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Do Word Counts Count 2015

I like numbers.

After all, I do pretend to be a banker from time to time. And what can be more banker-ish (that is so not a word, but should be) than my annual Do Word Counts Count? post. It’s an annual look at the word counts of bestselling teen books as well as a comparison between traditional and indie published word counts.

It’s the first question that most new authors ask, but there isn’t much out there on the topic. While there are no official ranges for fiction novels, there is an expectation.

To start, we take a look at bestselling authors. Below is the Barnes & Noble bestselling teen fiction list from earlier this month. Every book on it is traditionally published, which should give us an idea of strategy for the market makers.

Barnes & Noble Bestselling Teen Fiction 5/4/15
Novel Page Count Word Count*
The Heir by Kiera Cass 368 92,000
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir 464 118,384
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard 400 100,000
Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen 432 108,000
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah Maas 432 108,000
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 384 96,000
Paper Towns by John Green 336 84,000
After the End by Amy Plum 352 88,000
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart 240 60,000
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews 304 76,000

*Word counts are estimated based on the standard of 250 words per page

Weird random fact: The 1st place book in today’s 2015 list has the exact same number of pages as the 1st place in the 2013 list (The Fault in Our Stars).

Last year’s B&N Teen Bestseller word counts averaged 88,875 words. This year’s average is 93,038.

To get an idea of word count average for indie authors, below are the current bestselling books from Smashwords, a leading distributor of indie novels. As you will see, these are significantly lower word counts than their B&N counterparts.

Smashwords Young Adult/Teen Bestsellers 5/4/15
Novel Words
His Bad Boy Ways by Faye Aden 55,850
Flit by Abieth Winter 78,810
Wisdom by Amanda Hocking 91,079
Torn by Ashley Stambaugh 83,040
Newborn by Joshua Dee Preece 19,670
Undeniably Chosen by Shelly Crane 152,550
Crutch by Alex Rushmur 2,600
Bloodline by Kei 9,950
Masked SheWolf by Yara Gharios 108,550
Rise of the Valiant by Morgan Rice 81,050

Last year’s Smashwords list included a novella, so I think it’s interesting to note that this year’s list contains two: Newborn and Bloodline.

Average word count for books distributed through Smashwords is 68,314, well under the 93K plus we saw from the B&N bestsellers. Not surprising. The last two years have demonstrated the same as traditionally published works on average tend to be longer than indie published work (though there are exceptions).

As a writer, I typically hear 55k-80k is the way to go for a Young Adult novel. I used to hear that a debut author should never go over 100k as publisher’s, tight with their dollars, often find it hard to justify printing that many pages on an unknown. These numbers seem to reinforce those mindsets with a decreasing average word count every year.

Here’s the comparison over the last few years that I’ve been doing this post.

wordcount

 

Bottom line: Keep it short and sweet, kids.

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Mogdoc News Network: Top 10 Better Uses for a Black Suit

The humans call them the “Men in Black”. These formally dressed do-gooders are a constant thorn in the side of any self-respecting alien. Therefore, in honor of Mothman May and the release of WRONG SIDE OF THE GRAVE –and in dishonor of the boys in black– join me for this countdown of the Top 10 Better Uses for a Black Suit.

young man10. Impersonate life insurance salesman, collect and run

9. Cover up an unsightly stain or girlfriend

8. Wear backwards and securely pin arms for a stylin’ straightjacket that your asylum inmates will go crazy for

7. Tie up ends of pant legs, stuff with hams and hang in smokehouse to cure

6. Take your Wayne Newton impression to a whole new level

5. Gothic quilt

4. Secretly remove stitching from bottoms of all pockets, give suit to compulsive shoplifter, watch the fun

3. Upholster a vampire’s casket or an elegant footstool

2. Cut off legs, sew hem-to-hem…giraffe neckwarmer!

1. Three words…Best Dressed Scarecrow

Brought to you by the Mothman Mysteries, teen sci-fi mystery novels by Bryna Butler on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Sony, and more.

See also:

>The Art Behind the Mothman Mysteries Cover

>The Art Behind the Mothman Mysteries BRAND

>The Music Behind the Mothman Mysteries

>Kirkus Reviews Wrong Side of the Grave, Mothman Mysteries #1

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Book Tour this Thursday

Just wanted to give you a quick heads up on Thursday’s Virtual Book Tour hosted by Goddess Fish. We’ll talk about WRONG SIDE OF THE GRAVE, and there’s a surprise giveaway you won’t want to miss!

Thanks to the hosting blogs. Use these links on Thursday, April 30, to join the tour.

1: Unabridged Andra
2: BooksDirect
3: CBY Book Club
4: Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock
5: Rayna Noire
6: Undercover Book Reviews
7: A Book Addict’s Delight
8: Hope. Dreams. Life… Love
9: Independent Authors
10: Deal Sharing Aunt
11: fuonlyknew
12: Kit ‘N Kabookle
13: Books & Other Spells
14: Mom With A Kindle
15: FictionZeal.com
16: The Avid Reader
17: The Reading Addict
18: LibriAmoriMiei
19: Edgar’s Books
20: Word Menagerie
21: Enchanted Book Nook
22: Books in the Hall
23: Long and Short Reviews YA
24: Straight from the Library

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Update

Here we are with the first quarter of 2015 already behind us. That was fast. Like really, really fast. So in case it all went by in a blurred flash of Facebook posts and indecipherable tweets, here’s an update on what’s been happening and what’s to come.

