September 3rd, 2008



Size Matters

The new Ansible from David Langford mentions the following:

Magazine Scene. As of their December issues, Analog and Asimov's will change from the traditional digest size to 5 7/8" x 8 5/8", matching other Penny Press magazines. Page count drops from 144 to 112, so that despite larger pages there'll be some 4000 fewer words. [DB]

I probably read about this elsewhere, but why not point out David Langford's Ansible to those who don't know about it? I always find the latest number via the Locus Online site when it comes out.

But The Pain!

Of course it saddens me to see the size change -- now they won't stack right next to each other anymore. (grin) Worse, though, for an author who writes long is that loss of 4000 words. To me that means either one less story per issue, or it'll be harder to sell longer pieces, or they'll revise the guidelines and trim back the max word count.

I've Been Avoiding

Though I know perfectly well it's suspect, I've been using the Microsoft Word 95 word count feature since June 2002. K.D. Wentworth at the WOTF workshop was really pushing hard to use the approximate word count of 250 words per page. It makes sense, because for print publishers, a word isn't really a word, but an estimate of length. How much space a story will take place in the magazine.

Take my 24-hour WOTF workshop story. My usual procedure would be to list it on the first page as: 4900 words in 24 pages. But of course an editor would know that to be about 5800 words by pages, if you use 250 words per page. Or you could use your own formula by taking an average of a couple of your pages, etc.

Anyway you cut it, though, my 4900 word story isn't really a 4900 word story. It's nearly twenty percent over that. So, it's doubly worse for me.

I gotta finish me some big long novels...

Dr. Phil
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