 x 11″.
Biographies can vastly vary from being an extremely light read to a heavy one. The length is influenced by the person’s stature, life trajectory and important events and instances the author chooses to include and omit. Some biographies tend to focus on a single major event, while others showcase the life trajectory of the person(s). Hence, they can be as short as 180 pages and as long as 500.
Lastly, self-help books are usually short, barely 60,000 words long, that is 240 pages. Since self-help books can get overwhelming and flood the reader with a lot of information in one place, publishers tend to keep the length short and light.
But, these are all rules and creativity has only ever challenged a bunch of guidelines. At the end of the day, it is you who knows your piece best and understands the requirement and can answer the question, how many pages should a book be? The stack of 600 pages bound together might look appealing, but is it what your book requires?
Some questions uppermost in your mind regarding how many pages in a book
Paperback books typically contain how many words per page?
A paperback book will contain approximately 250 to 300 number of words per page in a book. Keeping the book size to be around 8.5″ x 5.5″. These figures are approximate as various factors influence the number of words that should be fitted in a page.
How many words are there on the average page of a novel?
The average words on a page of a novel will be 200 -250 for an 8×5″ or a 8.5″ x 5.5″ book. This can go up to 300 or more for a longer novel by an established author.
How many words are in a 100-page book?
To find the answer to how many words are in a 100 page book, use the formula
number of words per page in a book x number of pages in a book = total number of words
With this formula, the number of words in a 100 page book is 25,000. This formula answers several questions: “what is the word count for a 200-page novel?” “How many words for a 50 page book?” “How many words are in a 300-page book?” “How many typewritten words make a page in a book?” “How many words is a 700-page book?”
How many pages is 3000 words?
The answer to this question, “how many pages is 3000 words?” Keeping in mind several factors, a 3,000-word book can have 300 pages if ten words are on a page, say for a children’s book or even 150 pages if 20 words of a story are used on one page. It could be a 10-page booklet for adults if 300 words are used on a page. Or a poetry book with just one line of 10 words per page is used. So you have to look at various factors such as genre, cost of printing and age of the person reading that book, which will help you determine the total number of pages.
Minimum number of pages for a book?
Minimum number of pages for a book will depend on several factors, one if it’s a booklet, nouvella, novel or an epic that you are writing. The minimum number of pages for an informational booklet could be as low as 4/8. For a nouvella minimum, pages could be 40-50; for a novel, it could be 130-140.
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