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How many words in 350 pages typed and double spaced? I want to know because I am 66 of those into my first novel, and I set my goal at 350. I'd like my word count to be epic novel sized.

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What font and what size are you using? What are your margins? Are you in Word, InDesign, BBEdit? –  Lauren Ipsum May 13 '13 at 20:33
    
I'm using OpenOffice Writer, 1 inch margins, Times New Roman font, and the font size is 11. –  Matthew Paul Chapdelaine May 13 '13 at 20:47
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If it's 12-pt Courier double spaced with 1-inch margins (standard manuscript format)‌​, then it's about 250 words per page. Doing maths that comes out to about 87,500 words, which is a good length but hardly 'epic'. That's a little longer than Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (84,799 words) and a little less than The Hobbit (95,022 words) and 1984 (88,942). Source –  Jed Oliver May 13 '13 at 20:51
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My understanding is that there is no industry standard definition of an 'epic' novel, but IMHO it's going to be several hundred thousand words, especially for an epic fantasy novel. 100,000 words is a good round number but that's only about as long as Huckleberry Finn. Compare that to epic fantasy novels and series such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy which clocks in at about 450,000 or your average Game of Thrones book which is about 350,000. Even Harry Potter clocks in at just over 1 million words for the series or about 150k per book with Order of the Phoenix the longest at 257k. –  Jed Oliver May 13 '13 at 22:14
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Is the question "how many words are in this page count?", per the title, or "how long is an epic?", per the comments? These are different questions. (For the first, you can answer it yourself since you already have a sample -- count a few pages an take an average.) –  Monica Cellio May 14 '13 at 15:06
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1 Answer

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This isn't a simple a math question as much it is a "How long should my book be?" question.

If it's a simple math question, the answer is easily found by using the word count function in your word processor. Take the total word count, divide it by number of pages you've written and that's your individual word count per page. Then divide your goal by that number and that will give you an idea of how many pages you need.

If you're not a big fan of math, then you can eliminate the guess work by using standard manuscript format. In standard manuscript format, your word count becomes "about 250 words per page" which makes 350 pages about 87,500 words. If your goal is 100,000 words then you're going to be looking at 400 standard manuscript pages.

But what you're really looking for isn't a word count. What you're looking for is how much you need to write before your regular novel is considered an 'epic' novel. And there is no straightforward answer.

But one thing you can do is to look at previously published 'epic' series to get an idea of what readers expect when they want to read an 'epic'.

One of the most prominent epic fantasy series is A Song of Fire and Ice (also known as A Game of Thrones). The five books in that series (to date) average between 300-450,000 words each. That epic length is 3-4 times what you're setting your goal at.

So a story on the scale of Game of Thrones might be a tad much. But there is another prominent epic fantasy series that might be a little closer to what you're thinking.

At 450,000 words, the Lord of the Rings trilogy is almost certainly considered an epic fantasy tale (if not, the epic fantasy tale). Most people think of it as three books of about 150,000 words each but it's actually 6 books of about 75,000 words each. Despite the original plan of combining all 6 (plus one other, The Silmarillion) into one giant book it was instead collected into the three volumes that we're more familiar with.

Compared to Lord of the Rings, your 100,000-word, 5-book goal is certainly within the realm of 'epic' tales, albeit a little on the short side for the genre.

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You've correctly identified the wordcount for epic works from established authors. However, I've been told many times that first books should generally shoot for about 100K words, and that anything over 120K is a hard sell. –  JSBձոգչ May 14 '13 at 1:52
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@JSBձոգչ While it is true that most first works probably shouldn't be too much north of 100k in the traditional publishing world, I have also heard tales of first epic fantasy novels that clocked in at 200k and no one batted an eye. At any rate the question is "How long should an epic first novel be?" and not "How long should an epic first novel be and still get published?" –  Jed Oliver May 14 '13 at 2:01
    
Thanks a lot! This is the answer! –  Matthew Paul Chapdelaine May 15 '13 at 1:26
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@Jed, there are lots of examples of long first epic fantasy novels, for sure. But I wouldn't want the OP to think that he should try to send in a 300K monster on his first shot. –  JSBձոգչ May 15 '13 at 3:36
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