One, two, three … four books?

If you’ve been following me, you’ll know I made the recent decision to divvy up my 200k+ story into two books.
Yeah, I is fully scrapping that idea … er, what?
Hold on now. Let me explain … No, that’ll take far too long … let me sum up.

Part of the reason I wanted the story to be in one book is because I didn’t think it could bear being more than that. As it got bigger, I saw a spot where it could be cracked into two where a particular journey starts. Bonus: it happened to be near the middle of the story. The word count’s aren’t final, they’ll never be final until it’s published (what can I say? I love to tinker), but it’d be a rough 99k/107k depending on where my last round of editing leaves me.
Well done, subconscious, you made it so I could easily divide this bad boy into two.

Or did you?

See, while I was considering titles for this extra book, The Shadow Prince just popped into my head. I quite liked it, certainly better than I do for the other title I came up with (It looks so filler-ish to me).
But I had to put the idea to one side because … well … while the character in question is there for a large portion of the story, he’s not the focus in the second half. In fact, while I was going through my chapters, I discovered something wonderful: he practically owns the middle of the story. O_O
Cut The Rogue King down to where The Shadow Prince’s story begins and, right now, I’ve got a 57k first book (with a definite ‘there is more’ vibe. But y’all know that’s gonna happen anyway). Carry on The Shadow Prince to a nice conclusion and it hits a rough 54k mark (again that depends on the editing).
It’s official! I’ve enough for three books!

Or do I?

The whole problem I had with the single book was that it’d became too big for me to do anything with it. Agents and publishers wouldn’t take it based on its size and me being a debut author. Whereas going the self-publishing route and getting the thing edited would’ve costed me thousands (that’s doing it cheaply). In fact, most editors tend to stop their pricing at the 150k mark.
So having the first two in 57k and 54k chunks will make it much easier to manage on the editing front. That means The Shadow Prince is definitely here to stay as a sequel to The Rogue King.
But those two only account for the first half of the whole story. With the figures I have, the last book would end up being around the 90k mark. Unless … unless I split that into two as well. Then I’d end up with two books just under 50k. Decisions. Decisions …

Four books wouldn’t be too bad though, right? Or have I finally gone completely insane?

6 thoughts on “One, two, three … four books?

  1. Well, all writers are crazy. That's just sort of the natural state of affairs (electrons are spin up, writers are crazy). As for four books, well, there are a number of ways to pitch that. I've seen authors with full, but shorter arcs call them book 1 and book 2 etc., in the same book. In short, if that's how your story works, then that's how your story works. It's also possible that as you go back through them, you'll find that you have a lot more material that you didn't put in (I usually do) that could make four really big, rich books. (ah, I love writing).

    So yeah, writing = crazy. But we're all crazy here.


  2. Let me just say that I fu**ing HATE word count issues. Every single book I've written has screwed me on this. In fact, right now I'm three-quarter of the way through my current WIP and totally stalled out because I went over the stupid damn word count again. It's going to come out to around 110K when I need it to be no more than 95K.

    IT SUCKS!! It's totally tripped me up. I can't figure out how to cut ten thousand words without a major rewrite. This has happened to me two other times.

    The first book I cut into two and rewrote the ending of the first book to make it work. The second book I rewrote the whole second half to have it come in at 95K. (that one is out on a full with an agent. fingers crossed!)

    And now the the third. Cut it into more than one book? Rewrite it? What to do? I know you did not ask me to ramble on about MY problems but I just want to say that you have my TOTAL sympathy with this. It's a bitch.

    Having said all of that, are you sure you've cut everything you could and made the writing nice and tight/clean? I think three books between 60K-75K sounds better than four books at fifty. But it's your story. you're the one who knows best…GOOD LUCK with it!!

    And, you remember working with me a bit before I'm sure. I don't know what you thought of the critique I did for you, but if you want me to take a look at the first chapter and offer some suggestions on possible ways of getting it down, just let me know. If you don't still have my email it's tamaradwalsh (at) yahoo (dot) com.

    I've been on blogging hiatus but I saw you came over and followed the new blog I started with my CP. Thanks! It's nice to see you again, Aldrea!


  3. I'm sure I was born crazy. ^_^ Certainly been that way for sixteen years now.

    Not sure about how much more story can be added though. It's already made the jump from 135k to over 200k during the major rewrites. Could maybe get the last two to over 50k, but beyond that … I think it might be fattened up as much as it can go.


  4. Cut? I never cut … well … okay, I do. But I tend to end up rewriting twice as much as I delete. That's how I nearly doubled my word count on a different story making it 51k. ^_^

    I don't mind divvy it up. Already knew I would when it reached 200,000+. As I said, smaller would help with costs as I'm gearing myself towards selfpublishing this one. The latter half is still with CPs and, no matter how many times I read it, there's always something I've missed. So professional editing is a must here and that takes a lot of money. I mean, I found a place that'll do it for $2 per page, making the first book $372, then I have to factor in exchange rates which are never in my favour and save … that'll take me a while.
    Then there's the formatting, the pricing and the marketing to worry about. And, ultimately, when they're all out there, I would end up making an omnibus. My marketing skills are still a little shaky.

    It's catching the arcs in the right place that is giving me the most trouble: The first with The Rogue King is easy, the second with his son is likewise good … the third and fourth … it's those two that has me wondering whether three or four books would work.


  5. Wow, the Forgotten Queen has some serious ab definition! Your covers look amazing as usual.

    At least you found places your story can be divided, which is usually the hardest step.


  6. Part of that is the texture because when I stand her straight, she's got a bit of a belly. Not much, but then not many of my desert folk are like that.

    Yup, places and now to add some stuff. Did that on The Rogue King: added a whole new chapter and bumped it up another 1k. So if I add two chapters to The Shadow Prince (I already know what) they'll be around the same word count.

    And, according to the Lulu, The Rogue King is around 300 pages already using your average mass market paperback sizing. Which is okay by me as my shelf holds a number of books that length.


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