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  1. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    Length: Word Document vs Actual Books

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Hubardo, May 17, 2014.

    So I have roughly 20,000 words written and it's taking up about 20 pages. I'm a weirdo: I like seeing it as 8pt Verdana. I'm wondering how many pages this would actually fill up in a book. And I'm wondering how many words a book usually is... meaning, oh, I don't know, a 200 page book?
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    The number of pages in an actual book depends on font size, typesetting, etc. That's why everyone goes by word count in the publishing world; it's far more accurate. Depending on genre and market, a typical first novel by an unknown writer is 80-100k words, so you still have some work to do.
     
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  3. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you're talking novels, my understanding is that the industry standard for new writers is 80-100k words. Maybe more for fantasy, maybe less for romance and YA. As far as page count, that entirely depends on the publisher and how they format the book. They could make the print smaller to save space, they could have new chapters start immediately at the end of the previous one without a page break, they could make the print larger, they could put extra spaces between scene breaks, they could start the chapter at the top of the page or halfway down, and on and on. I've seen published books that run the gamut of layout options. So I wouldn't worry about page count and just make sure that the 80-100k words you have are the best they can be. Let the publisher sweat over the page number.

    For the record, my novels (still in revision) are all within the 87-91k range and, using standard manuscript format (or close to it) they're all about 385-395 pages in Word. Not that that matters. :p

    EDIT: And @thirdwind beat me to the punch by being much more concise.
     
  4. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ah okay, 80k-100k. So I'm about a 5th of the way there. Too bad I hate the entire thing and want to print it all out just to burn it while crying myself to sleep. /joke
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Books are usually measured by word count, since as it was noted, font size and spacing as well as page sizes are fungible.

    I can't believe you prefer 8 pt type. I'd need a magnifying glass to read it.

    A scan of Google sources finds 250-300 words on an average paperback book page. The math is easy from there.

    Most agree 80-100K words is accepted novel length. More than that and you may find publishers passing you by unless you are already an established writer. But I'm of the opinion the story should dictate the length of the novel and you can deal with the result once you finish. If it's too short, there are outlets for novellas, too long you may need to divide it into volumes.

    I think what works for the story is more important than trying to fit your story into a mold.
     
  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Everyone has his own preferences on things like font size and style, but if your goal is to be published, you will have to change it to one that will be accepted by agents and editors. The industry standard is a 12 pt serif font like Courier New, double spaced. So, I set my documents that way as a default.
     

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