What font size should you use for a novel?

Either 10pt, 11pt, or 12pt. A font size smaller than 10pt is generally too hard to read. A font size larger than 12pt generally looks inelegant.

It’s ultimately up to you how you want to format your book, including what font size you want to use for the paragraph text. However, it’s unusual for books like novels to use a font size that’s outside the 10pt-12pt range.

Font sizes smaller than 10pt can be quite hard to read. Even 9pt is quite hard to read. So for your main paragraph text, 10pt is generally the lower limit of what you can choose. (You might use a smaller font size – 9pt or maybe even 8pt – for figure captions or footnotes, but these aren’t too common in novels.)

Font sizes larger than 12pt can look inelegant and clumsy in book print. Even 12pt can look a bit oversized. (You would of course use font sizes much larger than 12pt for headings and on your title page, but not for the main paragraph text.)

So your options are 10pt, 11pt, and 12pt. You can also choose values between these – 10.5pt or 11.5pt, for example – but the difference between, say, 10pt and 10.5pt is often too small to really see, so not worth considering.

It’s worth noting that, because different typefaces have different shapes and thicknesses and heights to their letterforms, two fonts at the same font size can look quite different in how high the letters are. You should decide on what font size you want to use after deciding which typeface to use, and you should look at the typeface in several sizes to see which looks best – use your judgement.

← Writing FAQs