Word Count Battle continues.
Starting word count yesterday: 108, 456.
Ending word count yesterday: 108, 131.
No huge gains, because yesterday was the use contraction day and frequent word substitution day.
You guys are so funny. “They are taking 8,000 words away from us! We’ve been robbed!”
Publishers have set standards for their books. It has to do with typography and price point and things I don’t fully understand, but the bottom line is, we are contractually obligated to deliver something between 90 and 100K. We can probably get it below 105K and be squeak by, but we would like to get as close as we can to the goal.
Gordon is having an unexpected root canal today, so that complicates things.
I promise that if we cut anything hilarious, it will be posted for you.
Well, on we go. Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, Or close the wall up with our English dead.
R Coots says
*sends beverage and cookies of choice to serve as fuel* You can do it! Good luck!
How about publishing an “author’s cut” in ebook, like the do director’s cuts for movies?
^this (enthusiasticly jumping up and down)
Yes yes yes
Oh, I love that idea too. An author’ cut. We get to read the story you wanted to write.
Tiffany Vakilian says
(draws arcane circle of wooage to make this happen)
I’d buy that!
Yes, I’m in
I’m betting the contract w/publisher forbids this kind of thing, because wouldn’t we all prefer to buy direct as much content as we can possibly get from the authors? Readers aren’t loyal to publishing companies or editors or agents or anyone really in the convoluted world of traditional book publishing …. but we straight up hero worship the authors and would spend any amount of money for that next chunk of entertainment. Sometimes when I refresh this blog looking for a new tidbit I must be like a junkie scratching themselves cuz they just need another hit, lol. I’m certain that as essentially business owners, I&G would consider that kind of release option to create an additional revenue stream if it were legally permitted. I’m definitely rambling here but I’m basically trying to say that the publisher has most likely contractually forbidden this kind of thing because if the authors could do their own content release then they’d be direct competitors to the publisher for sale of that book.
We aren’t loyal to the evil middlemen because of EXACTLY these type of idiotic situations. I will give them credit for the small bits of good they do but often they are just like other middlemen trying to maximize their profits with no respect for the other costs.
Another Julie says
Eh. I actually used to have a publisher I was pretty loyal to. I was brought to them because of a particular author, but I actually was buying at least 2 of their monthly line up, including authors that I’d not read before, just because of the publisher. (Sci Fi/Fantasy)
That said, I much prefer formally published books. The author lords are dedicated enough to put themselves through the torture of letting a real editor at their self published works, but many aren’t, and it shows. And even the AL have said that self published editing lacks some bite, since the editor works for the author rather than the publisher.
I also recall the stories of slush pile parties and I know some good stuff gets tossed out with the bad, but there’s a lot of bad in there too. Self publishing in Amazon is basically one big slush pile. And reviews should be a way to find the gems hidden in the dreck – but with all the review gaming going on, it doesn’t quite work out that way. With a formal publisher, I know they’ve found something at least solid, and the stone is polished as well.
Regarding comparing and contrasting with the scientific publishing side (I’m talking journal articles here, the core primary literature) an editor whom I follow for a major* journal will occasionally send out mass calls that she needs more reviewers and offer to bribe people with cat pictures.
And it works. Because that’s how the science gets made.
* for profit, but hey, everyone needs to eat.
Alex R. says
I’ll send out cat pics for free. No work necessary. Clearly I’m not utilizing the full effect of the cat pictures.
To be fair, we usually work for free, too. But everyone is too busy, and the internet runs on cat pictures!
Amy Ann says
Hope Gordon’s root canal went well.
And editors are sososo important. You’re absolutely right about being able to tell if a book has been edited. Although I have to also stress good/confident editors. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — George RR Martin’s editor needs to stand up to him and tell him his words aren’t all inherently golden. *I* could cut entire chapters out of the Song of Ice and Fire series, and not lose anything.
Angela Flannery says
Not every trad published book is well edited…for content, plot or anything really. 1 example that comes to mind is the FSG dreck. And some authors get so famous that apparently the editors/publishing houses stop feeling as if they are able to cut/edit anything. Money rules I guess.
The publisher can put the author’s cut version out as well. No need to bypass them.
Except in this case they’re refusing to because it exceeds their publishing limits. Otherwise we wouldn’t be hearing about massive cuts. They’re losing over 7% of the novel as-is because the publisher won’t allow the version they have presented.
Love this idea of a director’s cut edition ?
*cheers from the sidelines*
We have faith that the Author Lords will choose wisely, lol.
Sending y’all love and good vibes.
Sort of a toughie there: would you rather be editing word counts or have a root canal??
Love the illustrations.
^^^I was thinking exactly this.
Tasha A. says
Oooo good question!
Kris Ten-Eyck says
Hard choice that. I wouldn’t want to face it. LOL.
Cheryl M says
Great quote, and the gods be with you on this thankless quest.
My thought has always been that if something good gets cut, I’ll still see it eventually. Maybe in a short clip on the blog. Maybe in another book. Maybe that little bit might make the kernel of a short story one day. If you two really like it, it isn’t going to just die. It’ll get reworked some way.
Paula Schultz says
You should take out the first chapter or two and post online for us of course lol ?
Ahahaha! Great idea!!
