Page Count vs Word Count in Fiction Books
During several book signings, one question frequently asked of me has been, “How many pages is the book?” I always explain that the novel is over 90,000 words. The person’s expression, tells me that I might as well have been speaking a foreign language.
I have no idea why the publishing industry has not educated the reading public that word count determines the length of a novel and not the number of pages, and that a 70,000-word book can have more printed pages than a 90,000-word novel.
There are several reasons for this that are useful to the publisher:
· Font style and size: A font style and size will either increase or decrease the number of characters per page. Times New Roman font delivers fewer characters per page than Garamond. The industry standard for size is from 10 point to 13 point, with 11 point being the average.
· Margins: The size of the margins and space allowed for the gutter (margin at spine) can manipulate the page count.
· Space between lines affects the number of characters on a page.
· Depth of drop on chapter title page: This is another tool to increase the page count, or in the case of a fatter book, to decrease the number of pages.
· Trim size: That is the finished size of the book. Obviously, the larger the book, the more words that will fit into it. Often, publishers will use a larger trim size to accommodate the large print editions for those readers seeking a more comfortable font size.