Posted by: nancyisanders | December 17, 2014

Writing Opportunity: The Word Count

I decided to feature a separate blog post just on the word count because I wanted to share the exact steps I took to determine this myself. That way you can know how to do this step, too.

First I saved a totally new version of my manuscript and called it:

TITLE word count

Then I deleted the glossary. I deleted the index. I deleted any footnotes. I deleted the table of contents. I deleted the page numbers I added in.

I wasn’t sure if the word count Kaeden gives for their books includes the sidebars or not, so I went back and checked a couple of their books. For the books I checked, they did NOT include the sidebars in their word count.

So I deleted all the sidebars, too. All I was left with was the text in large type that would be at the bottom of each page of the published story.

I had 48 words.

Go ahead and check the word count for your story. Then check your mentor text to make sure your word count is in the same ball park as the word count of your mentor text.

My mentor text is THE BIRDFEEDER. It has a word count of 55 words. So I knew I had hit the mark with 48.

How about your word count? Did you hit the mark? If not, think of ways to lengthen or shorten the word count to be closer to that of your mentor text.

In books like these where children are learning to read, word count is very, very important. Kids would feel overwhelmed if the book is too long and takes them too long to read it on their own. Yet a teacher will not feel it is worth the price if it has too few words in it. It’s important to make sure your manuscript is in the right ball park with the other books like yours that Kaeden Books has already published.

Make a note of your final word count. You’ll need it in the very next exercise we do.


  1. I’ve used this same technique to determine word count on other things I’ve written. Great info, though, re doing this and comparing it with the mentor text. I’m reading your book re writing beginning readers and chapter books. Great info. I’ll be taking an on-line chapter-book class in January.

    • Great to hear, Mary! Thanks for sharing.

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