Darkwalkers – A Late Start



Starting a new book is always hard, but starting a book that is part of a series is harder. It shouldn’t be as hard, however, because I have already written book two in the Broken Lands series. Darkwalkers was finished years ago. I thought it was done. I was wrong. After I re-wrote Rise of the Reaper, I knew for sure that Darkwalkers (and book three, Time’s Grim Machinery) would need to be massively rewritten. Many things had changed from the first version: the characters’ relationships had changed, the plot had some different elements in it, and more.

Pacing would need tweaked, the relationships adjusted, different things the characters were aware of would need to be taken into account, some things that I introduced into the new version of Rise of the Reaper would need to be mulled over by the characters and processed/discussed. And given that the old version of Darkwalkers comes in at over 170,000 words, massive cuts would need to be implemented to improve the flow (as much as I love my meandering character moments). Ordinarily it wouldn’t matter if the book was that long, but I self-publish, so it absolutely fucking does, sadly. While Kindle, ePubs, etc don’t matter so much, if I want a print version of Darkwalkers (which I DO) then I have a real problem.

The fact that Rise of the Reaper comes in at around 115,000 words and only makes 0.73p profit per print copy means that I’ll end up owing CreateSpace and Lightning Source money with every copy of Darkwalkers sold. So, basically, I won’t be able to feasibly produce a print copy, unless I want to jack the price up to at least £9.99 (or probably more). In that case, the book is unlikely to sell because that price is straying into the pricing territory for non-fiction. I don’t know that people would pay upward of £9.99 for fiction print books by an unknown author. Yes, some folk aren’t unreasonable and they understand that there are costs involved in producing a print book, however, the price point is still a concern.

The only other option will be to get a short print run done, which feels like I am going back to the bad old unrecommended days in self-publishing. You spend a small fortune ordering hundreds of books… which you then have to store. Distribution suddenly becomes the headache it never was with the POD companies, and you have to dick about with Amazon in an entirely different way, while also sucking up postage to supply whoever you can get to take it.

That isn’t even taking into account the sheer stress and amount of time it would gobble up. Locating and researching printers, ordering samples, talking with reps, and then finding the money up front for books. I really don’t want to do that. Any of it. But I don’t see many other options. To recap them:

1)  Simply re-write and make an effort to reduce the book’s wordcount, and then put the price up until the book shows an actual profit on CreateSpace/Lightning Source. And hope that it doesn’t put people off entirely.

2) Don’t put out a print book at all.

3) Take the time, effort, and vast amount of money (and space) and get a short print run done. Struggle with distribution and storage, not to mention (again) TIME.

4) Split book two in half. This was actually suggested to me recently.

1 is easiest. 2 is stupid, but if next to no one will be buying the book anyway if I do 1, then does it matter? 3 – really don’t want to do that. Some time on Google doesn’t leave me confident that it will be possible to find what I need without days or weeks of digging, research, checking, and emailing. And that is not appealing. I also don’t have the funds. It is enough that I struggle to save up for a copy editor, proofreader, and formater.

tiredagainI don’t want to lay out a huge sum for a batch of books that will sit in my office, quietly mouldering while I introduce a distribution headache into my life. At the moment Waterstones and Barnes & Noble are dealt with via LS. How I’d get into them by myself is beyond me at this point, aside from a vague idea, which means more research, emailing, worries, and more (I tend to worry a lot). I know it would likely involve dealing with Gardners and other distributors by myself (unless Lightning Source could be of some use) and I want to cut down my stress and burden (and maybe actually get some writing done).

4 – I don’t know if, at this point, it is possible. Later on the book has quite a pace to it and to slash that in half and bring each part to a reasonable conclusion is iffy. It also means two lots of covers, editing rounds, proofs, formatting…. Urgh. This MAY work with book three, but probably not book two.

I think that the weight of all this stress and uncertainty is putting me off starting my re-write of Darkwalkers as much as the thought of actually starting and struggling with a re-write. And if that is bad, wait until book three. I opened the document the other day and it came in at 240,000 words. I almost cried. That one will have to be split or go for a traditional print run, as there is no editing that down and raising the price by a pound or two. But yay… rah rah self-publishing and all that. The evangelists don’t cover that sort of sticky scenario when they extol the virtues of this type of publishing.

Anyway. I need to get the book started. I suspect most the the changes will, once again, come in the first third of the book, which means that my speed will pick up as I go as I use more of the original material.

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