Mothman Mysteries in real life

Something to try when you visit the Mothman Festival next weekend…

The large, fingerprint sized knothole in the tree on this monument always seemed odd to me so I gave it a purpose.


Do word counts count? 2018 edition

Has it been a year already? Time flies when you’re writing words. But just how many words should we be writing? Here’s my annual look at YA word counts for traditionally published and indie authors.

To get a feel for the mainstream market, I usually pull Barnes & Noble’s list of teen bestsellers, but I’d like to change it up a little and instead take a peek at the New York Times.

NY Times Young Adult Hardcover Bestsellers List July 29, 2018
(released early online)

 Title  Word Count*
 The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas  111,750
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi 134,250
Hocus Pocus and the All New Sequel by AW Jantha 132,000
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green 76,000
One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus 92,000
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds 80,000
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert 92,000
Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli 92,000
Legendary by Stephanie Garber 116,000
The Fates Divide by Veronica Roth 116,000

Average: 94,200
Median: 92,000

*Word counts estimated based on reported page count

I don’t know about you, but for me, the three bestsellers at 92,000 words really pops out. Two more are just 14,000 words more at 116,000. Two more are within just 16,000 less words at 76,000 and 80,000.

We now take a look at the Smashwords Young Adult or Teen bestsellers to get a look at the books getting notice aside of the big publishing houses. Unlike the NY Times list, this list not only includes novels, but novellas, novellettes, shorts, minis, and everything in between.

Smashwords Bestselling Young Adult or Teen – July 25, 2018
Note: Includes only English books and excludes book sets

 Title  Word Count
 Skating Through by Jennifer Cosgrove  70,430
Her Elysium by Emmy Engberts 81,440
No Sad Songs for Me by Daniel Fleischhacker 67,740
Ice Kingdom by Tiana Warner 85,790
Goldie the Special Kitten by Linda J Oliver 2,450   (selling for $7.99)
Quantum Civil War by Stephen Arseneault 90,210
The Burning Claw by Quinn Loftis 125,540
Cinderella Boy by Kristina Meister 89,180
Luna of Mine by Quinn Loftis 86,320
Love is Blind by Shayna Bueckert 74,170

Above chart includes actual reported word counts.

Average: 77,327   Average excluding 2,450 book: 85,790
Median: 83,615

Most impressive is Goldie the Special Kittenwhich hits the list at a microscopic 2,450 words but sells for $7.99 a copy! The description is riddled with grammatical and typographical errors, but the cover has a kitten in a toilet, so there’s that.

These numbers show a slight decrease from the 2016 B&N numbers, compared to the larger decrease shown in Smashwords word counts.

Bottom Line (yes, I know it’s not really at the bottom)
For 2018, YA bestsellers seem to be steadily set at 85-95,000 words, with 92,000 being a seemingly magic number.

And speaking of past years, how does 2018 measure up?

Smashwords Bestsellers Average Word Counts
2018: 85,790 (excluding Special Kitten)
2016: 99,468
2014: 83,829

B&N and NY Times Bestsellers Average Word Counts
NYT 2018: 94,200
B&N 2016: 95,225
B&N 2014: 88,875

Check out past Word Counts articles on this blog…
Do Word Counts Count 2016 edition
Do Word Counts Count 2015
Do Word Counts Count? 2014 update
Do word counts count?2013







Late summer events for readers

A couple of big events are coming up that are sure to be fun for any reader.

First up is Once Upon an Author Signing at the Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth, Michigan. There are panels for writers on Aug. 10 with an toga-themed awards banquet that evening. The author signing will be held the next day, Saturday, Aug. 11.

Over 70 authors will be in attendance including Quinn Loftis, Rue Volley, and yours truly. I’m probably most excited to see Christy Sloat. She was a member of The Society of YA Storytellers with me. One of the few that I’ve never met in person…yet!

The event is hosted by award winning novelist Stacey Rourke, author of the Legends Saga and Unfortunate Souls Chronicles among many other fantastic reads. Tickets are still available at the event site.

The other always awesomesauce event is Mothman Festival. It’s coming up the weekend of September 15-16. Always kooky and full of fun, the festival has everything a fan of paranormal could ask for. I’ll be onsite in Saturday signing books and people watching. Typically I’m under the white tents behind the Mothman Statue. Stop by and say hi.


Book deals for Thanksgiving weekend

Just a quick heads up, mogdocs. Wrong Side of the Grave ebook will be on sale for 99 cents through the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Feel free to share this fun graphic with friends to let them know.

Also, author Kasi Blake (Order of the Spirit Realm series, Rules series) has shared with me that some of her books will be on sale around Thanksgiving too. Stop by my Facebook page on Wednesday to get more book deals. If you are an author with a deal, put your shameless plug in the comments.

‘Til then, have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving.


BeautifulF all reader photo on home page by Alex Geerts @unsplash.


Halloween memories from a bestseller

Thought it would be fun to share some insider favorite Halloween memories from one of my favorite authors. And she agreed!! So, here in pic form, straight from the undisputed Queen of Furball Nation herself, is Quinn Loftis’s favorite Halloweens.

Personally, the smurf costume has to be my favorite. Comment below to let us know which you like best, and don’t forget to pick up Quinn’s Grey Wolves series, werewolfy fun perfect for the season.

Happy Halloween Ya’ll!


Vacationing in the Lost City of Atlantis?

Ran across this today. Over the years, I’ve been known to send this travel advisory to enthusiastic Midnight Guardian readers.


The Mogdoc Royal Empire has been informed of your imminent crossing of the barrier. According to our records, you have been classified as HUMAN. Therefore, we would like to welcome you to the beautiful, lost continent of Atlantis.

We hope you find our residents charming. If any should extend an invitation to dinner, please do not hesitate to comply.

Just a few rules to help make your trip more enjoyable…

Bring a flashlight

The evil that banished our land across the barrier plunged us into a world without sun or moon, a land of forever night. From our experience, humans often find it difficult to see in the dark without assistance. This beacon will also make it easier for us to find you if you should escape become lost.

Discard your Token upon arrival

While it is true that humans must hold an Atlantis token to cross the barrier, once you arrive you should discard it or hand it over to the nearest mogdoc authority. Common sense may tell you that you need to hold onto it to get back, but common sense is so overrated.

Avoid the village known as Elsted

Please know that this destination is not a safe haven for humans as you may have been told. It is old, secluded, and infested with rodents.

Never question these rules.

You can trust us, we’re mogdocs.

We hungrily await your arrival.

Featured pic by Chen YiChun at

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