Basically, the news is, there is no news. The book’s been moved back in the schedule to June, 2008, but what we do from there is still up in the air.
I’m exhausted. I can’t stand even thinking about the book anymore. It is, I think, the best story I’ve ever told, and I can’t bear to look at it.
I sat down and figured out my options. They are:
- It comes out at full length in one volume, prohibitively priced. It barely sells. I lose.
- It comes fifty-five thousand words shorter, not the story I wanted to tell at all, gutted, either by me or by someone else. Whether it sells or not at that length, it isn’t the book I wrote, nor does it resemble the book I wanted it to be. I lose.
- It comes out in two volumes, causing readers to pay twice to read one story. The books sells poorly, because the two-book gimmick is a death knell. EVERYBODY–readers, publisher, AND me–loses.
- There is, as far as I can see, no fourth option.
My editors are all on vacation through the weekend, so I’m going to take a few days off to knit, spend time with my youngest, and breathe.
Air Force Kid got a date on shipping out. September. Not sure whether it will be Iraq or Afghanistan. He’ll be gone for nine months, and in harm’s way. This is a far bigger deal than the book. So my objective is to just deal with the fucking book, and keep my priorities straight.
Contract wouldn’t allow. Or anything like. I don’t want to gouge anyone. I just want the book to be the one I wrote when it comes out.
I know you didn’t want to think about it a month ago, and you probably still don’t want to think about it. Now, I don’t know what the specific term of your contract are, but…
4. It comes out in one volume, cut, not the book you wanted. Then you publish it again (in one volume or two) as the “uncut, fully authorized edition,” selling it at a 100% premium to hard-core fans. (And to preserve the sensitivities of the fans, I won’t mention how big a premium you could sell it for and get away with.)
If you were completely free to, and wanted to, you could release both editions simultaneously, and everyone would double their profits. I imagine there are organizational barriers to doing so. But you could still release the “authorized” edition at a later time, or independently, if your contract allowed it.
i would rather have the two volumes because it means i will have something to look forward to, 2 more times. since i picked up talyn, it’s made my ‘alone’ days happier.
Rick said it very clearly. Whatever happens, you have an extended family that loves and supports you. Also, if you would like to see someone’s guts hanging from the marquess on Broadway, I know a man…
Leave Hawspar for a while. Son comes first. Life comes second. Bokk is down the list somewhere. For good or ill, this won’t kill you unless you let it.
We here believe in Hawspar and will do whatever we have to do to get it.
You can probably chalk this up to uneducated stupidity, but what about a serial novel? It worked for The Green Mile, and it was released later as an all-in-one-volume.
I’ll add your kid to my prayer list (OK, I’m not very religious, but I believe in that stuff).
If they make you slash the word count for Hawkspar, maybe you could later put up some of the stuff you cut out on your website so people still have a chance to get an idea of the book you *wanted* it to be? And if they do keep the original length, that wouldn’t necessarily be a problem. Aren’t readers of fantasy notorious for their love of long, long, looooong novels?
Here’s some positive vibes coming your way.
Oh man. I feel for you about the Air Force Kid — my boy, the one who has a one-year-old who’s the cutest baby on the planet (hey, I’m his grandmother, I can SAY that! 🙂 nearly went twice — the second time, his foot was literally on the plane’s gangplank (what DO they call that for planes?) and they cancelled his trip to Iraq. So I have been in your place, and it was not fun. I will be praying that he’ll come home safe and sound and with only good memories to share with everyone.
As for Hawkspar, hell, maybe you should just publish it as an ebook as it should be, and I would buy copies for everyone in my writing group in a heartbeat! I adore the world you created for Talyn, and I would read it if it were two novels. Or if it were one big doorstop. Anytime.
Myabe I’m missing something here. Talyn was 230000 words give or take and it was published as one book. Hawkspar is 1850000 and they want to publish it as two — or make it one and prohibitivley expensive? Or gut it to the point where it isn’t the story it has to be? Where’s the logic in that? Sorry, this is the zany world of publishing and I should know better than to question it, but it doesn’t make any sense to me.
