How do you know how long your book will be?

Question: I know it's not really important and probably the last thing you should worry about and you should just write your book but I can't help but always wonder this. So if you write your book in Microsoft word or something the page number will probably be different than the page number of what it would be in an actual size book. I know there's all different book sizes and everything so it may be impossible to tell. So lets say your book is turned into a real book and when printed in hardback it's 500 or so pages. How many pages would your book have been in Word? I know publishers look at word count but I can't help but think page wise. Harry Potter, most of those are over 700 pages so how many pages would they have been on the computer or City of Heavenly Fire is over 700 pages but how many would it have been on the computer? I'm just wondering if I typed out my story and it turned in to like 150 pages how many pages would it be if it became a book? If I wanted my book to 500 or more pages when it's in hardback how many pages would it have to be on word? I know this isn't important and page number doesn't matter but I can't help but wonder this and it kind of drive me crazy no knowing.

Answer: A lot of factors affect how the number of words in a document will translate into the number of pages in a finished book.

If you are following standard manuscript format (, you will have 25 lines per page (double-spaced). Each line will have 60-strokes, and you will use Courier 12 point as your font.

This will give you an average of 10 words per line and 250 words per page, assuming the average word takes up 6 spaces (five letters plus one space). If your manuscript has 85,000 words,
which would be a typical length for a novel, that would come to 340 manuscript pages.

Among the factors that make the number of pages in a manuscript different than the number of pages in the printed book are...

* paper sizes.
* choice of fonts and font sizes.
* margins.
* line spacing.
* word spacing.
* headers and other design features.

All of these factors vary from book to book.

If you want a rough idea how many pages your finished book will have, here's one approach...

1. Pick a novel whose design is similar to what you envision for your book -- perhaps because it is targeted to a similar readership. Use this as a model.

2. Count the number of lines on a typical printed page (not the first or last page of a chapter, and not one with blank lines). Do this for several typical pages and divide to get an average.

3. Count the number of characters (including spaces and punctuation) on a typical printed line (which is usually between 44 and 75). Choose a full line, not the first or last line of a paragraph. Again, you probably want to count the characters on a number of lines and divide so you get an average figure. (In most fonts, different letters take up different amounts of space, so the number of characters per line varies.)

If you know the number of words in your manuscript (number of pages multiplied by 250), then...

4. Multiply your word count by 6 (to get the number of characters in your manuscript).

5. Divide the total by the number of characters per line in the published book you are using as a model. This gives you the number of lines your published book would have.

6. Divide this by the number of lines per page in your model. The result will be the number of pages your book will be when published, assuming its design will be nearly identical to the model.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions About Novel Writing.