A Thousand Words: They’re Not Worth as Much as You Think



A picture is worth a thousand words.  That’s what we’re lead to believe, but what exactly does it mean.  Taken figuratively, I suppose it means you’d rather look at me than talk to me.  I get that.  There are plenty of times my wife would prefer not to have to do either one.  But in a more literal sense, a picture is worth a thousand words means nothing unless we can somehow place a monetary value on a single word.  Through sheer diligence, persistence and a fair amount of boredom, I’ve managed to do just that.


A shot at redemption 3dAs I’ve mentioned a time or two (or twelve) in the past, I cut a significant chunk out of the original A Shot at Redemption manuscript.   That chunk amounted to about twenty percent, slightly over 40,000 words or 126 pages.  126, you might be interested to know, goes into 40,000 right around 300 times.  Put another way, wer’e looking at about 300 words per page.  What does that have to do with the price of ink in China?  A lot, actually.  Even though my revision greatly improved the overall quality of the book, my main objective, at least primarily, was to cut cost.  Initially, I would have had to price the paperback at over $13.00 just to break even.  That wasn’t gonna sell a lot of books.  I needed to either limit myself to digital or find a way to bring the cost down.  My hard work paid off and potential customers can now benefit by paying less.


You’ve heard all that before so I’ll get to the point.  When it was all said and done, my print on demand cost dropped by $1.26 per copy.  It’s easy enough to do the math on that one.  I cut 126 pages.  My cost went down $1.26.   That’s a penny per page.  We’ve already established our 300 word per page estimate.  That suggests a single word is word .003 cents.   A thousand words would be in the neighborhood of three and a half pages.  So, the next time someone says a picture is worth a thousand words, give them a nickel and wait for your change.


There is one thing I still don’t understand.  The new print version of A Shot at Redemption is 424 pages.  It’s definitely costing more than $4.24 to print.  So, the words I left in are somehow worth more than the ones I cut out.  I guess that means I cut the right ones.  Bestseller’s list here I come!


In next week’s blog post, perhaps we’ll discuss the mathematical unlikelihood of an actual five dollar word.  Based on the formula outlined above, it would be longer than my entire book.  Now if a picture was worth a thousand of those words….   Forget it.  I’m not that bored.

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