How big should your book be? This decision is for both beginning and experienced authors. It can be a hard or easy decision depending on the book. These guidelines will help you determine the size of your book based on what kind of book it is.
Fiction books make it easy to choose a size. The majority of novels and short stories are either one of the two sizes: the mass market paperback size (4.1×6.6), or the slightly larger 6×9 size (occasionally, some are 4.1×7.4). In recent years, books that measure 6×9 are more in demand. They also tend to be more expensive than mass market paperback sizes. Partly because they appear more substantial, I believe so publishers can charge more. Fiction can be written in any size. These sizes are suitable because novels are the most portable of all books, based on how they are used. The ideal novel should be lightweight, portable, and easy to carry so that readers can read them at the beach or on an airplane.
The book’s thickness is the most important consideration when choosing between these two sizes. It would be much easier to read a large novel such as Gone With the Wind than a 6×9, which would hold 800 pages. This is because you would need to use less pressure to open the book, particularly if you can hold it with one hand. For men with larger hands, this is a difficult feat, but for women, it’s not. No matter what type of book you publish, you don’t want your book to be too large for readers to read.
There are many sizes available for children’s books. There are many sizes available for children’s books. I recommend the larger size for novels with chapters. But for picture books, a larger book will show the images better. You want the book to be light enough that children can open it, even if it is a hardcover. A book that is larger in size will be easier to hold and lighter. A book that can open on its own is a positive; larger books with the right binding and size will allow them to do this.
A book should be easy to open. Keep in mind that picture books are often read aloud by adults. Children will open them wide to see the images.
Before you begin to plan the layouts of the pages, make sure you know the book’s size before you start. Children’s books will have pictures that match the text. You will need to plan what the illustrations will look like. If you have images on every page or on any other page, you will need to determine the book’s dimensions so you can calculate how much text you will need to fit on each page.
It is essential to know the book’s dimensions before you begin to draw the illustrations. Otherwise, it will be difficult to scale the images to the final size.
Nonfiction books offer the greatest flexibility in determining their size. A simple nonfiction book can be sized in the same way as fiction books, depending on its purpose and contents. A larger size may be better for books that contain charts or photographs, as well as those with more complex topics.
It is important to make the book appear substantial enough for readers to feel that they are getting value for their money. A book that is too large and thin with over 50,000 words may seem expensive at $15.95. However, a smaller book with less word count might be a better buy.
A small publisher of nonfiction books told me that their goal was for every book to have 200 pages. Although the company sells books in sizes ranging from 6×9 to 8×11, the goal of 200 pages is what determines their size. Why 200 pages? The authors have determined that 200 pages is enough to make readers feel like they are getting value for their money without making it too intimidating or long.
You will want to use photographs in your book. A larger book will allow the photos to stand out more. Books with lots or images, such as pictorial histories or art books, and books that include graphs, timelines or genealogy charts are best suited for coffee tables.
Consider your book cover. Your book cover will appear small online. Amazon’s book images are only two inches wide. A bookstore will see a bigger book amongst the mass-market paperbacks. Some bookstores might not be willing to sell books too large for a regular shelf. However, larger books will be more easily noticed than books that are buried on shelves with their spines exposed.
The cover is the first thing a customer sees and will influence the majority of their buying decisions. The cover might be bigger than the other book, and that could make a difference in whether it is bought or not.