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Old 25th April 2008, 05:27 PM   #46 (permalink)
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Re: Novel Word Count

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Originally Posted by Teresa Edgerton View Post
But don't try to inflate the word count with rationalizations about the amount of dialogue and the number of printed pages. When an agent or an editor realizes that you've fudged the word count by something on the order of 13,000 words, he or she is not going to be favorably impressed.
"Inflate the word count?" Who said anything about "inflating" the word count? There are two methods that are both discussed in respectable circles, both of which give a different word count. The one you all are recommending, Word's count, gives one, and the 250 method, which is recommended by books such as Writer's Market, gives another. Last time I checked, that was a respectable publication.

"Rationalizations about the amount of dialogue"? The fact is that if I have more dialogue, there will be more pages than with less. That's a fact.

I don't need to pad my work or give any rationalization. In my opinion, it is a complete story at its current length. My questions were not in regard to any self-doubt about the quality of my novel, but rather the rules of the industry one needs to follow.

If I only said my novel was 106,000 words (which comes from a respected method, if done correctly), I wouldn't be hearing that my novel might be too short. This is my point. I don't think it's too short, but if it has less of a chance to get in the door because of word count rules, then that would kind of stink.

I'm just going to go with Word's count per the opinions on this forum, but I am trying not to be insulted by the insinuation that I'm somehow trying to pull a fast one. Please read my posts more carefully. I used the word "facetious" for a reason.

This one issue aside, I appreciate the advice to use Word's count. It's really nice to have a forum dedicated to SFF. Although this hasn't started out well for me, getting off on the wrong foot with one of the regulars! No offense intended by my remarks, just defending myself.
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Old 25th April 2008, 06:50 PM   #47 (permalink)
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Re: Novel Word Count

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I think I'll just go with Word's count because apparently here in the US, 94,000 words should be fine. But, from what I've read on this forum, if I were trying to get it published in the UK, I'd go with the 106,000. Obviously, I'm being (only slightly) facetious, since, again, a difference of "13,000" words is significant.
Sorry, to me that "only slightly" sounds like you were thinking about it. Especially in light of what you had said before.

But I wasn't trying to be insulting; it was a friendly warning. You might be surprised by how many new writers think they have to work all sorts of angles in order to get published; and you will find plenty of people who will tell you that's the only way. But anything of that sort is the quick way to disappointment. I see so many aspiring writers heading down that road, and it's heartbreaking, really.

As for Writers Market ... it's been a long time since I've considered them a good source of information for SF/Fantasy genre writers.
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Old 25th April 2008, 07:10 PM   #48 (permalink)
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Re: Novel Word Count

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Originally Posted by neilwilliamson View Post
Imagine you're an editor and you look at X manuscripts per week every week of your working life. You're going to become pretty adept at converting an accurate Word wordcount into a number of pages the published book would be, once you've taken into account the book format, the house style, etc. A quick riffle through the pages to gauge the amount of dialogue - if it's pretty talky, add say ten percent. You won't even have to do the arithmetic, experience will tell you.
Which is why the Word word count (or the word count of any other word processing program) is there to give them a rough of idea going in of how long the story is, rather than how many pages it is going to fill. They can figure the latter themselves as they read.

Although the page count of the printed book can -- and sometimes is -- manipulated in various ways, as I am sure you know.
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Old 25th April 2008, 07:24 PM   #49 (permalink)
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Re: Novel Word Count

Thanks, Teresa. I hear what you're saying. But I am not one of those people (not that you could have known that). I just wanted to make sure that I am not misinterpreted. I am not desperate to publish. I just don't want the novel to not be given a chance on what I see as an arbitrary technicality.

In fact, the whole process of "getting published" is the part I look forward to least! But, I do think the novel is good and that people would like it. We'll see if any agents and editors feel the same. If not, that's the way it goes. I was a professional musician for most of my life, and if there's one thing I know about "creative industries," it's that quality can have little to do with what gets put out, whether it be books, movies, or music. (Note, I said "can have.") It's always great to see any creative industry putting out quality, which certainly does happen. I think I have a novel that should have the opportunity to be read, and I hope that I find an agent/editor who agrees. Again, if not, it's not the end of the world. Heck, maybe I'll start my own publishing company!
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Old 25th April 2008, 08:09 PM   #50 (permalink)
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Re: Novel Word Count

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As long as it's clearly legible the font doesn't matter. And underline or use italic font as you wish, it makes no difference whatsover to a publisher.
Not to differ for the sake of differing, but I'd say that's not entirely true.

In the day of electronic submissions and desktop publishing, it may not matter as much to a publisher, but I've seen enough people in the publishing industry to whom it matters enough to that I'm convinced a mono-spaced font is (albeit an old one) the standard. Fonts like TNR and Arial vary the number of characters per line. To some of the people (like copy editor Deanna Hoak, and some agents I've read) who work with hard copy, it matters. They claim less eye strain and better page count estimate accuracies with a font like Courier.

As always, follow submission guidelines if spelled out. But as simple as it is to save a submission in a standardized mono-spaced font, why risk running into the one acquiring editor who's pet-peeve is Arial 10 point (because you wanted to save paper)? Just because it's not important to you doesn't mean it won't be important to someone on the other end.

