Oh Susanna – What About Word Count?

Well, we made it.

Out to Ohio by way of Pennsylvania and West Virginia (thanks for that Jo-Jilly) and back again (the right way thank you very much because sometimes I just have to pull rank!)

In Ohio we saw a building shaped like a giant picnic basket – I kid you not!  I was driving, and hence unable to engage in photography, but luckily my copilot happened to be awake just then and had his iPhone and the picture came out.  Which is amazing because we were traveling at approximately 65 mph (which was the speed limit and when I say approximately I mean we were barely over it so don’t raise those eyebrows at me :))  He took the photo out Princess Blue Kitty’s window.  Check it out!

It is not everyday you see a building shaped like a giant basket!

So now, see?  I have added to your trivia fund.  Next time you need an icebreaker or a scintillating topic of conversation, you can say, “Did you know that there’s a building shaped like a giant picnic basket in Newark, Ohio?”and thoroughly dazzle and amaze your companion.

We also saw this statue (which I LOVE) in front of the library in Granville – a boy, a girl, and a little dog…

Isn’t it just the perfect statue for outside a library?

Also I can highly recommend Audible’s recording of all of James Herriot’s books up through The Lord God Made Them All which is what we are up to after all these drives (yes, we have driven through the unabridged All Creatures Great And Small, All Things Bright And Beautiful, and All Things Wise And Wonderful… as well as The DaVinci Code and about half of Divergent which we had to leave unfinished because the narrator was deemed whiny by my son, who also felt there was too much romance involved… luckily I had already read it :))

Also, in case you were wondering (and I know you were :)), Snickers is still hands down the best candy bar ever.

So now that we’ve got that settled, let’s move on to Oh Susanna, which it feels like we haven’t done in an age!

Today’s excellent question comes to us from the lovely Cathy, and she says:

I have an Oh Susanna! question – is there a ’rounding’ rule when adding your word count to a query?  As in, my manuscript is 509 words.  Or perhaps 497 words.  Do I say OH SUSANNA’S STORY is a 500 word fairy tale for readers ages 3-6?  Or should I use the exact number of words per my Microsoft Word for Windows count?  Just wondered if there is an word count convention that I should know.  

My personal feeling on the matter is that Microsoft Word makes it very easy to establish your word count, and it doesn’t take much room at the top of our manuscript to pop it in there, so why not?  I always include it.  But I don’t think it matters too much if you round slightly… you’re just not likely to get away with passing off your 1506 word manuscript as “about 500 words” 🙂

But I figured an authority on the matter wouldn’t hurt, so I asked editor Erin Molta, our friend from Would You Read It 🙂  She said:

Word counts are not that necessary for picture books UNLESS there is a certain restriction. Word counts are needed for easy readers because each level determines how many words. Though it doesn’t hurt to mention word counts in the query letter—only because some editors may be looking for something short and sweet to read right then . . . It doesn’t matter—unless there are guidelines—if the word count is exact or not. Though since WORD does give it to you fairly easily, it’s not hard to do so.

So there you have it.  What does everyone else do?  Do you include your word count or not?  Do you give the exact count, or round?  Has anyone had a different experience with word counts than Erin or I? Have you ever seen a building shaped like a giant basket?  Or anything else interesting?  Please share! 🙂

Have a wonderful day and beginning of your week, everyone! 🙂