Thursday, February 28, 2008

The word count issue

We hear this all of the time. How should we judge the word count of your writing?
The simple truth is that word count can really vary a lot from one method to another. The funny part is that most editors could really care less.

Here are some stats I just ran on a basic document just to prove a point.

The document was orignially 3 pages in length. Double spaced with little dialogue. I ran it through several different variables and here are the page counts:

Times New Roman 12 pt. Double Spaced 3 pages computer word count = 794 words
Times New Roman 12 pt. Double Spaced 3 pages 250xpg# word count = 750 words
Courier 12 pt. Double Spaced 4 pages 250xpg# word count = 1000 words

First of all, this was a small version but you could see the difference in word count. It still makes a difference though, especially when you are dealing with a 75,000 word manuscript.

I bring this up because I just spoke with a writer yesterday that submitted to me. She sent her manuscript to me telling me it was roughly 75K (she used computer word count). She then panicked because several of her writing friends told her this was wrong and she needed to use the courier method. Needless to say, her paper increased to roughly 92K.

This difference is HUGE!!!! If she wants to submit to a house that only wants the smaller number, she is removing herself from the running.

The deal is that editors and agents aren't stupid. We can see when you have used one method or another.

My recommendation? Just tell us what the darn word count is using your computer word count. Guess what? Regardless of what font you use, it will still be the same.

(just to test it, I ran that other document using the computer word count)
Courier 12 pt. Double Spaced 4 pages computer word count = 794 words

So, I knew it would be the same, but I want you to see that I still am willing to test it.

No comments:

Post a Comment