May 28, 2017, 01:20:32 PM

Author Topic: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels  (Read 115211 times)

Offline visoin6425

Re: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels
« Reply #105 on: September 25, 2012, 06:44:22 PM »
Well. I'm currently at about 100+ thousand words in my book, and I believe it'll be about 20 more thousand words before I'm done telling my tale. Do you think is it too much? I mean, would you read a debut book going at possibly 150k+ words with glee, or avoid it like the bubonic plague?
Personally, I don't care how long a book is, or if it's the authors first or 50th book. If the premise is good and catches my attention, I'll read it.
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Offline Yora

Re: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels
« Reply #106 on: November 09, 2014, 03:04:26 PM »
I've been looking up the word counts of some Sword & Sorcery writers, and thought these numbers might be of interest to some of you here:

Conan by Robert Howard:

    The Phoenix on the Sword: 8,823
    The Scarlet Citadel: 15,446
    The Tower of the Elephant: 9,726
    Black Colossus: 14,346
    The Slithering Shadow: 12,897
    The Pool of the Black One: 11,252
    Rogues in the House: 9,676
    The Frost Giant’s Daughter: 3,284
    Iron Shadows in the Moon: 12,123
    Queen of the Black Coast: 11,334
    The Devil in Iron: 12,292
    The People of the Black Circle: 30,890
    A Witch Shall be Born: 16,337
    Jewels of Gwahlur: 17,167
    Beyond the Black River: 21,799
    Shadows in Zamboula: 12,146
    The Hour of the Dragon: 72,375
    Red Nails: 30,946
    Complete Conan Saga: 323,000

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser by Fritz Leiber:

    The Jewels in the Forest: 14,215
    The Bleak Shore: 4,272
    The Howling Tower: 5,855
    The Sunken Land: 6,900
    Thieves’ House: 12,235
    Adept’s Gambit: 31,901
    Claws from the Night: 9,410
    The Seven Black Priests: 9,523
    Lean Times in Lankhmar: 15,400
    When the Sea-King’s away: 9,806
    The Cloud of Hate: 4,929
    Bazaar of the Bizarre: 9,653
    Their Mistress, the Sea: 1,316
    The Wrong Beach: 2,267
    The Circle Curse: 3,596
    The Price of Pain-Ease: 4,650

Elric of Melnibone by Micheal Moorcock

    Elric of Melnibone: 47,954
    The Sailor on the Seas of Fate: 23,753
    The Weird of the White Wolf: 39,064
    The Sleeping Sorceress: 98,000
    The Bane of the Black Sword: 45,000
    Stormbringer: 71,000

The Witcher by Andrzej Sapkowski

    The Witcher: 10,213
    A Grain of Truth: 10,418
    The Lesser Evil: 12,764
    A Question of Price: 13,105
    The Edge of the World: 14,395
    The Last Wish: 18,349
    The Voice of Reason: 12,495

Also, a couple of the most famous stories by H.P. Lovecraft

    Dagon: 2,216
    The Lurking Fear: 8,164
    The Rats in the Walls: 7,974
    The Shunned House: 10,742
    The Call of Cthulhu: 11,905
    The Case of Charles Dexter Ward: 51,112
    The Colour out of Space: 12,457
    The Dunwhich Horror: 17,524
    The Whisperer in Darkness: 26,624
    At the Mountains of Madness: 40,881
    The Shadow over Innsmouth: 27,026
    The Thing on the Doorstep: 10,954
« Last Edit: November 09, 2014, 03:08:53 PM by Yora »
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Offline Roxxsmom

Re: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels
« Reply #107 on: December 06, 2014, 04:34:43 AM »
150k is long for a debut in pretty much any other genre you can name, but I think epic fantasy gets a free pass because of reader expectations. 150k is a nice length, I think - long enough to look substantial on the bookshop shelves, but short enough not to put people off. I think Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch's first books were a bit longer, but not by much.

