View Full Version : Can anyone reply to H/S word-count changes

04-16-2006, 06:52 PM
Does anyone know if the below is still happening? I have seen no change in the guidelines Harlequin/Silhouette has posted on its website.

Alert for those targeting Harlequin/Silhouette
A HUGE change in the word counts for the Harlequin/Silhouette lines, folks. The longer lines are being shortened so that we can give the readers bigger fonts and larger margins. This is definately going to affect your stories and your submissions, so I'm pasting the new word counts here for your information. As always, keep eHarlequin.com in mind for the latest information, too.

Here is the lineup:

(Thousand words) Book pages pages at 250 wpp count

Desire 50-55 192 pp 200-220 manuscript pages

Intimate Moments 60-65 256 pp 240-260 manuscript pages

Special Edition -65 256pp 240-260 manuscript pages

Bombshell 70-75 304 pp 280-300 manuscript pages

Love Inspired 60-65 256 pp 240-260 manuscript pages

Everlasting 70-75 304 pp 280-300 manuscript pages

American Romance 60-65 256 pp 240-260 manuscript pages

Blaze 60-65 256 pp 240-260 manuscript pages

Intrigue 60-65 256 pp 240-260 manuscript pages

Superromance 70-75 304 pp 280-300 manuscript pages

LI Suspense 60-65 256 pp 240-260 manuscript pages

Cathy C
04-16-2006, 07:24 PM
I think Susan Gable addressed the change in another thread, Saka. Here's a link to her update:


04-16-2006, 08:02 PM
OK, that makes sense. I always go by computer word count anyway, so it has no effect on the length of my novels.

04-16-2006, 10:59 PM
Okay - I'm confused. I read the post and the post from Susan, but I need it in plain English--

I am going to count my words with the word processor.

Do I go by the count on the Harlequin website as my total
Or, do I go by the count Susan gave as my total?

Cathy C
04-16-2006, 11:57 PM
Okay, here's the thing, Monet. In the method that H/S USED to use, every word consisted of five spaces. Let's take a small passage:

"I'm going to the store, Bob."

"Me, too."

They got into the car together and decided to stop by the car wash on the way.

Now, using the H/S previous method of counting, here's what that same passage would look like. I'm going to put each passage in a different color so you can see the separation:

"I'mg oingt othes tore, Bob." "Me,t oo."T heyg otint othec artog ether andde cided tosto pbyth ecarw ashon thewa y.

So, this passage winds up being 20 words.

But counting it as the computer does, it's 25 words, because both "to" and "together" are each a word.

Now, multiply that by 25 lines per page and 300 pages. You can see how the H/S method or "white space" count can turn a 71,000 word book into a 85,000 word one, because you're increasing the overall number of PAGES to reach 300, because dialogue takes up the same space as narrative..

Here's the actual definition as we have it over on the FAQ "Formatting your Manuscript" thread. Does it make more sense now?

Word Processor method
Definition: Most word processors have the ability to tell the author how many words have been written. In WordPerfect, you can find this by selecting File > Properties > Information. In Word, it can be found in File > Properties > Statistics.
Use in industry: The word processor word count is slowly becoming the norm in the publishing industry. However, because the word processor counts every single word, from "a" to "publishing" as one word, itís difficult for a publisher to use it to determine page count after printing. For this, a publisher often relies on the 250/page method below. Many agencies/publishers still request that an author provide the word count using the other method.

250 words per page/"White Space" method
Definition: In the origins of publishing, before computers, authors typed their manuscripts on typewriters. There were only two methods available to determine how many words were in a manuscript. Either a person at the publisher would have to manually count every single word on every page, or they would "estimate" the count using the "white space" method. "White space" is that part of a book page with no text Ė usually appearing at the end of a short line of dialogue, or the end of the last sentence of a paragraph. Since the number of dialogue lines depended greatly on the type of book, publishers discovered that if an author used a fixed font, such as Courier, and typed exactly 25 lines of text on a page, the AVERAGE number of words would be 250 per page. By requiring authors to submit the books in this manner, they would know that a 400 page manuscript would be very close to 100,000 words.

Use in industry: There are still a few select publishers that request that manuscripts be formatted for 250 words per page. However, many still use this method of counting because it is a very accurate method to determine how many PRINTED pages will be in the book. Itís a good idea for beginning authors to know the size of their manuscript by both methods until the whole industry changes to the word processor method of word count.

04-17-2006, 03:24 AM
Here is the lineup:

(Thousand words) Book pages pages at 250 wpp count

Desire 50-55 192 pp 200-220 manuscript pages

Intimate Moments 60-65 256 pp 240-260 manuscript pages

Thanks Cathy -- I understand how to do the count without using the word processor.

What I don't understand is:
For the new lower word count for Desire 50,000- 52,000 (per above) is this the word count using the word processor or the white count

That's where my confusion is.

Thanks for the patience...

Cathy C
04-17-2006, 03:48 AM
Any of them listed in the original post of this thread are using the NEW count, so that would be computer count, as I understand it. :)