The boundaries of word count to published story or book fluctuate. Every writer can cite examples that violate the following word ranges. However, below are the word counts a writing group member recently came up with, derived from the number of times the question about story and book lengths was asked by writers, from various articles and conferences, discussions with agents, agent blogs, and those self-help books that all writer's love.
Flash Fiction, 1 - 500 words
Short Shorts, 501 - 2,000 words
Short Story, 2001 - 20,000 words
Novella, 20,001 - 50,000 words
Novel, 50,000 - 150,000 words (For first-time novelist, best to be 60,000 -90,0000.)
Big novel - over 100,000 words (a significant investment by the publisher)
Epic Novel - 150K+ (Think "Lord of the Rings", "Gone With The Wind", etc.)
Manuscript page count is relatively unimportant, since it is word count that seems to drive the whole process. If you're using courier new font, divide each of the above by 250 to get the number of double-spaced pages you would submit. Actual publication pages will vary depending upon how the book is typeset.
Words to pages = book size
Each publisher usually has a formula for determining the number of words per manuscript page and how that translates into words per printed page for that particular publisher's template(s), but a given formula won't necessarily be accurate in relation to books published by a different publisher.
One set of writer's guidelines I received from a publisher gave the following approximations of how many words = how many pages:
- 30,000 words = 107 typed pages, 104 printed pages
- 40,000 words = 142 typed pages, 139 printed pages
- 50,000 words = 178 typed pages, 174 printed pages
- 60,000 words = 213 typed pages, 208 printed pages
- 70,000 words = 248 typed pages, 243 printed pages
- Book format (the same exact book in hardback and paperback rarely have the same number of pages.)
- Book dimensions (an "oversized" paperback or "softcover" can get more words on a page, given the same font size, than a "pocket book" or standard paperback-font size. Publishers also use a smaller font size as the page count for a popular book increases.
- Text formatting. Bullet lists and tables use fewer words than continuous paragraphs of text. Also, whether there are photos, drawings, etc., inline in the text.
None of the above figures should be taken as hard and fast rules, but rather as rough guides.
Advice FromThe Pros: http://writerinsidertips.blogspot.com/
Chapter 8 - Newsgroups, Forums and Reference Desks: http://tinyurl.com/36guoob
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