Do Word Counts Count? 2014 update

Last year, I compiled a post called Do Word Counts Count? which continues to be the single most viewed post on my blog. It’s not a shock that authors are perplexed when it comes to the subject of word counts. There seems to be no single resource. No hard and fast rules.

So in lieu of rules, I offer you examples. Here’s a look at word counts for some of the most popular YA books on the market.

Barnes & Noble Bestselling Teen Fiction 9/10/2014
Novel Page Count Word Count*
If I Stay by Gayle Foreman 320 80,000
Where She Went by Gale Foreman 304 76,000
The Maze Runner by James Dashner 400 100,000
Four by Veronica Roth 304 76,000
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 384 96,000
The Revenge of Seven by Pittacus Lore 371 92,750
The Giver by Lois Lowry 240 60,000   LOWEST
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green 336 84,000
Gone by Michael Grant 576 144,000  HIGHEST
The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey 320 80,000
*Word counts are estimated based on the standard of 250 words per page

B & N Bestsellers Average Word Count: 88,875

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 9/10/13
Novel Words
Lending Light by Rose Christo 94,250
Courting Magic by Stephanie Burgis 34,590  LOWEST
Haunted by Sherry H. Dec 57,920
Rooming with Ash by Zee King 48,150
The Dogs of Balboa by Rose Christo 81,420
The Posterchildren: Origins by Kitty Burroughs 133,870  HIGHEST
B Chord by Mike Robertson 84,440
Notice Me by Lili Lam 92,360
Storm Shells by GJ Walker-Smith 126,680
Ashley Fulton & the Secret of Europe by Ross Rossin 85,610

Smashwords Bestsellers Average Word Count: 83, 829

I found it interesting that a novella made it into the Smashwords bestsellers. If you read my article of last year, you’ll see one novella in that list too. Also, our highest word count, The Posterchildren: Origins, appeared on last year’s list; however, the author must have uploaded a lengthier, revised version as last year’s word count was only 127,604 (compared to stated 133,870 words this year).

And speaking of last year, I thought it would be fun to compare these numbers to the article I wrote last year to see if I could spot any trends. And I did. Average words counts for 2014 are noticeably lower than those of last year. The Smashwords (indie and small press) novels dipped slightly in word counts; while the traditionally published bestsellers from B&N greatly decreased in word count, nearly meeting the typically lower counts of the indies.



Did indies get it right? Are traditionally published authors now scrambling to produce shorter works? Is less more in the fiction novel industry? I’ll let you be the judge.

Hot off the Press: Warrior by Kasi Blake

Today I’m celebrating the release of my Society sister Kasi Blake’s newest novel, Warrior (Order of the Spirit Realm, #3)Kasi is taking the reins over my blog today to give you the scoop, so without further ado…



Official Release Date: 7/13/14

Warrior at Amazon
Warrior at B&N
Warrior at Smashwords

Connect with Kasi on Twitter

This is the third book in the Order of the Spirit Realm Series. If you haven’t read them, start with BAIT. It is free at most online ebook vendors such as Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Smashwords, etc.

This book begins two years after HUNTER ended. Bay-Lee is fighting a Devil Tree while her mentor and boyfriend, Nick Gallos, watches from the sidelines. Things are tense between them. She wants to amp up their relationship, but Nick has put on the brakes. He’s got one foot out the door, and she doesn’t know what to do about it.

WARRIOR brings about closure and change, some good and some bad. Together, Nick and Bay-Lee will take on the werewolf pack that killed her mother, face their twisted pasts, and face a friend turned enemy.

Quotes from WARRIOR:

Bay-Lee: You never told me I wasn’t supposed to kill it. You told me I couldn’t kill it.
Nick: I should have known you’d take that as a challenge.

Keisha: Oh, don’t play Miss Innocent with me, girl. It was your idea for me to trade places with Nick’s banshee, but you’ve been wearing a pouty face ever since.
Bay-Lee: I don’t have a pouty face.
Keisha: Sure you don’t.

Bay-Lee (after knocking Keisha down): You hit on my boyfriend, so I thought I should hit on you.

Little girl: There’s a monster in my closet.

He added, “Reapers aren’t supposed to care.They don’t have compassion or love inside of them.”

“But you’re still human.”
“Because of you!” It sounded like an accusation instead of gratitude. “I haven’t lost my humanity because I still have you. His facial muscles tightened. “I can’t keep living like this.”
Nick threw the talisman down and stormed off, heading for the castle.
She scooped the talisman off the ground. It was precious, even if it was malfunctioning. Without it Nick wouldn’t be able to stay with her. She ran until she caught up with him. Slipping it into his hand, she begged him to keep using it. “At least until we find something else. Please.”

The purple half-circles beneath his eyes attested to his lack of sleep and made her want to cry. She cringed when he slipped the thing around his neck. Asking him to live like this was horrible, but she couldn’t let him go, not yet.


Going into 2014

Those who know me well, know that I’m not the most organized person in the world. Sure, my laundry’s hopelessly backed up, I have five (count’em five) drawers that are perma-classified as catch-all junk drawers, and my Christmas decorations (though in boxes) are still sitting at the bottom of the stairs which is an all-time record for me…but that doesn’t mean I don’t think about the future.


I am jump-up-and-down stark raving excited about writing in 2014. Continue reading “Going into 2014”