I think they were both in the neighborhood of 190k. Here in the states, we're told not to go much above 120k words for any fantasy genre http://theswivet.blogspot.com/2008/03/on-word-counts-and-novel-length.html. There are some exceptions, of course (Scott Lynch, for one), but the conventional wisdom is that epic fantasy is a hard genre to debut in and you have to have something truly exceptional (and even then, a large number of agents will just see that word count and not even look at the query).

Of course, I've also been told that this is pretty much the case for any genre.


Offline Lady_Ty

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Re: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels
« Reply #108 on: September 06, 2016, 02:25:45 AM »
This thread deserves a bump as it is interesting and some new members may not know it exists. Hopefully may be inspiring to our writers.
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Offline Lanko

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Re: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels
« Reply #109 on: September 06, 2016, 02:45:30 AM »
A while ago I found a website that seemed to contain the word count for every novel, but I can't find it again...

EDIT: I managed to find it!

http://www.readinglength.com
« Last Edit: September 06, 2016, 02:56:42 AM by Lanko »
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Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels
« Reply #110 on: September 06, 2016, 04:53:41 AM »
A while ago I found a website that seemed to contain the word count for every novel, but I can't find it again...

EDIT: I managed to find it!

http://www.readinglength.com

You have just made my day. As an aspiring writer, I like to know the word counts of what's getting published.

Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels
« Reply #111 on: September 06, 2016, 04:59:16 AM »
Unfortunately, I think it is more of an estimate than an actual word count. I looked up some books for which I already knew the word count, and it usually overestimated the length.

Offline Lanko

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Re: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels
« Reply #112 on: September 06, 2016, 06:18:31 AM »
Unfortunately, I think it is more of an estimate than an actual word count. I looked up some books for which I already knew the word count, and it usually overestimated the length.

I just had the same experience in Goodreads right now. Binti was displayed as having 94 pages, but it was over after 47. While not the same thing as word count, that was quite a difference...
I guess it also doesn't help how they are calculating it. Can't know if it's a version with previews of the next book, a new intro, etc... 
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Offline JamesLatimer

Re: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels
« Reply #113 on: September 07, 2016, 02:32:37 PM »
It would be nice in the days of different formats if Amazon et al. listed things by wordcount rather than pages. Oh well.

As for me, this list gives me hope because even though I've trimmed my WIP down to 155k (from about 190), I don't think it will go any further, and it may even have to get longer again depending on feedback...

Offline JKyleMcNeal

Re: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels
« Reply #114 on: September 12, 2016, 06:34:04 PM »
This thread deserves a bump as it is interesting and some new members may not know it exists. Hopefully may be inspiring to our writers.

Thanks much for "bumping" this.  My initial manuscript was close to 175K words and I was told repeatedly that this length would doom any chance I had of being published (was told to cut chapters until I hit 120K words).  Ultimately, I was able to refine it to under 150K but still had the impression the book was overly long for a debut.  It's set to be published next June (2017), but I've still been worried the length might turn off some readers.  I didn't really have a good feel for how thick the book would be at publication (since the layout has not yet been completed), but seeing other series at or well above the word count of my manuscript brings me comfort.


Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: Word Counts of Epic Fantasy Novels
« Reply #115 on: September 13, 2016, 03:49:54 AM »
This thread deserves a bump as it is interesting and some new members may not know it exists. Hopefully may be inspiring to our writers.

Thanks much for "bumping" this.  My initial manuscript was close to 175K words and I was told repeatedly that this length would doom any chance I had of being published (was told to cut chapters until I hit 120K words).  Ultimately, I was able to refine it to under 150K but still had the impression the book was overly long for a debut.  It's set to be published next June (2017), but I've still been worried the length might turn off some readers.  I didn't really have a good feel for how thick the book would be at publication (since the layout has not yet been completed), but seeing other series at or well above the word count of my manuscript brings me comfort.

I'm curious. What's the book title, and who's the publisher? I'm always interested to find new writers.

And I don't think the length will put off readers. The biggest hurdle is getting an agent and a publisher. Readers tend not to care too much about the length of the book, as long as every word counts.

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