Book word count

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by ryan123450, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. ryan123450

    ryan123450 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Is there any way to find out the word count of Trek books? I'm interested in seeing how long books are compared to each other, especially the 1980s stuff compared to the 90s book and the modern books.

    Any one know of a way of doing that?
     
  2. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    A lot of the pages for the specific books on sites like Amazon or Barnes & Noble.com will give you a page count in the technical information.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But page count isn't a consistent indicator of word count, since font size can vary.
     
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  4. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Sorry, I misread that as page count.
     
  5. Dimesdan

    Dimesdan Living the Irish dream. Premium Member

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    In that case, is there a way to find out other than asking you and the other authors each time a new story is released?
     
  6. JeBuS

    JeBuS Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Go on amazon, find the page count in the description. Go to the book preview, find a page that is full of text, count the words. Multiply the page count by the count of words. That's a fairly representative estimate of word count.
     
  7. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Commodore Commodore

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    I would have to agree with that since a number of the 1980's novels, even though they were only about 2 inches thick (and 170 some pages long), the font was something like a 5 or 6 point font (I'm thinking of The Klingon Gambit and The Covenant Of The Crown), compared to the later-80's or even modern books that seem to be around an 11 or 12 point font.
     
  8. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Two inches?
     
  9. ATimson

    ATimson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Buy the ebook, strip the DRM, and do the word count yourself. (Probably easiest to use Calibre to convert to RTF, then open the resulting file in the word processor of your choice.)

    It'll include the front matter, ads etc. - unless you strip those out - but it'll get you into the rough ballpark.
     
  10. garamet

    garamet Writer Admiral

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    If it's any help, the contract for Dwellers in the Crucible required 100K words. (Not sure if that was for all of the 80s novels.) For the "giant" novels like Strangers from the Sky, it was 125K.
     
  11. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    My novels have all ranged from 60,000 words to 100,000 words, depending. Both The Art of the Impossible and Articles of the Federation hit 100K.
     
  12. bfollowell

    bfollowell Captain Captain

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    That's what I was thinking. In what strange, alternate universe have we ever had two inch think Trek novels? I can only recall ever seeing maybe one Trek title that was ever much over one inch thick and that was the Star Trek Encyclopedia! The largest of the old Trek hardcovers were at most maybe about one inch thick.
     
  13. Vendikarr

    Vendikarr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Two centimeters would be closer than inches.
     
  14. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    My shortest Star Trek novel was Wildfire, at 52,000 words; my longest so far has been Vanguard: Reap the Whirlwind, which clocked in at roughly 125,000. Most of my novels range in length from 80k-95k words.

    Sometimes, I deliberately aim shorter to keep a lighter story from bogging down. Example: the upcoming Seekers #1 is only 75k words, because it's meant to be a light, fast, fun adventure. By contrast, the Section 31 novel I'll be finishing over the next couple of days will run approximately 91k words.
     
  15. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Commodore Commodore

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    "Star Trek Odyssey" by William Shatner clock's in at 1 inch and 31/32nds of an inch.

    "Watching The Clock" is 1 inch.

    So I was a little off. Blame the Government of Ontario for not teaching how to measure in American standard.
     
  16. Eleven Days of Christmas

    Eleven Days of Christmas Rear Admiral Moderator

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    Or thank them for teaching you the system most of the rest of the world uses... :devil:
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    This thread prompted me to update my word count list on my blog:

    http://christopherlbennett.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/let-me-count-the-words/

    My Trek novel counts add up as follows:

    Ex Machina: 110,000
    Orion’s Hounds: 105,000
    The Buried Age: 132,000
    Places of Exile: 55,000
    Greater Than the Sum: 78,500
    Over a Torrent Sea: 89,000
    Watching the Clock: 125,000
    Forgotten History: 85,500
    A Choice of Futures: 80,500
    Tower of Babel (pending): 84,000

    Note that they mostly fall into two length ranges, 100K-plus and c. 80K, with PoE as the outlier. The distinguishing feature is that most of the 100K novels were done for Marco Palmieri (except for WtC, which was commissioned by Jaime Costas) and most of the 80K ones were done for Margaret Clark (except for OaTS, which was for Marco). Apparently Marco just preferred longer novels. Although my contracts for my next two ENT novels specify an 80-100K range, so I'm able to go longer again (which is good, since I felt a little cramped on the first two).
     
  18. ATimson

    ATimson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Good for you since you have room to breathe, and good for readers because we get more Trek and better value for money. Longer books are a win all around!

    (Well, except for Therin and anybody else who's perpetually behind. ;))
     
  19. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    Longer books are not always a "win." As my former writing partner and editor John Ordover once said, "No well-written book is too long, and no poorly written book is ever short enough." In my opinion, a book should be as long as it needs to be to tell its tale well—and not a word longer than that.
     
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  20. ATimson

    ATimson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You're right, in that a book shouldn't be padded out to longer than it needs to be. But if I'm paying the same price for two books, both at their natural length and both equally enjoyable otherwise, I'm going to be more favorably inclined towards the longer one.

    Pocket could always start including "backup" short stories/novellas, similar to what some comics do, letting the main book stay at its best length while still providing consistently longer books.

    (Yes, I know that won't happen, for many reasons. I can dream. :))