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Books and Literature
Literature Classics
Charles Dickens
History of Writing

Was Charles Dickens paid by the word?

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March 31, 2008 8:22PM

No. All his fictional works were contracted for individually. Because the contracts generally specified a certain number of installments and the installments were of a specific number of pages, you could calculate a rough rate of pay based on an approximate number of words. But none of his contemporaries or publishers thought to do that. With his first novel (*The Pickwick Papers*), he quickly became Eng land's most popular novelist and remained so until his death. He was paid very well, reflecting his immense popularity, and he was under no pressure to produce a lot of words except from his voluntarily chosen modes of publication and writing.