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Word Count: Does Size Really Matter?


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Writers tend to write drafts to initially record their thought process on a particular subject or project. This is highly recommended for including the points you want to make, but in the same sense we find that this leads to “long windedness" in our writing. After editing, some of our sentences are repeated in a different configuration and can be eliminated. As we learn to tighten our writing, we can effectively communicate our messages without loosing the interest of our readers.

It doesn’t matter what type of submission goes to a magazine, newspaper, contest, anthology or ezine, you will find a word or line count restriction within the writer’s guidelines. Regardless of how outstanding or awesome your manuscript is, if your submission does not meet a publisher’s word count criteria, that discrepancy can be a primary strike that will cost you the winning approval for publication. Does size really matter? You better believe it!

Word counts are necessary for determining:
(1) Column inches for article or story layouts
(2) Important for selling advertisements to businesses
(3) Factoring in fillers with respect to the size of the publication.

Newspapers sell ad space that is measured by the use of column inches, which is different from our definition of the typical inch. The formula for a column inch is: “the width of one column times one inch high. " The total number of column inches equals “the number of inches high times the number of columns on that page. " Advertising height dimensions are determined by “dividing the column inches by the number of columns. " Financial and editorial decisions are time sensitive, as editors and advertising managers prepare layouts for upcoming issues.

The size of the publication, proposed ad space, articles, editorials, etc. , is predetermined. Many publishers pay for your articles, if accepted, by the word or the entire manuscript. On your computer, under the tool menu of your word processing software, there should be an option for selecting your word count. If you do not have this capability to get an estimated word count, you can multiply the average number of words on a typewritten, double spaced page, which is approximately 250, times the number of pages represented in your manuscript. Be sure to inquire whether or not the recommended word count includes your title and subtitles, if it is not indicated.

Dimensions are stipulated within the guidelines, from self-addressed stamped envelopes to word counts, so be sure to adhere to them. No matter how spectacular you’re confident your manuscript is, don’t allow something as menial as ignoring a word count directive to cost you money.

Kym Gordon Moore is the author of the eBook, “Alphabet Soup: 5 Main Ingredients for Turning Words into a Bowl of Hot Topics!" Many of her articles, essays, short stories and poems appeared in a variety of magazines, newspapers, ezines and anthologies. She is a creative marketing strategist for Moore 2 It Productions and coordinates cost effective, creative marketing packages for budget conscious new authors and new small business owners.


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