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Thread: How do published book pages compare to Microsoft Word?

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    How do published book pages compare to Microsoft Word?

    Is there a standard conversation rate for Microsoft Word pages to actual book pages? Say I have 50 M-Word pages (in the standard 12 New Courier double spaced format) - how many pages will this be as an actual printed book? Or,
    how many pages will 10,000 words likely be as a published book?

    Optional opinion question:
    is 10,000 words too long for a 1st chapter?

    Thanks!
    Best,
    Jeff

  2. #2
    Bah Humbug K. Taylor's Avatar
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    Someone else can correct me, but I think books have approx. 250 words per page?

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    Grumpy writer and editor Absolute Sage Gillhoughly's Avatar
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    Just use the word count feature. Publishers go by word count, not page count.

    If you have double-spaced, 1-inch margins in a size 12 Times New Roman font, you'll have about 250 words per page, with is industry average for a MANUSCRIPT page. You don't need to worry about book pages. Publishers fiddle with formats, writers don't need to.

    Check publishers for their guidelines. They will have something like "commercial fiction, 60,000-100,000 words".

    A chapter is as long as it needs to be. I've had 10K word chapters and 1K word chapters. There are no set rules, you do what's right for the book.

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    Last edited by Gillhoughly; 08-18-2009 at 06:43 AM.

  4. #4
    AW Addict nitaworm's Avatar
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    Also, you can put it in book format / size in ms to see how many pages you will have.

    So you could go to page set up and > margin > custome > 6x9 or whatever size you want.

  5. #5
    Who? What? Kujai's Avatar
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    I believe that the average words per page for a paperback book is 350 words. So, to figure out how many pages your manuscript would be as a paperback book, you would have to divide the word count of your novel by 350.

    Here is an example. Say your manuscript is 89,557 words long. You will divide 89,557 by 350. The number you get from this division, 256, will represent an estimated page count of your novel as a paperback book. Your actual page count will likely be more because novels have unused portions of pages due to chapter breaks.

    In order to estimate how many paperback pages your first chapter (10,000 words) would be, you would then take 10,000 and divide that number by 350. You will then find out that your first chapter would be roughly 29 paperback pages.

    For your optional question, most will tell you that there is no correct length for a first chapter. Your first chapter will be as long as it needs to be. It could be one word, thirty, fifteen hundred, or twenty-six thousand. What really matters is whether or not your first chapter is gripping, catches the readers eye and is well written. My advice is to ask yourself these following question. Does the first chapter tell a basic story? Does it have a beginning, middle, and end? Is there conflict? Is this conflict resolved or is there more to show? Does the first chapter tempt further reading of the novel?
    Last edited by Kujai; 08-18-2009 at 07:11 AM.

  6. #6
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    Book pages vary by publisher and imprint, depending on the size of both font and margins. Smaller font and narrow margins will mean fewer printed pages, than larger font and wide margins. There's no way to make a good correlation. Just concentrate on word count.
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  7. #7
    The grimflits are out to get me Matera the Mad's Avatar
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    Word is designed to format letters on 8-1/2 x 11 inch sheets, not books. All page count voodoo in Word is just voodoo. Count words. Only words count. Let the publisher worry about pages.
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  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Thank you all for your insights; focus on the words. This is a good idea.

  9. #9
    Five by Five SuperModerator katiemac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HelloThere View Post
    Thank you all for your insights; focus on the words. This is a good idea.
    If you need perspective, try Googling for word counts of some well-known books. Here are (estimates of) all the Potters, because it's an easy Google:

    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - 76,944 words
    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - 85,141 words
    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - 107,253 words
    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - 190,637 words
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - 257,045 words
    Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - 168,923 words
    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - 198,227 words

  10. #10
    Mental toss flycoon JimmyB27's Avatar
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    The main question has been answered pretty thoroughly - word count, not page count.
    For the optional opinion question, I've seen a one word chapter (Iain Banks, Dead Air - the chapter simply said "Shit."), and books with just one big chapter (Pratchett does this). So, yeah, as long as it needs to be.
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  11. #11
    To-to-to-ron-to Darzian's Avatar
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    You can get the word count of books from Amazon. Scroll down the page of the book until you get to 'Text Stats.' Now, not all books have this option available but some do. I use it to check the word count of the novels I read.

  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW Renée A. Price's Avatar
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    I feel better now that I understand how it works. I was kind of worried my WIP was too long...

  13. #13
    That hairy-handed gent
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    You can also get the number of words on a given page by counting the number of words on a given page. This high-level technology works both for printed books and manuscript pages prepared in MS-Word.

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    Retired Illuminatus dangerousbill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HelloThere View Post
    Is there a standard conversation rate for Microsoft Word pages to actual book pages? Say I have 50 M-Word pages (in the standard 12 New Courier double spaced format) - how many pages will this be as an actual printed book? Or,
    how many pages will 10,000 words likely be as a published book?

    Optional opinion question:
    is 10,000 words too long for a 1st chapter?
    That will depend on the font, the point size, paragraph formatting, the page size, the margins, the amount of whitespace, and a few other things.

    I had a manuscript of 140 single spaced 8.5 x 11 pages in Times New Roman, 11 pt, that became a 326 page book in Bookman, 11 point, 5" x 8" print area on a 6x9 page, blank lines between paragraphs. About ten pages were front and back matter.

    10,000 words is a long chapter, but there are no rules. This is usually up to the author's discretion, although a publisher may decide differently.
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  15. #15
    Benefactor Member WeaselFire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HelloThere View Post
    how many pages will 10,000 words likely be as a published book?
    Standard trade, hardcover, paperback, large print, coffee table, ebook, ebook on a phone, ebook on a 60" plasma display...?

    Yep, just like me asking you how long a piece of string is...

    Jeff

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