Archive for February, 2013

Word Count to Number of Pages

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

QUESTION: How do I convert my manuscript’s word count into a expected number of pages for a published novel?

THEORY-BASED ANSWER: Divide your word count by 250.

PRACTICE-BASED ANSWER: It depends on: the font type; font size; page size; paragraph format; margin; and medium.

Font type matters
Font type matters
Font type matters
Font type matters

font size matters
font size matters
font size matters
font size matters

Other than those obvious contextual elements, the indentation, margin size, and paragraph spacing can make a substantial different in the overall number of pages in a printed book.

I have two novels which are available not only in kindle format but also from Amazon via CreateSpace as printed books.

My first novel, THE DRAGONEERS was Amazon’s #1 top-rate Religious Fantasy for the first 279 days of 2012. Even though most of the 18,000 copies of it in circulation are eBooks there was a demand for some printed copies. The adventure is slightly over 100,000 words. Formatting it to a page size of 6 x 9 using an 11 point font produced 244 pages. Which computes to an average of 409 words per page–not the theoretical 250 words of the legacy formula. Of course some pages have fewer and some have more, we all know that’s what average means.

My second novel, THE LOST DRAGONEER is slightly over 123,000 words. Formatting it to a page size of 6 x 9 using a 12 point font produced 342 pages, computing to an average of 360 words per page.  Additionally, there is a large print edition formatted to a page size of 8.5 x 11 using 18 point font. That resulted in 428 pages for an average word per page of 287.

Did you know the techniques of your writing can drastically affect the number of pages? For example, if your novel has a lot of dialogue, there will be more “white space” on the page.

“How’s that?” you say.

“Dialogue usually requires a hard return,” says me. “Resulting in less words per line.”

“I don’t get it,” you say.

“You will.”



“Oh,” says you, glancing at the dialogue above. “I get it now.”

“Of course you do,” says me as I smiled.

The “divide by 250” formula might have actually worked when Courier was the only typeface and typewriters had dominion over manuscripts, not so much now.

Additionally, since eBooks are more common that tree books, the reader selects their desired font size based on their fixed-size viewing platform and their personal desires. Those platforms can vary from a 3.5” smart phone screen to a 36” or larger monitor on a PC or MAC, common logic suggests the actual page count is almost a non sequitur.

In this information age with a world of designer fonts and formats, myriad variables influence our final readers edition.

So in theory it’s fairly simple to estimate the number of pages of your future book. In practice, getting an accurate answer can be more challenging than simple math.

It just makes sense.

You can discover more about my books at my FaceBook Fan Page which I invite you to like, or my Amazon Author’s Page.