Big Books And Deadlines
I underestimated how many words my co-writer Linda and I needed for each planned scene in our Wanderer of Worlds contemporary fantasy series. As a result, we’ve missed our self-imposed December 2014 deadline, for sure. An extra 70-90K will do that to you; it ate into our editing schedule, which also doubles because the wordcount doubled.
Since it’s really book one expanding into two, we had to squish a new title, Untethered, between the original one and two. Each title and cover makes sense to the story found within.
Axiom was only supposed to be between 80-100K words long but our new guess, using current wordcounts per scene as a guide, is around the 180K mark. Book One has grown into a monster, which poses a costing problem that will affect our readership.
Points I Had To Consider
Even though thick books are often loved by fantasy readers and there’s perceived value in a large tome, e-readers don’t show the size of the spine. The paperback itself would be pricey, and I’m trying to attract a readership to the series. There’s a certain point when price becomes a sticking point, and it’s lower for unknown authors. I want to make the paperbacks as affordable as possible, and I can’t do that if there’s 600 pages to print. The print cost will be high. If I can get it down to 300 pages each, I can be under $10 which is an attractive price for a paperback.
Since I have a multiple book series, the decision to split the first book doesn’t impact the overall feel of the series. There are critical story points in a few places throughout book one that I can cut at rather than just randomly ending, though I will have to reshuffle the scenes a little bit. Splitting the books also gives me the added benefit of being one book ahead of the release dates, which isn’t much of a cushion but it’s better than nothing. I don’t want a big break between books coming out… certainly not near the start.
We want to release two books a year… it’s achievable if we stay focussed, without rushing. That would see the whole series in three and a half years if we keep that momentum. It’s hard to know what kind of momentum I’ll have next year, because I’ll be able to write freely every day. At the moment I only have two or three proper writing days a week because I have a child in kindy. When she starts school, I’m going to double that writing time… which I mean to double my output with. It’s entirely possible I can achieve more than two books a year… but I don’t want to make any more promises I can’t keep or deadlines zipping past.