One Writer’s Journey

June 18, 2015

Word Count: How Long Does My Manuscript Need to Be?

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:41 am
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manuscript lengthHow long should my manuscript be?”  It’s a common question with a complicated answer.  It needs to be as long as is needed to get the job done.

Not a very helpful answer is it?

In part, the answer depends on your target publisher.  Check out their market lisitng or guidelines and see what they have to say.  Some of them get pretty specific.

If you don’t have a target publisher, here are some lengths as supplied by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.  Yes, I know the majority of information they pubilsh is for members only but this is from the handout “From Keyboard to Printed Page” which we are allowed to share with non-members.

Board Books:  Under 1/2 page of text.

Picture Books:  2/3 manuscript pages.  Sue here: I’ve been told by various editors that the majority of picture book manuscripts being published today are less than 500 words long.

Easy Readers:  10 – 20 manuscript pages.  Sue here:  This one can have a lot of variety because a truly beginning reader will be much shorter than one for a child who is almost up to chapter books.

Chapter Books: 40-60 manuscript pages.

Middle Grade novel: 100- 250 manuscript pages.  Sue here:  Isn’t that a huge range?  Obviously, 100 page manuscripts are most often younger middle grade books while the longer ones are for readers who are almost ready for young adult novels.

Young Adult novel:  200 – 350 manuscript pages.

If your book is close but not in one of these ranges, you may need to massage the word count a bit.  To find out how I do this, visit the Muffin and read my post for today.

–SueBE

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