Q: What all is included in the manuscript word count?
Do you include the title, author, references, abstract, text, and tables?
Front matter such as title, author, and abstract and end matter such as references and acknowledgments are typically not included in the manuscript word count. The main text and also tables, figures, and captions for them are included in the count. The title has its own word limit (say about 10-15 max), so too the abstract (about 200-250 words). However, the journal usually specifies this in their author guidelines. So, you should check the guidelines.
A couple of points more. In case your manuscript exceeds the count, of course, you should try and reduce the count. But in case you’ve tried your best and it doesn’t come down any further, you may go ahead and submit it, but inform the editor in your cover letter. Editors give some allowance for an initial submission, so you should be ok.
For help with working within the word limit, you may refer to this piece: 10 Tips to reduce the length of your research paper
And for further help, you may of course use a language editing service. :)
Hope that helps. All the best for your submission!