Re: RARA-AVIS: 65.000 words

From: hardcasecrime (
Date: 23 Nov 2009

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    While it's true that you're conventionally told to assume 250 words per double-spaced manuscript page (which would make a 300-page manuscript 75,000 words), it is not true that publishers just count pages. They're as digital as anyone else these days and do pay attention to what it says at the bottom of the Microsoft Word window (and if they receive a pdf, they choose the "save a copy as text" option and then open it in Word to get the word count). And I'm sorry to say that submitting a novel of 52,000 words IS likely to be an obstacle for many (most?) publishers, the vast majority of whom seem to be looking for 80,000+.

    Not Hard Case Crime, of course; we're perfectly happy publishing 52,000-word books. Ed McBain's THE GUTTER AND THE GRAVE was only 45,000, I think, and Max Allan Collins' QUARRY novels are all in that neighborhood as well. And someone brought up Cain -- I think POSTMAN only runs about 30,000 words, more a novella than a novel.

    But we're unusual. Many contemporary publishers simply won't consider a 52,000-word manuscript, even though as a reader I very much wish they would.


    --- In, BaxDeal@... wrote:
    > I'm going by what Microsoft Word tells me on the bottom of the
    document, rather than page count. I'm around 200 pages, double spaced right now and know I'm about 2/3 done with the story. I've been pacing it to hit 300. Dave Zeltzerman tells me they go by page count and estimate 25,000 words per 100 pages. I'll submit in PDF, so I'm thinking now that it's a non-issue
    > John Lau
    > 52,000 is short by contemporary standards - it's the length of a short
    > Gold Medal or a long Ken Bruen - about 150 conventional pages - these
    > days I suppose a short length says 'cult' rather than 'mainstream' -
    > whether it's an issue or not depends rather on what you're writing, if
    > that helps at all.
    > BaxDeal@... wrote:
    > >
    > >
    > > so I'm 2/3 thru my first novel, was speaking with Debby Atkinson,
    > > who's published by Poison Pen. I said I was shooting for 300 pages,
    > > she said it's not page count, but the amount of words. I look at my
    > > material and I think I'd probably come in around 52,000
    > >
    > > is this an issue?
    > >
    > > John Lau

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