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Q: Generally accepted number of words per page ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Generally accepted number of words per page
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Books and Literature
Asked by: dpniner0-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 22 Dec 2005 12:27 PST
Expires: 21 Jan 2006 12:27 PST
Question ID: 608972
What is the generally accepted number of words per page for a
published novel?  I'm presently working on a novel and want to make
certain my word count falls in line with what other authors produce.
Subject: Re: Generally accepted number of words per page
Answered By: pinkfreud-ga on 22 Dec 2005 13:06 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
250 words per page is generally considered to be standard. This
standard was set in earlier times, when most manuscripts were prepared
on typewriters with fixed pitch (monospace) fonts. Even though times
have changed, and many more fonts and text options are now available
to the writer, the old guideline of 250 words per page is still the

"Publishers' word count requirements were set up back in the days of
typewriters when Courier was the only option. Therefore, word counts
are still based on the standards of 25+ years ago. Most publishers
these days will accept manuscripts in any clear, easily readable font,
but there is a lingering belief among certain authors that only
Courier is acceptable for manuscripts...

Many category editors find it easier to judge the length of a book in
the way they've always done: knowing exactly how many book pages a
manuscript of, say, 200 pages in Courier at 250 words per page is
going to translate into when it becomes a finished product.

In actuality, however, most editors now accept Times New Roman since
it is the 'default' font on most personal computers. (Also, it saves a
tree due to using less paper.) I've also heard from various authors,
via e-mail loops, that they use other fonts. The 'must' is that the
font be easy for an editor to read... IMPORTANT: Whatever font you
decide to use, you will need to experiment to find out how many pages
your manuscript would have been if written in Courier, as this is the
only way you will be able to accurately compare your word count to the

WHITE SPACE. Manuscripts are counted by page rather than computer word
count because authors write with varying amounts of 'white space'...
It's possible a page with a good deal of narrative might contain 300+
words, while a page with lots of short dialogue might be not more than
200. Therefore, the editor has to think in terms of number of pages,
not the number of words."

Blair Bancroft: Word Count

"Word count: based on 25 lines per page in Courier New 12 pt. averages
approximately 250 words per page. 20 pages, an average chapter,
=25,000; 200 pages=50,000; 400 pages=100,000; 600 pages=150,000;
800=200,000 words. Most books are between 50 and 100,000 words long.
Publishers estimate by pages, including the white space. A computer
count of 50,000 words may be 65,000 in publishers' terms. If you use a
computer word count note it on the front of the ms."

Daphne Clair/Laurey Bright: Approaching a publisher

"Page Counts 
In most cases, industry standard preferred length is 250 words per
page... so a 400 page novel would be at about 100,000 words. If you
want to see what size book is selling in your genre, take a look on
the shelves. If the average length is 300 pages, you're looking at a
75,000 word manuscript (approximately)."

Fiction Factor: How Long Should Your Story Be?

"The following table is a guide to manuscript word count, based on
pages, which is the standard used by editors:

Page count  -  Word count 

1 page         250 words 
100 pages   25,000 words 
200 pages   50,000 words 
300 pages   75,000 words 
400 pages  100,000 words 
500 pages  125,000 words"

Harris, Harris & Donahue, Ltd.: Manuscript Form

My Google search strategy:

Google Web Search: "industry standard" "words per page"

Google Web Search: "standard manuscript format" novel "word count"

Google Web Search: novel "word count" "250 words per page"

I hope this is helpful. If anything I've said is unclear or
incomplete, please request clarification; I'll be glad to offer
further assistance before you rate my answer.

Good luck with your novel! 

Best regards,

Clarification of Answer by pinkfreud-ga on 22 Dec 2005 13:37 PST
It should be noted that, in a novel's finished, published form, the
actual number of words per page may be quote a bit higher or lower
than 250. The writer's style has a great deal to do with this. Short,
choppy segments of dialogue can result in lots of white space and
fewer words per page; long paragraphs of descriptive material can
result in a higher density of words. The 250 is just a general
guideline: as they say in the automotive industry, your mileage may

Clarification of Answer by pinkfreud-ga on 22 Dec 2005 13:55 PST
Oops. Please forgive my typographical error. For "quote a bit higher,"
please read "quite a bit higher." Sometimes the fingers can type more
rapidly than the brain can proofread. ;-)

dpniner0-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Excellent, concise answer.

Subject: Re: Generally accepted number of words per page
From: pinkfreud-ga on 22 Dec 2005 16:23 PST
Thank you very much for the five stars and the nice tip!


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