I have read couple of submission guidelines and publisher notes that pays on the "word" unit for descriptive essays, articles and lists. (For ex, 2₹/word). Then there are different guidelines for poems - that weighs the value over number of lines used and number of constraints followed. (For ex, strictly 10 lines).

But I am confused about the units itself. What exactly "word count" counts - all the words in the submitted article including a, an, the, conjunction etc? How does number of lines determined in the poem - the line after a punctuation mark like Question mark, Exclamation mark or full stop?

Who decides the prices? Is there any standard out there that shows today's price of one word is 1₹ (like daily fuel prices)?

What, in general, are other standard parameters a submission goes through during monetary evaluation?

Please note, I am not talking about a novel or such long publications. I am talking about single essay/article, or poetry submissions.


1 Answer 1


The publisher decides everything.

  • If there is payment.
  • What money is available for payment.
  • How that money is divided up.
  • If the money is per unit, what the units are and how to count them.
  • If there will be a non-monetary payment (such as copies) instead of or in addition to money.
  • If the author will get royalties of any kind (instead of or in addition to other payment).

In some cases, the writer can negotiate with the publisher for a higher rate, which happens if the writer is someone they really want. Either way, the details will be in the contract.

In general, the word count of a document is everything but the title.

The line count of a poem does not include the title or lines used as paragraph breaks.

But these can vary too. The publisher will let you know.

One unit you didn't mention is the page. This is how publishers determine payment for comics or other material with art. It works well because it's a known entity and correlates with publisher space and costs. They don't use pages for prose because the font and formatting changes that dramatically. Pages is also the unit writers use to pay artists, colorists, and letterers for comics and other art.

  • Noted. I am thinking now why writers never got a need to standardize their wage? Apr 6, 2019 at 6:17
  • 1
    @KaranDesai Well publishers vary a ton in what they can afford. A business running magazines can pay decently and usually do. But a small publication may not even have staff and can only pay in copies, or a token amount.
    – Cyn
    Apr 6, 2019 at 7:23

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