Or not.
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Old 25th April 2008, 08:17 PM   #51 (permalink)
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Re: Novel Word Count

I know that some places will accept and a few even prefer Times (it's certainly prettier), but I always understood that there were problems with a sans-serif font like Arial because some of the letters look too much alike.
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Old 24th May 2008, 11:11 PM   #52 (permalink)
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Re: Novel Word Count

Sorry to ressurect this thread but i want to ask if using Times New Roman is okay, and of size 10 font. I think it looks clear and formal and gives a professional look to the layout of the submission.

Also, i am aiming for around 110,000 for my current novel, though one cannot truly predict how long it is going to be cos books generally write themselves, but i am hoping it will be enough. It is fantasy.
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Old 25th May 2008, 12:04 AM   #53 (permalink)
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Re: Novel Word Count

It's not likely to look professional to an editor or agent, however, since the standard format calls for a 12 point type. Unless the agent or publisher to whom you plan to submit specifically asks for a 10 point type, you're risking a quick rejection.
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Old 25th May 2008, 12:37 AM   #54 (permalink)
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Re: Novel Word Count

Really? I used to use size 12 but was told off for using it. Size 10 was always the one to go with.
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Old 25th May 2008, 01:14 AM   #55 (permalink)
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Re: Novel Word Count

I don't know who it was that told you not to use 12 point, because it's been the industry standard for decades. You'll find the occasional editor who doesn't mind 10 point -- and even more rarely (usually for electronic submissions) one who prefers it -- but in the vast majority of cases 12 point is what they want, so it's by far the safest way to go where an agent or an editor hasn't expressed a preference.
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Old 25th May 2008, 05:16 AM   #56 (permalink)
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Re: Novel Word Count

I'm going to agree with Teresa on this one. For reference you can refer to this article by John Gregory Betancourt on the SFWA website,

Manuscript Format by John Gregory Betancourt

or any of the other multitude of article on the same subject you can find there.

**Come to think of it, I can't think of a time in recent history when I haven't agreed with what Teresa has to say.

Last edited by Meadowhawk; 25th May 2008 at 05:18 AM. Reason: lightbulb moment
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Old 25th May 2008, 09:08 PM   #57 (permalink)
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Re: Novel Word Count

Thanks for posting the link for John G Betancourt's article, Meadowhawk. I've read it and have only one question to add...

I've seen that Times New Roman is also acceptable even though it's not a fixed-width font. Fixed-width fonts is what typewriters used to use before word processors and computers.

Unless it is specifically requested as Courier, could an individual send their manuscript in Times New Roman or just keep it to Courier?

Thanks
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Old 26th May 2008, 10:04 AM   #58 (permalink)
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Re: Novel Word Count

I would say, either, or, if not stated. The important thing is to keep to the publishers/agents submission guide lines. Some give very detailed ones, others are rather vague, some not at all, so you fall back on the basics, detailed in the link Meadowhawk gave.

Just be professional in your approach, you are in a way applying for a job/selling a product, and your submission is your CV/product list. Also remember a rejection is not personal, it is just business (Even if it makes you tear out your hair in chunks )

To be honest the word count/formatting is the last thing I deal with. Getting the story written and edited to within an inch of its life is my first and main goal. The submitting of a manuscript is a long process, you can be sending off queries and requested sample chapters for a couple of years for just one novel. (I kid you not)
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Old 26th May 2008, 10:07 PM   #59 (permalink)
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Re: Novel Word Count

I did all my submissions in TNR and no-one every commented
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Old 26th May 2008, 10:50 PM   #60 (permalink)
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Re: Novel Word Count

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I would say, either, or, if not stated. The important thing is to keep to the publishers/agents submission guide lines. Some give very detailed ones, others are rather vague, some not at all, so you fall back on the basics, detailed in the link Meadowhawk gave.
Yes, I've noticed a huge diversity in how agents and, especially publishers, may wish to be submitted to. Makes it interesting (to say the least) when I have to reformat the MS or select chapters to fit different guidelines, since there is no concrete industry standard on MS formats.

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Just be professional in your approach, you are in a way applying for a job/selling a product, and your submission is your CV/product list. Also remember a rejection is not personal, it is just business (Even if it makes you tear out your hair in chunks )
Yep...that's what I've been doing and have been doing for some time. I don't take rejections personally at all, tho I am starting to consider breaking my novel into two novels due to the length. Maybe then I'll find more favourable responses since length seems to be a major issue.

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To be honest the word count/formatting is the last thing I deal with. Getting the story written and edited to within an inch of its life is my first and main goal. The submitting of a manuscript is a long process, you can be sending off queries and requested sample chapters for a couple of years for just one novel. (I kid you not)
It's the last thing I'm dealing with as well since the copy editing will be done tonight. I'm also not concerned about the length of time it'll take to publish. I know it will happen. Whether or not it'll be published through a traditional publisher or self publishing...that is what time and persistence will determine.

Thanks so much for your input.

Karen Dales
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