Saturday, December 12, 2015


When preparing a manuscript for a periodical, they will want you to indicate in the upper, right-hand corner the number of words in the manuscript. If it is a book manuscript the word count can be indicated on the title page, as well as within a proposal. Computers will give you an accurate word count. When giving the word count for a periodical, you can round it off to the nearest 25 for an article more than 800 words long. If shorter than that, give the exact word count. Periodicals prefer the exact word count for short pieces they are likely to use as fillers, since they will select a filler knowing that a certain number of words will fill so many inches of space. When listing the word count for a book, round it off to the nearest 100.

Every periodical will tell you in their guidelines the word count they prefer. Typically it is given in a range, such as 800-1,500 words. When determining the appropriate length for the piece you are offering. If it is a feature article or an article of prime importance to the readers, then offer it at the longer length. If it's more of a supplementary piece, offer it at the shorter length. Book publishers will also indicate length preferences, usually longer for fiction than for nonfiction. Again, check their guidelines.

Some writers set a goal for a certain word count per day to keep them moving ahead on their current project. A daily goal of any number of words will help you meet your ultimate word count goal for the project. Here are some tips to help you stick to the appropriate word count:

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