Thursday, February 12, 2009

Converting typescript page counts to printed page counts

At last! I've figured out a way to calculate this.

To estimate how long your typescript would be in book form, subtract between 16.66% and 19.4% from your typed page count.

I've been wondering this and could never figure out a way to come up with a good estimate. I'm sure anyone with any chops in page layout software or any experience in publishing is snickering at my homemade method, but here it is.

I cracked it when I stumbled online (as part of another project) a few book excerpts that were essentially page proofs in PDF form. You could see on the 8 1/2 by 11 sheets the markings for the actual page size and the print area.

By taking that, I was able to make a copy of my typescript in Word and change the margins and paragraph indentations to resemble the sample online. I wasn't able to measure exactly the type size and line spacing, but by copying a bit from my online sample into Word and doing word counts, I came up with good guesses. I used a 12.5 line spacing. If I make all those changes and then set the font at 12 point, I get a 16.66% reduction in page count. If I set it at 11.5 point, I get a 19.4% reduction in page count.

I printed out a few sample pages to see how they would look, and those settings resemble most of the trade paperback literary novels I have around.

So, I can say that my 540 page typescript would probably yield a printed book between 434-450 pages. My new target number for the typescript (430 pages) is going to get me down to something resembling a 340-350 page printed book.

Still too long. Very few of the trade paperback literary novels on my shelf are that long. I need to get more aggressive with the cuts.

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