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July 06, 2012

Word Counts

A post by Jennifer Laughran at Andrea Brown Agency has been making the rounds in the forums, and it's an excellent reference for specifically how many words are generally found in each type of children's book manuscript.

Most interesting to note on this topic is the incorrect assumption people make when I tell them I write children's books. I tell them I have been working on my last manuscript for almost two years, and they imagine me slaving over a 500 word version of Goodnight Moon. This has happened so often that I now say "I write children's adventure novels like Harry Potter."

I hide from writing by focusing on its numbers, reinforcing my online presence, and playing with software designed to help me write. That said, numbers can help any process, no matter how subjective it might be. This is probably because the entertainment business is ultimately a business and business is about numbers. If your creative, subjective material does not have  the correct equivalent in numbers, it is not going to find the support necessary to reach the audience for which it is created. 

That's why word count is so crucial to writers. You can dress up those words with all the formatting your heart desires, but at the end of the day, your writing is a number of words. You arrange them as you see fit, and that arrangement is your craft...how many you arrange is a crucial part of your decision-making process as a writer. 

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