I don’t know why I still obsess over this. Anyone I’ve ever talked to has said not to go crazy over word count. It’s just an approximation for the editor and/or agent to go by.
When I first started out some years ago, I remember looking at one of the tabs on my Office Works document. Word count, hurray!
But wait. Editors and agents don’t want you to use THAT word count. They want you to use the old formula: # of pages x 250 = word count. Okay, fine, but that formula only works if you use Courier 12. A lot of editors and agents accept Courier or Times New Roman (in fact, according to The Rejecter www.rejecter.blogspot.com TNR is now preferred). Have you ever seen the difference in them? Here’s an example using my Office Word (I’ve moved up in the world) word count:
TNR 48 pages = 14,000 words
Courier 71 pages = 14,000 words
That’s a difference of more than 20 pages! And, now I’ve read that some don’t want you to use the old formula anymore, they want computer generated word counts(CGWC). Okay, now I’m going crazy (more so than usual)
True, some ePublishers want CGWC, but in my research, most publishers are still using the old 250 x # of pages = word count, system. With such a difference in outcome, how can we, as writers, decide what to use?
I have no idea, but for me, I’m sticking with the old ways until I’m told otherwise; Dark Courier 12, 1 inch margins (unless, of course, I’m entering a contest and I want to have as much of my work critiqued as possible, but that’s another post ) .