Ted and I both thought, "Fzkng kids," and didn't move.
A few seconds later a heavy knock came, at which point I realized it wasn't fzking kids, it was my QUEEN'S BASTARD page proofs arriving, so I got up and couldn't find my pants. Ted, who didn't know the proofs were arriving, also got up, swearing, found his pants, and stomped downstairs. A broad Irish accent said, "Morphy?", indicating I was right, and Ted signed for the proofs and I have opened them and they are Zoh. My. God. Gorgeous. This is going to be *such* a pretty book!
The proofs aren't due back until 19 December. I am, in what I consider a fit of genius, calling in other people to read them while I finish HANDS OF FLAME. (No, sorry, this is not an invitation for people to volunteer unless they happen to live in Cork and can read a...*pauses* *goes to check* ...430, at the end of the day, page manuscript in about 3 days.)
Oh, that reminds me: somebody asked in comments (sorry, can't remember who and am too lazy to go look!) whether there's any manuscript-page-to-printed-page correlation. Short answer: no. There's no specific word per page for printed novels. TQB was a 596 page manuscript and will, it seems, be a 430 page book. All of the Walker Papers are around 450 manuscript pages, but URBAN SHAMAN as-printed is 344 while the others are around 410, because of different font choices and typesetter leading. HEART OF STONE was over 500 pages (509, I think) and the printed book is 438; I expect the second two books in that series will be about the same. The Dermody manuscripts were all 355-360 pages and the printed books are 296-298 pages.
So I'm seeing reasonable consistency per series, but at the same time, go pick up, say, a recent printing of one of the earlier JA Jance "JP Beaumont" books. Those are probably (maybe) 80,000 word books (360 manuscript pages, like the Dermody novels) but because people like bigger books, they've been reprinted with quite enormous type and significant leading, so they end up as 400+ page printed books.
Similarly, with the Bombshell line (and in fact for all the Harlequin series romances), for example, they eventually began asking people to rely on actual wordcount rather than 250wpp*# of pages because if I turn in...well, let me go run an example real quick.
Ok, take FIREBIRD DECEPTION. The Bombshells were supposed to be between 80 and 90K. I write in 12pt Courier New with 1" margins all around, my linespace set to Exactly 25pt, and with my tabs set to .3. FIREBIRD is a 355 page novel, which, at 250wpp * #oP, comes out to 88,750 words. Exact wordcount (according to Word) is 78,493 words.
I have just switched the manuscript to 12pt Times New Roman and left everything else the same. The manuscript is now 260 pages long. If I change it to 14pt TNR (which I have this vague idea, perhaps made entirely up, is the font size you're supposed to submit TNR in), it turns out to be 291 pages long. So either way, to make a blanket assumption that 1 page = 250 words and then to multiply that out, well, 90,000 words means I need an additional 70-100 pages in TNR.
*idly cuts & pastes 70 pages onto the end of FD* Ok, in TNR 14pt, that gives me an actual wordcount of 97,786 words. Adding 100 pages in TNR 12pt gives me 109,347 words--31,000 words more than the book I turned in, which was at the top end of how long the line was supposed to be.
So now you're the publisher and you have series romance and they have to be around 300 pages so you can fit 5 of them in each supermarket paperback rack, and you have stories ranging from, say, 65,000 *actual* words up to 110,000 actual words. The only way you can make them consistently 300 pages is by beefing up the font and leading on the shorter end, and crushing it down on the larger end. Production ended up getting a lot of complaints because the leading and fonts and margins were so tight that it made the books difficult to read, and so in the end they began requesting actual wordcounts for the series romance line manuscripts. I think all the lines now are between 60 and 80K in actual words (varying depending on the line).
I tend to aim for actual wordcount numbers, myself. The Walker Papers, for example, are contracted at 110K, which is about 440 manuscript pages in the format I write in. COYOTE DREAMS was 111,793 actual words, for a manuscript count of 115,750, which is pretty close. TQB (oh hm this version of TQB, which I thought was Entirely Correct, is 588 pages, not 596. Well, close enough either way.) is 141,098 actual words, with a manuscript count of 146K. I thought it'd come in around 150K, so I was pretty close there. The Negotiator books are contracted at 125K, and HOUSE OF CARDS is...118,223/127,250. So generally, yeah, I aim for the actual wordcount number and come up pretty close to just right for the ms count.
I have now spent *way* longer on this entry than I should have, and must feed and shower and work. :)
Also, I got to see the most current version of the TQB cover a couple days ago. It's goooorgeous and I can't wait to be able to actually show it off. *beams*