If there is any justice in this world (I am an optimist at heart) this will all work out the way it should, one book reasonably priced — and a runaway best seller.
And on the more serious point, my very best wishes and hopes for your son, and his family.
Holly: I started following both Forward Motion and your blog when I was fourteen. For the past six years you have provided me with wisdom, insight, inspiration, and strength – through a number of times when I really, really needed all of those things. And I doubt I’m the only one.
So no matter what happens with Hawkspar, you will have a small but select group of followers who will climb up to the rooftops to sing its praises; who will buy it as presents for their friends, their families, and people they’ve barely met. Who will publicize it, review it, and make sure that everybody is so sick of hearing about how geat it is that they just go out and buy it already.
We did it with Last Girl Dancing and we’ll do it again.
As for your son, you and your family are and always have been in my thoughts and prayers, and if a hundredth of all the good energy you’ve put out there, in reaching out towards us in the last however God-awfully long it’s been since you started doing just that, finds its way back to you?
Well, I’d say neither of you have anything to worry about.
I’m gathering from what Holly says (and she can correct me if I’m wrong) is that the general buying public does not tend to respond well to books split in two. I’m sure all of us would happily buy the split book.
I guess the only thing that comes to mind to me is revising it into a true duology. Except that that wasn’t the original contract, and also, it isn’t the story you originally wrote.
Anyway, this sucks and I’m sorry. That combined with the anxiety of a child heading off to Where There Be Dragons has got to be hard (at least you have knitting). My dad’s in the Gulf right now, and we email each other on and off talking about what he’s going to do when he gets back. I don’t want to focus on the alternative, I just want to get a martini and a steak with the best man in the world when he’s home safe again.
Two books might be safer for me. With Talyn, I didn’t get to sleep until something well past five in the morning and I’d started on it first thing the previous morning. Hawkspar may be the death of me! 😉 Actually, I’m having a hard time even thinking of books that came in pairs instead of singly or as trilogies.
Sheri Tepper’s Awakeners, but I’m not even sure why they were split, since the separated copies I have are slim volumes; I think they’re being published together now. And Guy Gavriel Kay’s Sarantine Mosaic, but I don’t think that was a single split book, seeing as they were published two years apart. Those are the only two that come to mind. It seems to be a rare thing.
If you’re looking for thoughts – I vote for two books if one book reasonably priced is laughable.
Perhaps a preview of the next book at the end of the first? I know you say it’s instant death to do that but…you feel *so* good about this story (potholes in process withstanding). I know I’d rather read your full view than see it gutted. But I understand I’m a given to buy it/them anyway and its those not yet in the given camp you and your publishers want to invite.
Sending positive thoughts your way on *all* fronts, regardless.
I wonder why they couldn’t package it as two volumes in a cardboard sleeve. That gets the two volume price, but the reader gets a nice product for the extra money (as well as the complete book at the same time).
I’d rather have that than have to wait several months for the ending. The publisher could make it sound like a special deal. I love having my John Jakes Bi-Centennial series that way. Heck, I bought that set when I was a broke teenager. I’d darn sure by HAWKSPAR that way — and be much happier than two separate volumes.
I wouldn’t mind the two volumes, either. Though one volume would also work, especially if published as a trade paperback; they’re certainly becoming more and more common on bookstore shelves these days. Hell, I have the tpb version of Courage of Falcons.
Put it in 2 volumes. People buy trilogies, so why not 2 books? That’s definitely the better situation.
I wouldn’t mind the two volumes, I really wouldn’t. But that is because I know I’m going to love them both and so would be willing to pay the money. I wish it could just come out in one giant volume but reasonably priced. Like it’ll happen 🙁 Perhaps you could some how get a lot of buzz from it both online and off line some how… *sigh*