Sunday, September 21, 2008

Word Count II

Now for electronic word count.

Here's the only explanation I have for figuring out electronic word count. It comes from the free course Roses Write Fifty Books that sisters Delilah Devlin and Elle James of Roses Colored Glasses give every year.

b) If your targeted publisher uses the computer word count, you have to know how many words you average per page. To figure that out, open a document you are working on that is near completion (can be a fully fleshed-out chapter). Check the word count (in MS Word you go to "Tools" then "Word Count"). Take that number and divide by the number of pages in the document. That will give you your words per page. When you look at the publisher page count, say, 50,000 words, you divide 50,000 words by your personal words per page number to get the number of pages you have to write to complete that story.

OK, now I have a WIP that MS word says has 20,031 words in 60 pages, so my words per page is 333.85, or 334. So, if my publisher wanted 50,000 words, I would have to write 150 pages.

Now, I'm not sure if this calculation includes the first page of a chapter, which usually starts partway down the page. If it does, it assumes that the first page of a chapter also contains 334 words, even though this page is not completely filled with type.

Author Monica Burns also has a Word Count spreadsheet on her website that tracks progress on your WIP in both Courier and Times New Roman. You plug in your word count, and it tells you how many pages you have.

I find her spreadsheet a little confusing, because in this spreadsheet, TNR assumes 285 words per page and Courier assumes 250 words per page

Now, if I use this TNR calculation, my 20,031 word TNR manuscript would contain 70 pages. So I think I'll stick with the Roses calculation.

I'm confused, too. As in all cases, check your publisher's Submission Guidelines.

Thank you all,



Kaye Manro said...

Linda, this is good information to know. But it's true, word count, esp. for e-pub can be confusing. Good advice though. Thanks.

Linda Banche said...

Glad I could help.