There’s news out that Harlequin is adjusting the word counts of some of their lines. According to the message I received, the reason they’re making the adjustment is because readers have been complaining about how hard it is to read Harlequin’s books without having to break the spines of the books to see all the text, and that some of the books have print that is just too small to read comfortably.
So, to increase the readability of their books, Harlequin is going to be changing the word counts on many of their lines.
Also reported is the news that Harlequin will begin using computer word counts to increase the accuracy and consistency of word counts in their books.
This is a significant piece of news, because the traditional methods of counting words per page (as mentioned in this forum post and in this article) give a word count that is typically higher per page than what computer word count gives. What does this really mean? It means that you might have a manuscript that is 70,000 words using the traditional word count methods but that is only 59,000 words using the word count feature of your computer.
How, you ask? Because the old method says you have a manuscript that is 280 pages long and you assume that each page (if formatted correctly) has about 250 words on it, so you have a 70,000 word manuscript.
Formatted correctly, however, many manuscripts that are heavy on dialogue and whitespace actually have less than 250 words per page. In fact, my manuscripts average 210 to 220 words per page. So my 280 page manuscript might only have 59,000 words in it. This difference in word count is fairly significant.
Here’s what I have for them now. You’ll want to double check these numbers before you make any significant changes. (I haven’t verified the source of these numbers! I’ll be sure to mention it in my blog if I hear anything further.)
|Line||Word Count||Book Pages||Manuscript Pages @ 250 Words Per Page|