Word Count Strikes Again

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Everwinter
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Word Count Strikes Again

Post by Everwinter » July 21st, 2010, 5:11 pm

I can find 100 articles telling me how many words a novel of a certain genre should have, but I have yet to find much on telling whether publishers and agents have shifted to true word count (via word processors) or still prefer the estimated word count method (250 words times the number of double spaced pages…)

My current novel is nearing a word count of 32,793 when I used MS WORD to tell me the word count, but when I do an estimated word count using the other formula I have a word count of 73,500.

Obviously there is a large difference and I was hoping some industry pro's would clarify which method would be preferred.

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AMSchilling
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Re: Word Count Strikes Again

Post by AMSchilling » July 21st, 2010, 5:26 pm

What font and font size are you using? That's a huge difference. The formula of 250 words per double spaced page assumes a certain font/font class that takes up a certain space per character, etc. For MS Word, if you're using what most agencies request for font and size, the results are very close to the formula.
-Amy

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Everwinter
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Re: Word Count Strikes Again

Post by Everwinter » July 21st, 2010, 5:45 pm

Courier size 12 font is what use.

According to article's such as the one found on write 101 http://www.write101.com/lethamcount.htm

They tell me that it should be done via the 250 words per double spaced page at a 12 point Courier font. So, according to their method, my book should be nearly complete if I'm shooting for an 80k word count. Unfortunately, if they run an actual word count its nearly half that number and falls more into the novella format, as far as length is concerned.

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AMSchilling
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Re: Word Count Strikes Again

Post by AMSchilling » July 21st, 2010, 7:34 pm

Hmm... My novel shows 85100 words using MS Word's count, and using the formula makes it 83,250, using Times New Roman, 12pt. When I switch it to Courier New 12 pt and the formula, it calculates at around 108k words on 435 pages (that's 100 pages more than with Times New Roman btw), but Word still says 85100.

If I do an actual count of words on a page, and then highlight that page to see what MS Word says it is, it does indeed calculate pretty closely to the actual number of words that are there (regardless of font used). When I switch to Courier there are close to 250 words per page vs. 350 words w/ Times New Roman. But I also have A LOT more pages that only have one or two lines on them, and my pages that are mostly dialog are far shorter than 250 words per page. Both of which are probably accounting for the difference in my totals.

All I can say is that a number of agent blogs I've read have said using Word's word count is fine, and it does seem that Word is relatively accurate on it's counting. If you want to use the formula, maybe go back and see just how many partial pages you have, and subtract them from the formula? Sorry I can't be of more help.
-Amy

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Bryan Russell/Ink
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Re: Word Count Strikes Again

Post by Bryan Russell/Ink » July 21st, 2010, 8:22 pm

Just use the wordcount from Word - it's the standard these days, and allows a certain uniformity.
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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Word Count Strikes Again

Post by Nathan Bransford » July 22nd, 2010, 8:30 pm

Bryan Russell/Ink wrote:Just use the wordcount from Word - it's the standard these days, and allows a certain uniformity.
Yup. Word count tool.

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