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Do Word Counts Count 2016 edition

It’s that time of year again! Time for my annual Word Counts post where we take a look at YA word counts for traditionally published and indie authors.

So let’s get right down to the nitty gritty. First, we take a look at the traditional-pubbed market. For this, I’m going to pull the bestsellers in the category of YA from Barnes and Noble.

Barnes & Noble Teen Bestsellers for the week beginning June 28, 2016

 Title  Word Count*
 Miss Peregine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs 96,250
 The Last Star by Rick Yancey 88,000
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard 104,000
The Cellar by Natasha Preston 92,000
 The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton 56,000
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak  144,000
 The Novice by Taran Matharu 96,000
The Maze Runner by James Dashner 100,000
 United as One by Pittacus Lore 120,000
 Kian and JC: Don’t Try This at Home! by Kian Lawley 56,000

*Estimated based on 250 words per page

Compared to last year’s list of B&N teen bestsellers, word counts are up 13%. I think it is important to note that some of the larger word counts in the list came from books that are the last in their series. Many readers already know to expect the last book to be a bit thicker as the author packs in everything needed to wrap up all the loose ends.

Word counts also increased among indie others when compared to previous years.

Smashwords Bestsellers Young Adult/Teen Category 7/2/16

 Title  Word Count
The Raven King by Nora Sakavic 105,410
 The Wild Beasts of Anthony Mannis by Matthew Young 78,020
In a House Made of Bones and Teeth by Alyxandra Harvey 16,170
Memories of Ash by Intisar Khanani 122,640
Valley of the Shadow by Christina Ochs 176,720
The Posterchildren: Origins by Kitty Burroughs  133,870
 Masters of Time by Sarah Woodbury 83,340
Between Heaven and Earth by TJ Rudolph 73,480
 The Dark Wife by SE Diemer 62,180
The Alcantaran Key by Terry Compton 142,850

The average word count for these ten is a whopping 99,468, the highest average for Smashwords bestsellers since I started the Word Count annual posts in 2013. This number also breaks trend by surpassing the B&N bestsellers word count average. Check out the dramatic incline over 2015’s average word count of 68,315 in the comparison chart below.

16wordcount

Those are the stats. Looks like word counts are growing and readers are buying, but let’s not forget the increasing popularity of novellas and Kindle singles. There is one novella-sized novel in the Smashwords bestsellers (there usually is at least one). Amazon’s Kindle Single bestseller lineup is starting to tout big names such as James Patterson, Diana Gabaldon, Lee Child, and Gillian Flynn with page counts ranging from 40 to 86 pages and price points at $1.99 and $2.99 making their work more affordable for the everyday reader and more competitive against indie authors who traditional charge these prices for full novels.

So take these stats with a grain of salt because as we all know…
Length is seldom a measure of a good story.

Past Word Counts Posts
>Do Word Counts Count 2015
>Do Word Counts Count? 2014 update
>Do word counts count? 2013

 

 

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Interview With Bryna Butler — Sailing to the Moon

In celebration of #readselfpublished Sailing to the Moon has been getting in contact with successful self-published authors for interviews. Here’s an interview with Bryna Butler, author of the Midnight Guardian Series. (Which can be found here) How did you get into writing? I’ve always loved stories. In college, this led me to study journalism […]

via Interview With Bryna Butler — Sailing to the Moon

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The scoop on House of Gammen, Literacy Leaders, and everything else I can think of

Busy.

This year has been a roller coaster—fast, frantic, and at some points, yes, it even made me nauseous. So I’d like to take a moment to step off the ride and give you all an update.

This summer, I started Bryna’s Literacy Leaders. At its core, it’s a monthly e-newsletter for teachers and youth librarians with ideas for book-inspired snacks, classroom activities, and downloadable worksheets, and a bunch of giveaways. But it’s more than that. My vision for Bryna’s Literacy Leaders is that it becomes a resource hub for those out there looking for innovative and engaging ways spark an interest in reading for the next generation. If you know of a teacher or librarian that’s feeling a little uninspired lately, I urge you to direct them to the Literacy Leaders page where they can learn more and subscribe for free.

In September, I released my first audiobook. Posted a bunch about it on Facebook, so you might be tired of hearing about it, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop gushing over it. For Wrong Side of the Grave, the narrator’s voice is just soo dreamy. He makes rocker Eric come to life. You can sample the book here.

I’m starting to book engagements for next year. I’ve already made commitments to appear at the Roanoke Author Invasion and Utopia in Nashville (formerly UtopYA).

And there’s some big news, but it’s not quite ready to release yet. Like super big news, and it’s killing me to keep it all in. Let’s just say that it all coincides with the release of House of Gammen, the 6th and final installment of the Midnight Guardian series.

iStock_000004032250SmallOkay, so that’s my most received question, isn’t it? When is House of Gammen going to be released? I’ve been promising it for a very long time. All I can say is, YES, it is coming, NO, I don’t have a date, and YES, it is going to be epic. Sorry, the mogdocs won’t let me say more at this time. But soon. Subscribers to my New Book Alert will be the first notified when a release date is set and will even get a sneak preview at a chapter or two.

That’s all for now. See you across the barrier.

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5 Innovative Ways to Spark a Love of Reading in Your Middle School Classroom

If you find it hard to get your classroom full of tweens to crack open a book, you are not alone. The leap from easy read chapter books to full-blown YA novels can be daunting. Even the most avid readers in elementary school can find it difficult to summon the time or desire to read for fun. Here are some sure-fire tips to help you spark or re-kindle (no Amazon-based puns intended) the love of reading in your middle school classroom.

