It’s a question I get often and I decided to do some research to find an answer that could guide my readers.
There are many important reasons why you’d need to know the page count of a book before you’ve fully completed it.
I learned this first hand a few months ago while helping a client who was trying to estimate things for a physical book.
We played around with the two different formats and once we decided on one, it was a question of determining what content needed to be omitted from the book in order for him not to get hit by a HUGE printing bill.
There’s huge difference in printing cost between a 150 page book and a 160 page book and finding out WELL in advance how many page your book will end up with can have a fairly significant impact on your publishing budget.
The reality is that things are bit different when you move your content from a word document to your final book and the following should be a good guideline:
1. How many words did you write? Find your word count in Word by accessing your “tools” and then “word count”.
2. Choose a trim size for your book. You’ll need to choose a trim size for your book just as a starting point, so choose the one below that’s the most appropriate for your book the best sizes are in general:
For fiction: 5.5″ x 8.5″
For nonfiction: 6″ x 9″
Note: Large format books with illustrations are more difficult to predict the final page count, but usually large pages will have a similar amount of text as small pages, as part of the large page will be devoted to illustrations, sidebars, captions, and so on.
Choose one of the above sizes, even for your large format book, just as a starting point.
3. Calculate the number of pages. Using your current word count and the appropriate formula below, calculate the number of pages you can expect in your finished book:
a. Your word count divided by 390 = page count for a 5.5″ x 8.5″ book
For example: 50,000 divided by 390 = 128.20 pages
b. Your word count divided by 475 = page count for a 6″ x 9″ book
For example: 50,000 divided by 475 = 105.26 pages
This should allow you to know before you get your book typeset how many pages you’ll end up with!
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