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
|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
|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.
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.