Manuscript formatting guidelines can be confusing. Some agents suggest using “magic” formulas, but that can cause a misrepresentation of the actual word count.
When everyone used the same font size and style because they typed with actual typewriters, the 250 word per page rule worked fine. However, once word processors came into play, that guideline caused some problems. Here’s an example.
If your novel is written in 12-point Courier and you have 400 pages, with the 250 word per page method, you’d have 100,000 words. However, if you change the size of your font to 10-point, your novel is suddenly only 350 pages long. 350 x 250 = 87,500 words. Strange, considering you haven’t deleted a single word in your novel. Play around with other font styles and your novel will either grow or shrink even more. So, how does this rule actually give an agent any indication how long your work really is? It doesn’t. Which is why it’s now recommended that writers use the word count tool their word processing software supplies.
Come back Wednesday for more manuscript formatting information.
How do you calculate your word count?