In-Class Book Clubs

Leadership Coach and former educator Elena Aguilar, in her blog post titled Ten Ways to Cultivate a Love of Reading in Students, says, “Many students (especially boys) need to interact with each other around texts. It greatly enhances their comprehension and makes it so much more enjoyable.”

Creating book clubs is a great way to divide the classroom into smaller groups, which makes it easier and less intimidating for in-depth discussion among the students.

And here’s an idea… Read More

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Let’s Do the Time Warp – UtopYA style!

UtopyaCon2015_Badge_Exhibitor_MEDIUMI’m packing my bags for sunny Nashville, Tennessee, and the annual UtopYA con. The event, coordinated by Social Deviants, seems almost like a reunion, a gathering of indie writers from across the nation (and even a few international authors).

What I love most about UtopYA is that everyone is a fangirl. Doesn’t matter if you’ve sold one book or thousands, if you are a hobby reader or a book blogger with an army of followers, everyone is treated as an equal.

This year’s theme is time travel. I think I did a Snoopy happy dance when I heard it. I’m an absolute sucker for time travel stories. (check out Butterman Travel by P.K. Hrezo). And being the nut that I am, I declared to myself right away that I wanted to kick butt with my display.

IMG_0126You have to see it. I’m doing a whole Men in Black theme for my latest book, Wrong Side of the Grave, but I gave it a time twist. You see, Doctor Emmett Brown has joined forces with the MIB to stop a time disturbance in Nashville. Yep, I’m kind of a geek (of course, you already knew that). Even my convention booth has a story.

Anyway, visitors can stop by my booth, pick up a Save the Clock Tower flier and if Jennifer’s number is on the back, they win a prize like a flux capacitor car charger, futuristic sunglasses like in Back to the Future 2…heck, I’m even giving away a journal with a cover that’s a reproduction of George McFly’s Match Made in Space novel.

I’ll have BRAND temporary tattoos, toe tags “from” Rigby Funeral Home, signed bookmarks and cards. So, fill your bags up while you sit back and watch the MIB’s Secure Network screen. (oh yeah, that should be all kinds of fun).

My little sis and mom at UtopYA in 2014. Can't take them anywhere - LOL!

My little sis and mom at UtopYA in 2014. Can’t take them anywhere – LOL!

And I’m not the only one who is going all out. Starting this Wednesday, I’ll be featuring the cool giveaways that UtopYA authors will have to offer. You can catch the #CountdowntoSwag on my twitter, @mogdocnews, or instagram @butlerwroteit accounts.

Great Scott! I’ve got to go back…back to UtopYA. See you there!

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Easter Eggs for Wrong Side of the Grave

A few months after every new release, I love to share some of the hidden gems in my story. Past Easter Egg articles have included what went on behind the scenes, inspiration for settings, namesakes, and those fun little factoids that come with writing fiction.

And now it’s time to reveal the Easter Eggs for the first in the Mothman Mysteries, WRONG SIDE OF THE GRAVE!

B.R.A.N.D. 

The BRAND went through several generations before it became the Biometric Remodeling Apparatus with Necessity Duplicator. For a long time in my manuscript, I called it PRISM (Protective Remote Identification Simulator Mechanics). But the term seemed to confuse beta readers into thinking that it was just projecting an image, not physically changing Eric. It was also called PET, PM, MRU, ACT, and yes, even a BUTLER (Biotic Unilateral Transitioner & Limited Elemental Renderer). Gotta love acronyms!

Bridget’s Sister

In an early version, Bridget had an older, always-perfect-without-trying sister named Rayne. However, Rayne only served to dilute the story so in the end she had to go.

Kendall Mitchem aka Kendalla the Dreaded

When writing for Kendall, I picture Taylor Swift gone bad. Seriously.

Where have I read about Eric before?

Eric had cameo roles in the Midnight Guardian series. He appears in Shadows Rising as Mikey’s drummer friend and again in Book of the Lost as Mikey’s prom date. Keira notices the BRAND on his arm and refers to it as an eagle tattoo.

What’s the name of Eric’s band?

Though no one calls it by name in Wrong Side, his band’s name is Sweet Kick. It is the same band that appears from time to time in the Midnight Guardian series.

Lone Oak Cemetery & Tu-Endie-Wei

Both are very real places in the real Point Pleasant, WV. In Tu-endie-wei Park, the memorial that I describe is really there and there really is a plaque on the back of it with an oddly obvious tree with a fingerprint-sized knot hole. Although, I doubt that placing your finger on it will open a secret elevator to a spaceship…I think…maybe.

Duey’s heritage

Little clues indicate that Duey is French. The city of Gallipolis, located just across the Ohio River from Point Pleasant was originally settled by the French. In 1749, the French created Point Pleasant as a trading post. Although many of those first French settlers in the area died out or disappeared…

Agent Hisato Ikeda

During my research, I came across an account of a strange man who was spotted in Point Pleasant at the height of the Mothman sightings in the late 60s. The man was described as wearing a black suit, asking lots of questions, and exhibiting odd behavior and movements. My MIB Agent Ikeda is the sleeked out next generation version of this very odd little man.

Harbinger

There are many theories as to who/what Mothman is. One such theory is that he is a harbinger that precedes any major disaster. In my book, his Tokyo counterparts, Ren and Katsu, are considered Tengu, which are also mythical birdman-like creatures and have also been rumored to be harbingers of disaster. They’re kind of like the Mothman of the Far East. Thought it would be cool to tie together similar myths from different cultures.

What book was Bridget ranting about in chapter 1?

She had just read Book of the Lost.

More Easter Egg posts on my novels: Of Sun & Moon | Whispering Evil | Midnight Child | Shadows Rising | Book of the Lost

More Behind the Scenes for Mothman Mysteries: BRAND | Cover | Music

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