Pages vs. Word Counts

I sometimes get negative reviews from people who are confused (aka pissed off) at the page count of my books versus the word count of my books. Some of my books have tiny fonts, some have big fonts, some have retardedly big fonts. Some have illustrations. Some have a lot of blank space. There’s a bizarro catalog in the backs of the books that gets longer every year. So the page count really doesn’t have any impact on the length of the story. Unfortunately, the page count does have an impact on the price of the book, so I understand why some readers get pissed off at the big fonts. This is why Rose at Eraserhead Press doesn’t let me use big fonts or a lot of blank space these days (even though I personally like the look/feel of these books).

To figure out the real lengths of my books you’d have to look at the word counts, rather than page counts. Here is a list of my books from longest to shortest based on word count:

Electric Jesus Corpse – 150,000 words
Satan Burger – 75,000 words
Punk Land – 55,000 words
Cybernetrix – 45,000 words
Apeshit – 40,000 words
The Cannibals of Candyland – 35,000 words
The Egg Man – 35,000 words
Ugly Heaven – 30,000 words
Adolf in Wonderland – 30,000 words
Sex and Death in Television Town – 28,000 words
Menstruating Mall – 25,000 words
Sausagey Santa – 23,000 words
Fishy-fleshed – 20,000 words
The Haunted Vagina – 20,000 words
Razor Wire Pubic Hair – 20,000 words
Teeth and Tongue Landscape – 20,000 words
Steel Breakfast Era – 20,000 words
Sea of the Patchwork Cats – 18,000 words
War Slut – 18,000 words
Ultra Fuckers – 16,000 words
Faggiest Vampire – 14,000 words
Baby Jesus Butt Plug – 9,000 words

Although I think these reviewers’ complaints are completely valid, many of them have the tendency to claim that my books are actually short stories stretched out with big font and blank space to turn them into 200 page novels. And they say that if a mainstream publisher were to release my books they would only be 10-20 pages long. This is a pretty big exaggeration. A short story is less than 7,500 words. Anything longer than that is a novella or a novel (though I prefer the term short novel instead of novella). My children’s books Faggiest Vampire and Baby Jesus Butt Plug are close to short stories, but all children’s books have low word counts. A normal book has about 250 words per page, so if one of my books were published by a mainstream publisher…let’s say “The Menstruating Mall” which is 25,000 words… it would actually be 100 pages long (rather than 212). So, yeah, the page count is misleading, but it is far from a 10-20 page short story. But is it a ripoff? The industry standard for a 100 page trade paperback is $10 and industry standard for a 200 page book is $12. Menstruating Mall is $10.75 on amazon.com, so it is closer to the price of a 100 page book than a 200 page book. But I agree the page count is misleading. Sorry about that. I do want to add that my newer books, such as Cybernetrix, actually are at a standard font size and do have an average of 250 words per page.

For those of you (like myself) who preferred the large font books, sorry but you won’t be seeing them anymore (except in my children’s books). For those of you who dislike the large font books, these are the books to avoid: Menstruating Mall, Fishy-fleshed, Baby Jesus Butt Plug, Razor Wire Pubic Hair, and Faggiest Vampire (though Faggiest Vampire is a children’s book).

11 Responses to “Pages vs. Word Counts”

  1. Kate Daubert Says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I honestly appreciate the fact that you gave us this info. (It is very kind of you.)

    But can I just say…to the people that are bitching, get the hell over it! If you like what you’re reading, then just enjoy it…who gives a shit if it’s 100 pages with small font or 150 pages with larger font. Jesus, aren’t there more important things to complain and worry about? If it bothers you that much, then don’t read the damn book. I’m a huge Mellick fan, and I don’t care what size font is used or what the damn page count is….mind you, I feel that way whether it be his books or any book I’m reading that I truly like. If you’re complaining about price, what’s there to complain about? I practically live in bookstores or researching new books online, and most paperwork books sell for about $13-$16….most of Mellick’s books are far cheaper than that. Despite the fact that, in my opinion, it’s about quality not quantity anyway. My advice to those who’s main concerns are font and book size, I have a suggestion…Oprah’s book club. Christ….

  2. Alexander Jerusalem Says:

    The first book of yours that I read was Baby Jesus Butt Plug. The second I read was Electric Jesus Corpse. I guess I am a man of extremes. Or possibly a man of stupid, meaningless coincidences.

