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Old 23rd February 2007, 11:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Word count per page standard?

What's a usual word count per page in a published book? From my experience with LaTeX, I know that a certain amount of characters per line is most pleasing to the eye and is hence used very consistently in publishing.

Is there also something like a standard word count per page? Line count per page? Font size with respect to page size?
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Old 23rd February 2007, 11:42 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Word count per page standard?

Do you mean as in standard submission guidelines, or typical for published books, etc.?
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Old 23rd February 2007, 11:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Word count per page standard?

I had published books in mind, but actually both would be interesting.
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Old 23rd February 2007, 12:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Word count per page standard?

Standard for submission guidelines is generally 10 words per line, 25 lines per page. For published books... there are too many factors: typeface used ,size of book (A-format, B-format, trade, etc.), header, footer, leading...
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Old 23rd February 2007, 12:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Word count per page standard?

Thanks Ian!

Quote:
Originally Posted by iansales View Post
Standard for submission guidelines is generally 10 words per line, 25 lines per page.
The 10 words per line are taken on average, I trust? Like, the average english word has 5-6 characters, plus one space or punctuation, leading to 60-70 characters per line?
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Old 23rd February 2007, 01:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Word count per page standard?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Hetberg View Post
The 10 words per line are taken on average, I trust? Like, the average english word has 5-6 characters, plus one space or punctuation, leading to 60-70 characters per line?
That's pretty much it. If you google, you'll find a variety of techniques for calculating the word count of a manuscript. Exact word counts, as generated by word-processing programs, are frowned on.
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Old 23rd February 2007, 02:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Word count per page standard?

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Originally Posted by iansales View Post
That's pretty much it. If you google, you'll find a variety of techniques for calculating the word count of a manuscript. Exact word counts, as generated by word-processing programs, are frowned on.
How is that so? Are they not accurate?
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Old 23rd February 2007, 03:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Word count per page standard?

No, they're accurate. But the word count is used for page layouts, and the standard formula is more useful.
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Old 23rd February 2007, 03:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Word count per page standard?

I don't get that last point. The word count is obviously important to determine the number of pages needed etc., wouldn't I want it to be as precise as possible, as provided by a word processor?
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Old 23rd February 2007, 03:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Word count per page standard?

For submissions - Around 10-12 words per line and 24 lines per page based on the preferred double-spaced 12 point font that agents and publishers prefer.

The precise wordcount isn't important just a close estimate. The exact wordcount on Word isn't really frowned upon, they just are content with the formula estimate.
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Old 23rd February 2007, 04:28 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Word count per page standard?

As I understood it, the formula estimate gave a better indication for layout purposes, whereas the exact word count could be misleading because "words" could be any number of letters long -- ie. not just standardised six-letter strings.
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Old 23rd February 2007, 05:33 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Word count per page standard?

Ian, I think you are right. Editors have told me that someone in the production department always has to do a word count according to a special formula for the layout.

So while I don't think anyone actually frowns on an exact word count at the top of the first page, it's basically irrelevant. Until the book goes into production, an approximation is all they need, and whatever you tell them, they'll round it off anyway.
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Old 23rd February 2007, 06:26 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Word count per page standard?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Hetberg View Post
What's a usual word count per page in a published book? From my experience with LaTeX, I know that a certain amount of characters per line is most pleasing to the eye and is hence used very consistently in publishing.
Daniel, one other point: because of the cost of printing, some publishers will simply cram as many words as possible on the page in tiny fonts, to keep the book's page-count down and save money. I've seen epic fantasy mass-market paperbacks that almost needed a magnifying glass to read them, after they've been re-set from perfectly readable hardbacks or trade paperbacks...
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Old 23rd February 2007, 10:38 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Word count per page standard?

At Ace, they used to be known for cramming as many words into as small a space as possible. Some of my early books were published at 42 lines to the page -- and this for books that were only a little over 100,000 words.
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Old 24th February 2007, 08:24 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Word count per page standard?

Still happens with some companies, Teresa, as I'm sure you know!
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