Wrong Side of the Grave

It’s out, and first reviews have been crazy good. I can use all the reviews I can get, so if you have not yet posted a review (especially to Amazon or Barnes & Noble) please do so. Pretty please, with whipped cream and a cherry one top!

If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, you can pick it up at the usual online bookstores: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, BAM, Kobo, and Apple iBooks among others. I’m also offering signed paperback editions for sale through my website (see below). For those in the Huntington, WV, area, it should be available at Empire Books at Pullman Square by this weekend.

Will there be another? Yes, Wrong Side is just the first book of the Mothman Mysteries. These will be standalone mysteries with the same characters so you can read them in any order. I plan to write them until I run out of ideas. It is my hope to have the next one out by the time the Mothman Festival rolls around in September, although that might take a miracle or two to pull off.

Signed Books

Recently, my website was updated to include a Store area where you can buy signed paperback editions of your favorites. You can also “buy” (in quotes because it’s free) an e-version of the Midnight Guardian short story Siren’s Call, a short that was originally included in copies of Shadows Rising. Go directly to the store, here.

Appearances

Due to a family conflict, I have cancelled my scheduled talk and appearance at the Dayton Book Expo later this month. I also will not be at the Southeastern Ohio Tourism Expo which has been re-scheduled for the same day as the Dayton event. Sometimes you just need to step up and be a Mom. I found myself in that situation. Family will always come first for me. I hope you understand.writeyourfuture

My next scheduled appearance will be at UtopYA Con in Nashville in June. So excited about that event. This year’s theme is time travel. YES!

House of Gammen

house of gammenEveryone’s asking, so here’s the update. House of Gammen, the sixth and final installment of the Midnight Guardian series WILL come out in 2015. I promise. I do not have a date yet, as I’m still writing. However, I can tell you that it will be my next book published, and I am getting very close to starting editing. It’s the last one. I want it to be everything it can be for you and that takes time.

To help make it up to you, here’s a first look at the draft of the cover.

The Chosen Ones

I’ve been tossing around some ideas for providing rewards for my most loyal readers. If you fit this description and have some ideas of your own, please share! Also looking for a fun name for this very special group. You can comment on this post, drop me a line on Twitter or Facebook, or use the Contact form.

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Yay! It’s HUNTED Release Day!

Special guest post by novelist Liz Long

HuntedFBCover

I’m so excited to have you be a part of my release day for HUNTED, Book 3 of the Donovan Circus Series! Sometimes it feels like I just released the first book, GIFTED, a few days ago; other times, it feels like more years than it’s actually been! :) Thank you to the amazing bloggers, authors, and readers who have helped make this such an awesome release day. Also a special thanks to my cover designer, Kate at Dwell Design & Press for her amazing cover work! I hope you all find the third adventure as exciting as the first two – and perhaps much darker, as there are many underlying things bubbling to the surface, secrets coming unveiled, and a death that will shake the troupe in a terrible way. Read More

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Kirkus Reviews Wrong Side of the Grave

WRONG SIDE OF THE GRAVE
Butler, Bryna
CreateSpace (264 pp.)
$11.99 paperback, $1.99 e-book
ISBN: 978-1507898079; February 21, 2015

BOOK REVIEW BY KIRKUS REVIEWS

An alien who feeds on vampires is stumped when the recently dead in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, are apparently no
longer dead in Butler’s (Book of the Lost, 2013, etc.) YA supernatural thriller.

Eric Jansen is just your typical teenager and drummer for a rock band. Except, when not in human form, he’s a red-eyed,
centuries-old alien who has spurred the local Mothman legend. His food source on Earth is vampires, allowing him to
work in cooperation with a secret government agency. But he becomes the men in black’s first suspect when bodies at
the funeral home start sitting up, walking, and talking. He and his human bestie, Bridget, initiate their own investigation,
while the city folk crowd the cemetery, convinced that subterranean loved ones will soon awaken. Eric, however, fears
that someone may be on to him when Bridget suddenly disappears. This entertaining novel navigates well-trod ground
with style. The vampires, for instance, seem like typical bloodsuckers but are actually aliens that Eric’s kind has
followed to Earth. Both Eric and Bridget are cynical but charmingly so, and endless alien-related puns never get old, like
Eric’s suggestion that “people who live in invisible spaceships shouldn’t throw stones.” Along with a grand plot and
vibrant characters, including the enigmatic Agent Hisato Ikeda whom Eric thinks might be an alien, Butler delivers a
notable mystery/thriller. Dramatic tension is wielded expertly; Eric and Bridget, for example, distrust a funeral director
and news reporter, who may have their own agendas. Butler dabbles into Eric’s background but doesn’t overdo the
flashbacks. The same is true for aliens in general; readers only glimpse the interior of Eric’s concealed spacecraft (and
hear what can only be presumed is alien profanity: “Slux!”). Romance between Eric and Bridget is wonderfully
understated, as everyone but the couple appears to recognize that they’re more than just friends. Limitless possibilities to
explore their relationship, as well as a lingering unconquered foe, give the next book of the proposed series a smashing
head start.

Butler revives the moribund with his fresh take on aliens, vampires, and the undead.

You can also check out the review on the Kirkus website, here.

 

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