...and I Cannot Lie!
Does this outfit make my book look big?

"How long should my book be?" That's a question I hear several times a week.  I posted this response on our Facebook page yesterday: 

"The answer is...(you'll hate this)...It depends! Is your book fiction or non-fiction? Business book or children's book? Memoir? Novel? AND...how many pages are readers willing to commit to read? Or pay for? See? It depends! If you figure an average word count per page is 300, then a business book of 105,00 words will be about 350 pages. Next question? How does this affect cost and pricing?"

Does size matter? Well, yes...it does! The John Grisham novel, "The Racketeer", comes in at 352 pages. Works fine for Grisham, since he is an established author. However, if you are an unpublished author trying to secure a book contract for fiction, it's gonna be a tough sell. Sorry...that's the state of publishing today. You will have a difficult time even getting an agent to look at your manuscript.

This is one of the reasons that self-publishing has moved into the spotlight. Indie authors (unsigned by publishing houses) can take over the process and publish their own books quite easily.

Don't get me wrong: The cost to print a big book is greater than the cost to print a shorter book. However, you have options regarding eBooks, advance copies, and print-on-demand that can still get your big book in front of readers without a $35,000 financial commitment.

Whether your book is small or big, there's a market for it, and a way to get it published. 

And I cannot lie.

-Mary Beth Smith


Here are some famous novels, old and recent, along with their word counts.

Philosopher’s Stone....77,325
Chamber of Secrets.....84,799
Prisoner of Azkaban...106,821
Goblet of Fire........190,858
Order of the Phoenix..257,154
Half Blood Prince.....169,441
Deathly Hallows.......198,227

OTHER NOVELS – various genres
Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe...36,363
Anna Karenina...349,736
War and Peace...587,287
Gone with the Wind...418,053
The English Patient...82,370
A Prayer for Owen Meany...236,061
Crime and Punishment...211,591
The Brothers Karamazov...364,153
Sense and Sensibility...119,394
Great Expectations...183,349
Ender’s Game...100,609
Moby Dick...206,052
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory...30,644
The Hours...54,243
The Golden Compass...112,815
The Fellowship of the Ring...177,227
The Two Towers...143,436
The Return of the King...134,462
The Lord of the Rings...455,125
The Tenth Circle...114,779
My Sister’s Keeper...119,529
A Tale of Two Cities...135,420
White Teeth...169,389
The Mouse and the Motorcycle...22,416
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn...109,571
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer...69,066
One Hundred Years of Solitude...144,523
Memoirs of a Geisha...186,418
Snow Falling on Cedars...138,098
Cold Mountain...161,511
Midnight’s Children...208,773
A House for Mr. Biswas...198,901
All the Pretty Horses...99,277
A Suitable Boy...591,554 (est.)


  1. This made me laugh! I love big books, too :)

    1. Glad you got a grin out of it Barbara - look forward to seeing you during the video conference 5/23!

      :) mb


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