  3. First I ever read was BABY JESUS BUTT PLUG. Now that I think about it, I guess it was a children’s book, which makes a lot of sense now. And here I was, thinking all your books were written the same way… I think I may read ELECTRIC JESUS CORPSE next. Sorry for jumping to conclusions.

  4. carltonmellick Says:

    Mike, I recommend not reading EJC. I wrote it when I was 18 so it is far from my best book.

  5. I’d read Razor Wire Pubic Hair of The Egg Man next if I were you Mike.

    And Carlton, what’s the “rule” on having something be considered a novel as opposed to a novella or short novel? What’s the word count? I can never seem to find a good answer to that. If I remember for NaNoWriMo it’s 20,000 words… so would that be it?

  6. chris benton Says:

    Christ in a crockpot, what these readers don’t realize is that you’re a BOOK BUILDER as well as a storyteller. This is the twenty-first century, so these victorians better set there clocks straight. Reading is a sensuous experience, so if text modifying enhances the chances for that total net-effect then bring it on…

  7. When it comes to a good book or movie I personally never what the story to end. But I am a true believer in quality over quantity.

    My First and FAVORITE book by Mellick is Sunset with a Beard. It is the one of the best reads, but too bad I lent it out to a friend I am no longer in touch with. “sigh”
    Then I read Satan Burger. For you who have not read is book it’s great. I would say it’s a must read if you are a big fan of the Mellick.

  8. James Colton Says:

    Personally, the only time CMIII’s page count has come up in my conversations with others is in the context of “I read this book in two hours, and I’m going to read it again tomorrow.” I’ve never felt that I’ve overpaid for a Carlton Mellick book because the experience I pay for isn’t protracted and coated in over expressive tripe. Since when is a short book a bad book? I’ve read my Mellick collection ten times over, but for my other, longer books, the likelihood of a reread is fairly low in comparison.

  9. In all honesty, if I were given $10 right now and thrown into a Barnes & Nobles and told to only buy a Mellick book, I would either go for: THE EGG MAN, ADOLF IN WONDERLAND, or OCEAN OF LARD (I believe that’s what it was called) based purely on the back cover descriptions.

    I honestly love discovering new authors I completely overlooked previously and, this is a little off-topic, but most recently, I just finished reading SQUID PULP BLUES and minus the typos, it is one of the better character/dialogue-driven novels I have read in a while. Also, it is the fastest Bizarro book I have ever read, with SHARK HUNTING IN PARADISE ISLAND coming in at a close second and HOUSE OF HOUSES and JACK & MR. GRIN at a close second. I generally read “really” slowly and this isn’t because I have dyslexia or ADD or some sort of learning problem; I tend to reread certain pages 2 or 3 times before moving on because for some reason, I like to grasp everything in one go. I’ve re-read certain books before, but generally, I stray from that. I keep my books around in case I remember something I liked sometime later and decide to go back and leaf through some pages to reignite some memories.

    I’ve been following the Bizarro genre for a little while now and I can honestly say that the majority of my library now comprises of Bizarro texts from almost every author in the genre. At my college, almost everyone who as a bookshelf prides themselves with their books and knowledge but once they enter my room, they don’t know what to say. I have yet to meet a person who’s read at least one of the Bizarro books I own and this is a great thing since I usually spend some time (about half an hour) telling them all about the genre and its goals/authors. I have only lent out the ORANGE STARTER KIT (which I still have not recovered,) IT CAME FROM BELOW THE BELT, JACK & MR. GRIN, and THE BABY JESUS BUTT-PLUG. In retrospect, I apologize Carlton, for giving these people the BABY JESUS BUTT-PLUG as an introduction to your books because it is the only book of yours that I currently own and usually, I tell them that you are one of the originators of the genre. Out of the 6 people I know who have read it, only 1 enjoyed it and this always amuses me because it’s the only book they like. No other Bizarro book satisfies their need for the weird so I think I’ll suggest FAGGIEST VAMPIRE to them.

    But back on the topic, BABY JESUS BUTT PLUG was actually my very first Bizarro book I ever bought, along with KAFKA EFFEKT and IT CAME FROM BELOW THE BELT (because I always buy my books in threes) and like I said before: BABY JESUS BUTT PLUG just wasn’t for me… And then I gave up on you Carlton. But now, just like I recently discovered with Jordan, I think I may really enjoy your writing, once I actually pick up one of your actual (non-children’s stories) books. So I can still say with a smile that Carlton, you are a new author to me. :)

    And I just realized that it never hurts to ask, I just got a couple of great suggestions on this page alone!!! (Sorry for the extremely long message.)

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