Counting The Words

There are no rules regarding how many words a book should contain. An acceptable length would be between 40,000 to 50,000 words. This is equivalent to writing around 160 pages.

Keep in mind the more words you write the more expensive it becomes to get your manuscript published. It’s no use writing 300,000 words if no one is going to read your manuscript or publish it.

Putting The Pieces Together

When you examine the nuts and bolts of a book, you will find it will comprise a series of components that must conform to an established convention.


It’s extremely important that you can come up with a catchy title. Your title must capture a potential buyer’s curiosity and more particularly entice them to buy it. Remember writing the best book in the world is useless if no one buys it!

The Preface and Table of Content

Two key components potential buyers will read are the preface and table of content. The preface will set out the book’s overall objectives, and the table of content will provide details of the specific chapters.

The preface and table of content will also be the first thing a potential publisher will examine. So it is important that you can convince them they could make a lot of money from publishing your book. The publisher will use them to help promote and market your book.


An important component of any specialty book (for instance technical, business and cook book) is the glossary defining any technical words you use. This is especially the case if your subject material has its own unique language and phrases.


Writing a specialty book is similar to writing a series of individual essays (referred to as chapters) with appropriate links to tie them together. Each chapter should follow a logical sequence and be relevant to the common theme.

As a general rule, your first chapter should be confined to any ‘big picture’ issues you may wish to discuss. Your subsequent chapters should concentrate on specific issues.

Construction of a Chapter

All your chapters should follow a strictly structured format. Novice authors often fail to appreciate the need to present their material in an orderly and consistent manner. If you do not do this your work will look unprofessional and your manuscript could get rejected.

The following guidelines set out how a chapter should be constructed:

You should commence each chapter with a brief introduction setting out the specific objectives you intend to convey to your reader.

Each key point (idea) you plan to discuss should have its own heading. It is recommended that you limit each point to around 500 words. You should commence with a general comment and conclude with either:

· An interesting story or case study to reinforce the particular point you had just discussed.

· A table, illustration, graph, photograph and / or checklist to enhance your point.

· Some interesting statistical data or historical fact.

· A humorous comment or cartoon to satirise the point you are trying to accentuate.

At the conclusion of each chapter a summary (in point form) to reinforce the issues you had just discussed. (This is optional and will depend on whether you think it’s worth inserting).

This formula has proven to be an excellent way of putting together a chapter in a logical manner.


Your specialty book should always have an index. The publisher will normally do this for you

For more details you can read my article ‘Getting Published: Tips to Getting Your Writing Published’.