When an aspiring author sits down to create their first book, one of the first questions they might ask is “How many pages should my book be?”

Right from the outset, the writer has success on their mind, hoping to hit all the right benchmarks that will give their book the best shot at capturing sales. Page count happens to be one of these important considerations.

While the publishing industry sets word count guidelines according to the genre, the self-published author has some latitude on book page count. In addition, because the author has control over the project, they can manipulate page count by subtle shifts in trim size, font, and margin size.

However, it is important to understand that publishing houses established their standardized guidelines based on audience expectations for each particular genre, which should be respected when wondering how long a book should be.

Is There an Average Page Count You Need for Your Book?

When setting out to write a story the writer will likely have created an outline for their project. They have listed prospective chapter titles, created sections, or just listed the key themes or points they wish to cover in the book. Each person’s book project will be a unique undertaking, and their story will be as long as it needs to be.

Giving a topic short shrift in an attempt to wrap up the book in a certain number of words will not accomplish the ultimate goal of producing a book that has value and merit in the eyes of the reader. On the other hand, blathering on with meaningless filler to reach a specified page count only short-changes the audience. The goal, therefore, should always be about producing high-quality writing.

Depending on the genre, there is an industry-standard for how many pages should be in a book. In general, one page equals approximately 250 words using 12-point Times New Roman double-spaced. These standards include:

  • Children’s books: 10,000-15,000 words
  • Mystery/Crime/Thrillers: 60,000-90,000 words
  • Young adult fiction: 40,000-80,000 words
  • Science fiction/Fantasy: 90,000-120,000 words
  • Romance: 50,000-100,000 words
  • Novellas: 18,000-40,000 words
  • Novels: 40,000-100,000
  • Non-fiction: This genre has a wide range of diversity (memoir, educational, biographies, etc.) and word counts will vary accordingly.

While these word count guidelines offer the self-published author some basic ideas about what is acceptable within their genre, keep in mind there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to self-publishing. The author is in complete control.

Don’t know which genre to write for? Learn about the most popular book genres to garner large audiences.

How to Decide How Many Pages to Have in Your Book

When wondering how many pages a book should be, it is notable that the average book length is between 200-400 pages. With this in mind, what considerations should be taken when deciding how long a book should be?

  • Check comparable titles. Go to a bookstore and find your book’s genre. Note the average page counts of your would-be competition. Note the usual trim size within the genre. These details will help you determine your own book-length and size, as it is important to conform to audience expectations within a genre.
  • Consider costs. Keep in mind that the longer the book, the higher the book production costs will be, and that will determine the retail price. For example, if your book is more than 300 pages, then, in order to be profitable, your retail price will need to be a dollar or two higher than competitors with lower page counts.
  • Your goal for the book. If you are out to create a specific product, such as a short, intimate book of meditations or prayers for example, this will dictate a smaller page count. If the goal is to write the definitive tome on Winston Churchill, a meaty, 500+ pages will present a credible resource to the audience.
  • Are you writing a series? When writing a series or collection of books, it is common to use a smaller word count for each, which allows the author to quickly publish subsequent installments. Each book, however, must be able to stand on its own.

What Comes After Deciding on Page Count?

Once you have decided on the appropriate page count for your self-published book, it is time to get to work. Whether your project is 100 pages or 400 pages, to create an amazing book you will benefit from a talented team of professionals on your side. Gatekeeper Press offers editing, design, and publishing guidance to help ensure that your book stands out from the crowd. Call us today!