Word count when an agent/publisher requests the first X pages of a manuscript


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Thread: Word count when an agent/publisher requests the first X pages of a manuscript

  1. #1

    Word count when an agent/publisher requests the first X pages of a manuscript

    I've had a finished manuscript for some time now, and finally decided there's no harm in just pushing it out there and seeing what happens. Of course, many agents say to include a number of pages with the submission. Is there a particular formatting I should shoot for, or an assumed word count per page? I think I remember 250 words per page being the standard for a printed book, but mine count is closer to 400. Should I adjust my submission page quantity accordingly?
    "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin

    "I do not over-intellectualize the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story." - Tom Clancy

  2. #2
    I just give word count. A 4x6 book will have a different page count than a 6x9.
    Page counts are too confusing.

    Not only that, but Kindle has a whole other definition of a page.

  3. #3
    If you're describing the length of your book, sure, but my question was what should be sent when an agent requests "the first 50 pages" of your story. Are they looking for 12,500 words, or is 20,000 acceptable?
    "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin

    "I do not over-intellectualize the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story." - Tom Clancy

  4. #4
    I think the general standard is 1" margins, every other line, 12 pt font. And then send them the actual first 50 pages, not the word count you approximate to be 50 pages.

  5. #5
    With a request for 10 or 50 pages, I will go and cherry pick the first pages, and cut off as soon as it slows.
    When you are pasting that stuff as text in an email query, they really don't know if that is 30 pages or 50 pages. So I just send them a block of the best stuff.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Rotten View Post
    With a request for 10 or 50 pages, I will go and cherry pick the first pages, and cut off as soon as it slows.
    When you are pasting that stuff as text in an email query, they really don't know if that is 30 pages or 50 pages. So I just send them a block of the best stuff.
    You paste them as text in the body of the email? Most ask for a word.doc as an attachment.

  7. #7
    Agents/editors will be expecting the pages to be in Standard Manuscript Format which Bayview described above. As long as you are working in SMF the word count will be about 250 to a page, but don't worry about word count, send the number of pages they ask for, and don't cherry-pick the best stuff, send the first 10, or 50 pages. They will be wanting to see how you open the story. You will need to know the total word count of the manuscript when you query so they can determine if it fits their needs.
    Last edited by Terry D; July 2nd, 2019 at 10:28 PM.
    “Fools” said I, “You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you”
    But my words like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence : Simon & Garfunkel


    Those who enjoy stirring the chamber-pot should be required to lick the spoon.

    Our job as writers is to make readers dream, to infiltrate their minds with our words and create a new reality; a reality not theirs, and not ours, but a new, unique combination of both.

    Visit Amazon and the Kindle Store to check out Reflections in a Black Mirror, and Chase

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  8. #8
    Here are a couple of articles on manuscript formatting for submission:

    https://thewritelife.com/how-to-format-a-book/

    https://www.writersdigest.com/online...g-a-manuscript
    “Fools” said I, “You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you”
    But my words like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence : Simon & Garfunkel


    Those who enjoy stirring the chamber-pot should be required to lick the spoon.

    Our job as writers is to make readers dream, to infiltrate their minds with our words and create a new reality; a reality not theirs, and not ours, but a new, unique combination of both.

    Visit Amazon and the Kindle Store to check out Reflections in a Black Mirror, and Chase

    Hidden Content






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