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Scrivener & the Age Old Question of Word Count... (1 Viewer)

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Yumi Koizumi

WF Veterans
Scrivener, and I imagine others, have an option to supply a target word count for the organizational hierarchy of the book.

I like this idea, as I can see visually which parts need the most work, not really to keep things at a hard limit/goal.

But I naturally am curious about what would be a good realistic target overall, which I can then cut up for my NF book's parts, sections, and chapters. The outline is huge, but many of the outer 'branches' can be combined with their siblings into a single chapter...

It is a 'How To" for a very specific job, and not a very common one. It covers things like hiring for the role, getting hired for the role, how you use psychology to work with many different personalities, the technical end of things, etc. so there are more than one green fields!

For some reason I am not thinking about cutting the book up into pieces. So I therefore would like to know what are the expectations for such a work. Are there unspoken page boundaries for topical works, and another higher one for works that get down & dirty with facts/details/instruction?

And what are your thoughts on word count vs. Page count vs. illustrations/charts vs. area of page (height & width, which the publisher decides on?)?

There is a NF submission summary here on Waterside.com that says flat out, 70,000 words. An excerpt:

  • Proposed book length (an average book contains about 70,000 words; this size manuscript makes a 250 page book);


WF Veterans
I don't use this because you start writing to word count vs content.

I would think a better option is to know what needs to be covered in each section/chapter. Business writing (at least in the USA) brevity is king. During editing you can cull out wordy explanations and passive phrasing.

I don't think the tool would help much from what you are describing.

Creative writers use the tool for production. (I'm going to write 3500 words a day.) This always causes writer's block or I write trash that is unsalvageable.


Senior Member
70,000 words divided by 250 pages equals 280 words per page. That's about right for your basic book. If the publisher hasn't specified margins, fonts, etc., just use the default settings in Scrivener for now. You can add illustrations or charts as you go along. I like Scrivener because of the way it lets you see everything at once. I haven't done anything so technical in Scrivener yet, but I've written test procedures with illustrations in MS Word. It can't be much different. I create my manuscript the way I like for it to look page by page. My reviewers suggest their ideas to add, change, or remove. I suspect this is the way it will work between you and the publisher, should the publisher accept your proposal. You have to start with something that at least looks finished. Build it page by page, and stay within the publisher's published guidelines. You choose the rest.
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