We live in an age of numbers. And one of the numbers you will want to determine early in your book writing project is approximately how big your book is going to be. Knowing this is important for a couple of reasons.
- If you only have enough money to publish a book of about 125 pages and your estimate adds up to 250 pages, you're in financial hot water before you start.
- It's one of the questions a printer will ask you when you request a price quote.
The following example provides some tips on how to determine how many pages your book will have.
Assume that the draft of your manuscript is 285 pages long and double spaced. You do a little preliminary scouting in a bookstore to find an attractive book to use as a model and decide on a page size, text image size, type size, etc. In most cases, one finished 6" x 9" book page equals about one and one-fourth pages (1.25) of a double-spaced manuscript if done in 12-point Times Roman with 1-inch margins.
With this information computing the text pages in your book is a snap. Divide your total manuscript pages of 285 by the 1.25 conversion ration. The result indicates you will have 228 typeset text pages in your book.
However, to accurately estimate the total number of pages your book will have, you must take into consideration several other elements that make up a complete book.
- Pages that appear before the actual text begins are called front matter and can include a title page, acknowledgements, table of contents, and preface or introduction pages. Let's assume your front matter consists of eight pages.
- Pages after the text pages are called back matter and can include an index, author bio page and an order form page. Let's assume your back matter consists of twelve pages.
- In good design, each chapter heading will take up about one-third of a page. Therefore, a 12-chapter book will consume four additional pages.
- For optimum design, you will want each chapter to start on a recto (right-hand) page. Figure half the chapters will fall wrong, so allow for a blank verso (left-hand page) for these. Result is six additional pages.
- Will there be any interior artwork, photographs, tables, charts or graphs. If so, this will also add pages to your book.
Here's how our example breaks down: 228 text, 8 front matter, 4 chapter headings, 6 recto pages, 2 interior artwork, 12 backmatter, for a grand total of 260 pages.
Your book has significantly grown, but you now have a much better idea as to what the size of your finished book will be.
[This post was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, 5th Edition, co-authored by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier.]