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Ask Daphne! How Do I Count?

number_shoesAnother quick answer and more appropriately question-themed shoes for Laini, who writes:

I have a question that is driving me a bit crazy, as it’s kind of a make me or break me issue. Basically, I read a website, by a published author, on how to format your manuscript. She stated, “Calculate the word count the way editors still do, by multi­plying the number of pages in your manuscript by 250. Don’t worry about partial pages, how many lines are on each page, what your word processor’s word count is, yadda yadda. Just multi­ply by 250 and round up to the near­est thousand.”

What I need to know is if that’s true. See, the wordcount my computer is giving me and the wordcount I get from doing it her way are entirely different. Like 20,000 words different. Which could obviously make me or break me as far as whether or not my wordcount is too high. Does it matter which method I go with? If I use her method and then an agent uses the wordcount on the computer are they going to think I “lied” about the wordcount? If you could help me out with this I would really appreciate it! Thanks for your time.

Umm, who is this author, so we can tell her she’s off-base? Or to update her website? That information may have been correct years ago, but now, most editors and agents go by whatever word count your word processor tells you. Roughly.

Does Microsoft Word/Scrivener/your program tell you your middle grade manuscript is 26,435 words? You can tell me it’s 26,000 words — even 25,000. It’s close enough.

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