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View Full Version : Words per page (MS Word) Vs. Standard Sized Paperback Novel


JANE007
08-20-2005, 02:58 AM
Does anybody know what the word count per page (MS Word) would be to be equivelant to one page of a standard sized paperback novel? Is it page for page? Double spaced or single?

Thanks for your help...

ChunkyC
08-20-2005, 03:14 AM
Depends on the fonts used. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif

It's definitely not one-for-one.

Your typical properly formatted full manuscript page in a word processor (1 inch margins all around, 12 point Courier or Times Roman double spaced) is generally considered to be 250 words (25 lines of 10 words average), though in mine they come out anywhere from 190 to 230 with the processors' word count feature.

As for paperbacks, I was curious once and did a count by counting the words in a sampling of lines and multiplying it by the number of lines on a full page. I came up with about 400 words per page for a fairly typical novel. But this will vary wildly from book to book. My rather oversized paperback copy of Lord of the Rings is about 700-750 words per page.

rowriter
08-20-2005, 03:19 AM
This is something I've long been curious about. But each book I read seems to have different sized fonts, some don't fill up as much as the page; so it's hard to say...I think I'll be counting words on mass-market pages like ChunkyC has, lol.

If anyone else has been counting by hand, I'd love to know the numbers you came up with! If there is a general formula, that would be awesome.

JANE007
08-20-2005, 03:39 AM
Thanks. Right now I am getting about 410/420 words per page (12 pt font and double spaced in MS Word). So I guess that in some cases that would be equivelant to one page in a novel...

JANE007
08-20-2005, 03:45 AM
My margins were way too slim so I adjusted them to what you said (Chunky C.) and now I am at about 300 words per page.

Jamesaritchie
08-20-2005, 04:26 AM
Does anybody know what the word count per page (MS Word) would be to be equivelant to one page of a standard sized paperback novel? Is it page for page? Double spaced or single?

Thanks for your help...

There's a thread on this somewhere. There is no direct correlation. There just isn't. And it isn't something for the writer to worry about, anyway.

All a writer needs to do is turn in a manuscript with the word count within the guidelines a particular publisher wants, and counted teh way a publisher wants them counted.

Trying to compare a manuscript with a published novel is futile at best, and extremely misleading at worst.

Garpy
08-20-2005, 03:38 PM
I started out, worrying about page counts....until someone put me straight and said that word count per page varies so much, it's a waste of time using page counts as a guideline....you're far better measuring things in simple word counts, which is easily accessible in MS Word.

Some rough guidelines:

Book lengths up to 70k words is a novella, 70-130k is where most novels fall. It varies by genre YA books rarely excede 100k (unless its fantasy), ChikLit is usally less than 100k, historical fiction/fantasy tend to be longer 130-160k.

Chapter lengths vary by genre, but a good guide is about 2k words for a nice pacey book.

HapiSofi
08-21-2005, 02:23 AM
There's a thread on this somewhere. There is no direct correlation. There just isn't. And it isn't something for the writer to worry about, anyway.

All a writer needs to do is turn in a manuscript with the word count within the guidelines a particular publisher wants, and counted the way a publisher wants them counted.

Trying to compare a manuscript with a published novel is futile at best, and extremely misleading at worst.What he said, chapter and verse. Fonts, type size, leading, margins, folios, running heads, and page design and overall book design, all vary the count. Furthermore, if you're trying to use MSWord to do your basic count, you're already on the wrong track, because Word doesn't do reliable wordcounts.

Interior type design is not the author's bailiwick. You just need to use a standard manuscript format. Somewhere on AW I've done a full set of instructions for figuring the wordcount you put on your title sheet. Shouldn't be too hard to find the post, once you know it's out there.

Garpy? Seventy thousand words is a novel, not a novella.

MarkPettus
08-21-2005, 07:06 AM
Somewhere on AW I've done a full set of instructions for figuring the wordcount you put on your title sheet. Shouldn't be too hard to find the post, once you know it's out there.

