Wasteland Stats

Out of curiosity, I combined every single book of The Wasteland Chronicles into a master copy, including the second draft of Xenofall. I wanted to get a final word count, and since I think Xenofall will stay at a steady word count, I think these numbers are more or less concrete, give or take a few thousand words.

In its entirety, The Wasteland Chronicles is 459,206 words. That’s a lot of words. That’s 886 pages single-spaced Times New Roman 12 point font with a .25″ indent and 1″ margins (you know, for anyone interested).

I estimated I started working on the series seriously in September 2012, so let’s just say September 1 of that year. That’s 615 days ago, which really doesn’t seem like all that much. That’s an average of writing 747 words a day (again, which isn’t all that much, though that’s taking out editing time and stuff. I wasn’t writing new content for all of those daysmaybe two-thirds or so).

Word counts:

Apocalypse: 40,934

Origins: 49,692

Evolution: 61,327

Revelation: 72,801

Darkness: 72,751

Extinction: 73,552

Xenofall: 88,149 (currently)

Glossary: 5,558

The rest of the words come from the chapter titles, about the author, other randomness that’s not part of the story.

The main pattern, obviously, is that each book gets longer. I’d like to think it’s me developing my skills as an author more (let’s hope). The first book especially is lacking in description, and I don’t really hit that stride in full until Evolution and Revelation.

Throughout the entire series, the prefix “xeno” appears 716 times. That’s actually a lot less than I expected.

Assuming you were to buy all seven books (the first being free), you’d pay $17.94. Whoa, highway robbery!

Anyway, all this number crunching was a fun break, but now I have to get back to editing. I hope to have the second draft wrapped in the next couple of days.

Comment Section

  • Your word counts are interesting and this is a point I made in a comment on the Bookseller article about Patterson, Childs etc complaining about the Amazon/Hachette negotiation – one of the things we indies can do very well is publish serialised novels, or series novels, in a much shorter, punchier form than traditional publishing can do. 40-50,000 words is a good form, I think, especially for the start of a series and then, as you progress, stories can get longer. This is exactly what you’ve done and what I’ll be doing with my own series. 49,000 is my opener and then I’ll move to the 80,000 mark for my second book. Ebooks give indies a great advantage here – flexibility.

    • Absolutely. The format, and our freedom, allows us to try things and experiment. Interestingly, shorter novels and serials hearken back to the old days where many novels were serialized in periodicals (War and Peace, A Tale of Two Cities, to name a couple).

      In my experience, I still think readers expect, at least in science fiction, to have a longer work, and many of the reviews on Apocalypse reflect this. That’s why I’m only going to write full-length novels from now on. Also keep in mind that having a shorter first work will prime readers to think ALL of your books are short, whether they are or not.

      I’m actually in the process of fiddling with Apocalypse to see if I can fill it out a bit more, mainly because it was my first work and is quite a bit rougher than all the others. I don’t think I hit my stride until book 4.

      Thanks for your comment…I’m actually about to go read that Bookseller article. Best of luck, and let me know when your book comes out!

      • It comes out Monday 7th July – in a few days. As for your comments about serialisation – I agree. However, I do think that readers are getting used to the shorter format and it’s up to us to make it clear to them. Interested to see what your reviews have said about it thought – thanks for the heads up.

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