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Why is My Word Count Important?

Ever wondered why traditional publishers require certain word counts to a manuscript? It comes down to number of pages in a completed book and the cost of printing x-amount of books. A 300-page book will naturally cost more to print than a 240-page book and a publisher knows the magic formula for estimating the page count of a book.

When you self publish, knowing the approximate page count of your book is important. So what is the formula based on the word count of a manuscript?

Word Count to Page Count Formula

With professional, book-industry design, your word processor file is imported into a page layout program such as InDesign. To get an idea of your estimated page count, use the following formula:

For a 5.5×8.5 trim sized trade paperback, figure approximately 250 words per page and for a 6×9 size book figure approximately 350 words per page.

As an example, if your book contained 48,000 words, it would end up at approximately 160 total pages for a 5.5×8.5 size book. (48,000 words divided by 300 words per page = 160 5.5×8.5 finished pages).

If you have photos or drawings in your book, a fair estimate is two photos or images per page added to your page count.

Don’t forget front matter such as title page, copyright page, dedication and such will also add to your total page count.

Why is My Page Count Different?

Keep in mind, this formula is highly volatile, and it will be very rare for your book to match these numbers. This is because your page count will be highly depending on a number of factors, including:

  • Typeface
  • Font Size
  • Margin size
  • Letter spacing
  • Line height

Most authors choose a typeface between 11pt and 12.5pt. Some of the most popular fonts chosen by major publishers for their readability include:

  • Trade Gothic
  • Trajan
  • League Gothic
  • Caslon

Check our our design resource page to more fonts and examples, as well as tips for creating a professional-looking layout.

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