Word count for non-writers

Writers talk about manuscript length in word count because it is a common unit across all formats. I never really had an answer for how long my book is when a non writer asked.

Then I go on about how it changes according to format. MS word? paperback? hardcover? What is the typesetting or font? all of that ends up with a different page count.

a screen shot from WEREWOOF in Scrivener app (MacOs)

My current WIP, WEREWOOF, an adult contemporary paranormal romance, is currently 40K words long in its first draft. If i change my View settings to letter size (Times New Roman, 12 point font double spaced), it comes out to 173 pages.

a screen shot from SOULCHASER in Scrivener app (MacOs)

My main project that is almost done with edits. SOULCHASER is 88K words and 321 pages (formatted the same way). SOULCHASER is second world fantasy with romantic elements. but because of the worldbuilding, it has a lot of description mixed in with the dialogue.

Why does dialogue matter? Basic grammar rules create more line breaks in dialogue heavy stories. WEREWOOF is (as of 1/5/2021) about as long as Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (36,363 words). Soulchaser is about the same length as Persuasion by Jane Austen (87,978 words).

Word count comparisons to use in conversation with non-writers

an infographic of word count, books and authors
text to the right
an infographic of word count, books and authors
text to the right

22,416 – The Mouse and the Motorcycle – Beverly Cleary
30,644 – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
46,118 – Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
49,459 – Slaughterhouse-Five – Kurt Vonnegut
50,000 – NaNoWriMo Winners
59,900 – Lord of the Flies – William Golding
72,071 – White Fang – Jack London
82,762 – Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank
92,400 – Song of Solomon – Toni Morrison
95,022 – The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien
105,143– Divergent– Veronica Roth
120,697 – Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
137, 113 – Return of the King – JRR Tolkien
155,887 – Emma – Jane Austen
183,222 – American Gods – Neil Gaiman
225,395 – East of Eden – John Steinbeck
300,000 – A Feast for Crows – GRR Martin

So how long is your manuscript right now? Use your own comparisons if you know some!

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