Publishers try to get as close to 250 words to a published page (book page, not MS page) because that makes it very easy to convert word counts into page counts. I’ve found, however, if you use the rough estimate of 250 words per page, you come very close just by looking at a manuscript as to how many words are contained within. For example, a 320-page MS is about 80,000 words and this seems pretty consistent. Of course, itty bitty quirky things like narrative-rich versus dialogue-rich manuscripts throw this off, but on an average, in manuscripts in which narrative and dialogue are fairly balanced (as should be the case) then the 320 page equals 80,000 words formula works fairly well. However, nothing beats using a word processor word counting tool. Although this method is not entirely accurate, it’s closer than nothing at all.

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