So, here it is…a long overdue update on how things are going with Dark Magick Rising. Sorry I haven’t been better at posting updates. This summer has been busier than I expected it to be and I have, admittedly, neglected my website and blog. I’m going to try to get back on track and do better, both on progress updates and blog posts!
Right now Dark Magick Rising is sitting at around 164,000 words. I’ve done some deleting (as usual) since my last update, and a fair amount of new writing. This book is…well…a beast. At least in size. It’s like the Incredible Hulk (but less green) of books I’ve ever written. It split through its pants and shirt a long time ago, and it’s not yet finished growing. LOL! I expect that during the editing phase I will cut some more words out of it, but when all is said and done, the final version is still going to be massive. I’m sorry it’s taking me so long, guys. Much longer than I thought it would. But I solemnly swear I’m working on it! There’s just a LOT of material to cover here at the end of this book. Many threads from the previous four books are starting to weave together now, which is very cool (and fun for me to finally be able to start revealing answers to some of the threads that have been hanging for several books!) but it’s also a lot of work. I keep having to go back and double-check all sorts of stuff. It’s a job just to have to sort through this very long book to be sure I’m getting names, places, and events right, but I often also have to refer back to the older books as well to confirm details. And that just takes time, which definitely slows down the writing. Still, I’d rather check my details as I write, than finish the book and discover I have all kinds of inconsistencies and story/timeline/character mistakes later. I am getting close, though. Soooo close.
Because this book is very long, I’ve been wondering how readers feel about long books. I know word count doesn’t always mean much to readers who aren’t familiar with the inside workings of the publishing industry, so for direct comparison sake…right now, Dark Magick Rising is roughly double the length of Lords of Kellesborne (which was, previously, my longest book in this series). To be fair, this book alone also covers the same timeline as part of Lords of Kellesborne AND all of Fires of Ballian AND the first part of Circle of Ariend. Because, remember, these two books that focus on Wen and Wesley run concurrently in the timeline with the Gaige and Keiran books, up until Circle of Ariend when all of them will eventually merge back together into one stream. If you add up total word count of Gaige and Keiran books during this same time period in the story, the word count for them vs. what the final word count of Dark Magick will be is actually comparable. It’s just that G&K’s story has been broken up into shorter books.
Which leads me to the question… Would readers of this series rather get Dark Magick Rising as one humongously long book? Or would you rather have it broken into two somewhat shorter books? Right now DMR has a Part 1 and a Part 2, so that would make for an easy, natural place to break it for two books. Unfortunately (or not, because I don’t know if it really matters) they wouldn’t be two books of even word count. Part 1 is around 60K words and Part 2 would prob be 110-120K words. Also, if I did break it into two books, I would definitely release them close together, say only two or three weeks apart, which means there would be minimal wait time. I would not release the first until the entire project was completed, so you wouldn’t have to worry or wonder about that.
Pricing-wise…if I keep Dark Magick Rising as one gigantor book, because of the length I will have to price it higher than other books in the series. And when it comes out eventually in paperback, it would make the paperback price very high (the longer the book, the more pages in it, the more the printer charges me to create it). If I break DMR into two books to be released separately, I’ll be able to charge a lower price for each part. I would try to keep the combined price of the two ebooks as equal as possible to what I would have to charge for one long book–in other words, I would not intentionally price gouge my readers just because there were two books instead of one. Two books would require me to pay my cover artist for two extra covers (an extra ebook cover for the second part, and eventually an extra print book cover as well). But my editor charges per word, so whether he edits everything all at once, or edits it in two separate chunks, the total word count would be the same, meaning my costs for editing would be the same. Which is why I could try to keep the combined price of 2 ebooks more or less equivalent to the price of one giant book.
I’d like to give my readers a chance to weigh in on this matter. Nothing is set in stone…I’m just trying to get a sense of preference here. So I’ve created a handy-dandy poll. You can find it in the right sidebar of any page here on my website. Please, take a moment and vote if you will! The poll’s been running for a few days already and will be open to new votes until August 31st.
I did have a link so you could see the current results, but somebody got vote-happy and, in spite of the fact the poll plug-in was only supposed to let an individual vote once, this person voted 15 times. Uh, no. Hopefully I’ve tweaked the poll settings to prevent that from happening from here on out. But because of that, it skewed the results that would show to the public. Fortunately, I’m able to tell by IP address (recorded anonymously in my voting logs) when someone’s voted more than once, so I was able to delete the extra votes (all 15 were for the same choice, btw). So I kept this person’s first vote only. Sadly, the public poll results still showed all of the votes, including the “illegal” ones, so I got rid of that link to keep those incorrect results from unfairly influencing anyone. What I can tell you is that as of right now, at 10:30 P.M. Mountain Time on August 23rd, 29% of the legitimate votes are for splitting DMR into two parts, and the remaining 71% of the votes are for keeping it together in one Hulk-like volume. 🙂
If you have any further thoughts on the matter that aren’t covered in the poll, feel free to leave me a comment below!
In the meantime…I’m going back to my writing so I can get this story finished asap!
POLL UPDATE AS OF 11:59 P.M. on 8/25:
81% of votes for keeping DMR as one giant book
19% of votes for breaking DMR into two shorter books
POLL UPDATE AS OF 11:49 P.M. ON 8/28:
74% of votes for keeping DMR as one giant book
26% of votes for breaking DMR into two shorter books
FINAL POLL RESULTS AS OF 8/31:
The poll is now closed. Thanks to everyone who weighed in! And sorry I had to limit the voting time to just a little over a week, but if the vote had ended up being in favor of breaking it into two books, then I would have immediately needed to start making preparations to do that (like getting a second cover made, changing my promo, etc.). So I needed to make a decision fairly quickly. With that said…from the beginning, there was no question the vast majority of readers who voted preferred Dark Magick Rising to be published as one long book rather than having it broken into two shorter ones.
78% of votes for keeping DMR as one giant book
22% of votes for breaking DMR into two shorter books
I’ll post this finally tally note in my sidebar as well, so site visitors who don’t know to look here on my blog will be able to easily see the results. Again, thank you SO much to everyone who voted! FWIW, my gut feel was always to leave it as one book, but I’m glad to know the majority of readers feel the same way. To those of you who would have preferred two shorter parts, I hope you’ll bear with me through the big book anyway!