Wednesday, December 18, 2013

How Many Pages Is My Book? Word Count vs. Page Count

Greetings all, this is John J. Horn.

When I first began writing I spent I lot of time trying to figure out how many book pages the words I was writing would fill. I wanted to know the ratio between “computer pages” and book pages. It turns out that there isn’t one.

This is a pretty basic post, but I hope it will clear up some confusion for anyone who spent time like I did searching for “how many pages will my book be.”

Word count is the statistic you need for determining your book length.

Even with word count I can’t tell you how many pages your book will be, because that depends on a dozen factors. It depends on your publisher’s margins, font, font size, spacing, indenting rules, how they handle widows and orphans (yep, those are typography terms), and more.

But if you know your word count, you've got what you need.

You’ll need to include your word count when you send a proposal to a publisher. It’s also helpful to know so that you can compare your novels with others in the same genre. Want to know industry standards? Opinions vary, but here are links to two good sources which can give you a rough idea of genre word counts: word counts and novel length and word count genre guidelines.

How to find word count?

You could warm up your fingers and toes and start ticking your words off one by one. But if this works well for you, you should probably spend less time worrying about your word count and more time writing words.

Thankfully, modern technology does the work for us and lets us access the results very quickly.

How to Find Word Count in Microsoft Word

Versions differ, but in my version Microsoft has a handy word counter at the bottom left. It will continuously update as you type. If you click on it, a dialog box will appear that will also show your word count in addition to page count and other info.

Word Count in Microsoft Word

If you want to know a partial word count (for example, how much you’ve written today), highlight the text you want counted with your cursor. The word counter will tell you how many words are in the selected section.

How to Find Word Count in OpenOffice

In the top bar select Tools > Word Count.

Word Count in OpenOffice


A dialog box will appear showing you the number of words in your document.

Word Count in Open Office


If you want to know a partial word count (for example, how much you’ve written today), highlight the text you want counted with your cursor and then open the dialog box. It will tell you how many words are in the selected section.

How to Find Word Count in Apple Pages

I don't have a Mac, so I can't give you screenshots, but here is a link to a post explaining how to find word count in Apple Pages.

I hope that's helpful!

John J. Horn is a Christian writer from San Antonio, Texas. You can learn more about him and his Men of Grit Christian Fiction series at johnjhornbooks.com.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you, Mr. Horn. I type on Microsoft Word and I really like how it tells me my word count and how many pages I have, but I didn't know about the extra details!

    God bless!

    His Princess,
    Bekah

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good instruction for new writers! It's valuable to know, because many newbies don't know that agent, consultants, and publishers look a your book from the word count, not necessarily the page count.

    ReplyDelete

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