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=187097&postcount=29

This is the method we all used back in the days when a new Courier ball for your Selectric was considered a good birthday present.

reni
08-22-2005, 01:02 AM
Oh, goodness. I thought I had a handle on the word count issue, but all the counting and math at that link confused me inutterably.

I've always been told you take your number of pages multiplied by an assumed 250 words per page. In other words, if you have 400 pages, you go 400x250 and get a final word count of 100,000. Is this not the way it's done any more?

HapiSofi
08-24-2005, 02:51 AM
Oh, goodness. I thought I had a handle on the word count issue, but all the counting and math at that link confused me inutterably.

I've always been told you take your number of pages multiplied by an assumed 250 words per page. In other words, if you have 400 pages, you go 400x250 and get a final word count of 100,000. Is this not the way it's done any more?That only works if you're reliably getting 1500 characters per page. Rules like that were formulated back when everyone used typewriters. Learn to count characters and you'll always be right.

Don't be alarmed by my instructions. Work your way through it once or twice and it'll stand revealed as the not terribly complicated task it is.

Silverhand
08-24-2005, 03:12 AM
I must be doing something wrong with that equation. I have 450 pages X 250 words per page = 112,500 words. Yet,my word count shows that I have 149k words.

On a side note, I have been wondering how many book pages 149k would turn out to be?

Anyone know the word count on...Wheel of Time? A Song of Fire and Ice?

HapiSofi
08-24-2005, 03:17 AM
I must be doing something wrong with that equation. I have 450 pages X 250 words per page = 112,500 words. Yet,my word count shows that I have 149k words.

On a side note, I have been wondering how many book pages 149k would turn out to be?

Anyone know the word count on...Wheel of Time? A Song of Fire and Ice?What's your characters-per-line count? How many lines per page? How many pages? How many chapter starts?

There is no such thing as a MSWord wordcount. They just say there is.

Writer2011
08-24-2005, 03:21 AM
I use 12 pt Courier new....

ChunkyC
08-24-2005, 03:34 AM
Hapi's right. You can drive yourself crazy with this stuff.

I try to make my life a little easier by always writing in manuscript format: 12 Courier, 1 inch margins, 25 lines per page. My current 380 page ms comes out at 95,000 words when using the 250/pg method. My word processor's count says 83,000 and change. So what do I do? Count all the words by hand?

I decided to pick the number midway between the two, round it to the nearest thousand and call it a day. So my current ms says 'Approx. 89,000 words.' I think that's about as good an estimate as you can expect to get without spending more time on word count than you did writing it.

Aconite
08-24-2005, 03:44 AM
I must be doing something wrong with that equation. I have 450 pages X 250 words per page = 112,500 words. Yet,my word count shows that I have 149k words.
Silverhand, "word" for word count purposes is not an actual word, but a unit of space roughly equivalent to six monospaced-font characters. Publishers don't really care how many words are in your manuscript; they care about how much paper it will take to print it.

rowriter
08-24-2005, 12:11 PM
Here is another thread about word count and recommendations for estimating word count using MS Word data:

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=848&highlight=word+count

maestrowork
08-24-2005, 10:36 PM
Fonts, margin, number of lines, etc...

But I think 300-350 words a page is just about right?

My ms. is about 500 pages, but my book comes out at 234 pages.

Eldo
08-24-2005, 11:36 PM
Word count is misleading because no one cares how many words you have, all they care about is space.

I try to make my life a little easier by always writing in manuscript format: 12 Courier, 1 inch margins, 25 lines per page.This is excellent advice. I do the same now. The only thing to add to make this clearer is to format your paragraphs in MS Word to have the line spacing at "exactly 25 pt". This gives me 25 lines per page and looks double-spaced.

My actual word count according to the word processor is 55k, but when formatted as described above, the count becomes 70k. (My ms is a dialogue-heavy mystery, btw.)