1. Gagoots
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    Gagoots Member

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    Word Count

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Gagoots, Feb 5, 2007.

    So I just finished my first piece of creative writing. It's a short story I wrote in a few weeks while taking a break from a novel I am working on.
    I feel pretty good about it, and have my eye on a couple of magazines i'd like to submit it to. One has a limit of 7,000 words, and the other's cut off is 8,000 words.
    Going by the microsoft Word word count I'm at 8,200.
    Going by various forumulas I'm anywhere from 7,500 to 7,850. I am double spacing and have 30 pages. I've already done an initaial fat-cutting pass.
    Can I submit to these two magazines? Is there an amount that you can be over by and no one cares, or is this always a strict line in the sand?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Gagoots,

    Many ezines and magazines simply take the wordprocessor's word count, instead of using forumulas based on font types/# of lines/total page/6 characters = 1 word, etc.

    In my experience, "word count" goes up with respect to number when most forumulas are used.

    I cannot speak to "if anyone cares" if the word count limit is surpassed, as each magazine/editor would look at it differently, I suspect.

    My gut feeling that 8200 words would be much more acceptable (being only 2.5% over the stated limit) with the magazine that states an 8,000 word limit as opposed to the 7000 word limit magazine (being 17.1% over the stated limit).

    It is very common to read that editors frown, and sometimes don't even bother to read submissions that do not fit into their guidelines (more often genre, formatting, content etc. than word count complaints, however).

    If you have not already, consider getting ahold of an issue or two of the magazines in question, and do a rough word count of stories published. That might give a little insight as to how firm they stick to their limits.

    Maybe see if it's possible to reduce the story length to 8,049 words (preferably even less). By standard considered industry conventions, it would be rounded down to a listed 8,000 word count. That may help aleviate any concerns from both ends (yours and the magazine's). In general the magazines have established limits for marketing, publishing, editorial reasons.

    In any case, stories which reach or surpass the upper limits generally have to be superior to (as opposed to equal in quality) those stories submitted that are a bit shorter.

    Just a few thoughts on the topic. Hope they help.

    Terry
     
  3. Robert
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    Robert Banned

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    I would suggest you either contact the magazines and ask, or trim your story to fit within the guidelines.

    Cheers,
    Rob
     
  4. Gagoots
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    Gagoots Member

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    Thanks guys...trying to trim the fat.
    Problem is...ever eat a steak with no fat?
     
  5. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Gagoots,
    If, in the end there is not fat to trim, then seek another market, especially if you feel it will run the taste of the story. Thus, in response to your question: Ever try to fit a size 8 foot into a size 7 shoe? Maybe it'll work but probably be very uncomfortable. Better to find a size 8 shoe.

    Good luck in placing your story.

    Terry
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i heartily ditto terry and rob...

    best of luck... hugs, maia
     
  7. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    I know I'm a bit late, but I'd stick with the Word word count, personally.
     

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