This morning I am listening to a book by a favorite author and recognized that it was the words as much as anything that I loved, why I keep coming back to this same book over and over. Some books I like because of the world building, but authors I love because of the words. Just hearing someone form the words and string them together into a thought does something in my brain. It is about werewolves and vampires and bleeding, but it soothes, and intrigues me. It is like a good song, melodious and attune to my rhythm. This is how we honestly get bummed about missing some of your words. You guys do it so well.
Ok please post the title or author. Always on the lookout for more decent grist for the mill you know.
I can honestly say I’m amazed that you got that much cut in one day. I had an assignment [2500 word summary judgment appeal brief, for a class] due Sunday. I was 54 words over the limit with four hours to go. Every time I took out one word, I ended up revising something else and sticking four more back in. Line editing for extraneous words is brutally difficult. You all are awesome for plowing through this.
Ugh, I hate teeth problems. Hopefully recovery is quick. Though if Gordon needs to take pain meds for awhile it could make cuts interesting. Good Luck!
Katrina Collins says
3.8% of the way to the goal! I hate to lose any of it but I know you’ll still give us a wonderfully drawn, tight story!
“Must cut words!”
Sorry. Darn computer.”Must cut words!” “Ugh. I’d rather have a root canal!!” Be careful what you wish for…
Sarah N says
Thank you for tighting the story and finding ways to make it better yet! Getting this right is a pain.
Jovan Welch says
Be brave authorlords! Make those words your b!+€#??
Fan in California says
+1. And hope Gordon quickly recuperates from the root canal!! ?
Since a lot of our preferred reading medium is electronic, the word count thing felt like it didn’t / shouldn’t apply to us. But publishing is a complicated thing, it is what it is. We all want to spread the joy and want more people to share in the adoration for you so you can be better supported in all arenas. So, if it means cutting 8000 words (even though we all know it’s pure gold), we will love whatever comes out of it.
Everything you guys have given me is brilliant. This will be as well.
Margaret R says
I’m sure whatever you do it will make the story tighter and better. Good luck, looking forward to the finished result…..
Omar Mtz says
May Calliope, the muse of Epic Poetry, help you with this Epic Quest!!!!
We will see you on the other side.
Edith Godin says
Good luck! That seems brutal.
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, Or close the wall up with our English dead.”
Huh. I always thought the English dead referred to people, not English words. 😛
And suddenly I’m picturing Monty Python trying to brick up a wall of words.
And my first thought there was, “Drop that second once more!”
I figured that was the reason- but the knee jerk reaction is to morn the lost pages ?
Actually, I can see your editors point. A longer book means either less profit or the need to raise the price. Since the pre orders have started, they can’t raise the price.
Still, since you have already done the obvious stuff, I imagine it’s only going to get harder.
Ganbatte! Please survive your 2 week trial from hell.
Absolutely they can raise the price on preorders. I got smacked HARD either last month or sometime in the last couple months, when publishers* raised new release e-book prices closer to hardcover. A $9.99 preorder hit my Kindle at $13.99 or $14.99. When I first placed the order for the next Expanse book (before it was delayed and delayed again), it was $11.99. I did my my March order checking at the beginning of the month, and now it’s $18-something. They surely can raise the price, and have.
*I’m assuming that this was the reason prices went up so much. And it means that I have to go back to my old pre-e-book system and make the tough decisions about what I can’t wait to read+ and what I can wait for the paperback pricing.
+Obviously the AL’s and the Expanse books are “can’t wait”.
Sara T says
Good luck AL’s.
Sounds like a huge amount of work!
I guess that my bafflement about word count restriction comes from the fact that most of my book purchases (and I think you said once about your own sales) are from ebooks, and on e-book the word count does not really make a difference in production costs.
I get that on print, every extra page costs and it is more than understandable that traditional publishers had rules about how long the books should be. But if you expect your sales will be mostly as ebook, do the extra cost for an extra 20 pages really impact the profits so much?
I like hearing how the sausage is made. (Okay, there was a moment of “Not Munoz!” in there…”)
In scientific publishing there are a lot of similarities, but there isn’t much focus on the artistic cohesion of the end product. The last paper to go in was a revision where we’d gotten really great and useful reviewers* and were in a position to make them particularly happy, so we’d added a whole histology section, reworked a bunch of the stats (…and they said the same thing, but hey – actually, I do like the current version better) pushed a bunch of stuff into the methods section (which doesn’t count towards work count) and produced a more central and clearly presented version of the in vitro studies which I still think are far too removed from their physiological context to really be useful… but were interesting preliminary data that do support our argument. (*grumble* *grumble* – look, I did derived a central hypothesis from an early version of those experiments, but I still hate them.)
At the end of this, my PI and I closeted ourselves together and formatted everything… and it was nine hundred words over? So he did the final cutting of words (and moved a couple of more paragraphs into the methods section, ah, the methods section) while I did final updates on all the figures and state and my latest protege did a last check to make sure we hadn’t gotten our numbers tangled up somewhere… and then crossed checked each other (more than we’d been doing throughout) and we hit submit. (And then got email saying “Oops, the version of the submission protocol on our website is outdated, please make these changes and OMG, why did you send us so many movies?!!”)
But in academic publishing… well, my PI did his undergrad degree in English at Yale, and I used to write for the popular press, and we really care about language being clear and readable, but and awful lot of the people writing don’t have English as a first language, and there aren’t professional editors as such? (There are people who decide what is published when, but even the reviewing is done on a volunteer basis.) And for many people in the sciences, the writing process is like pulling teeth.
( …back to the screenplay version of one of my articles, because this is what my life has come to.)
* Google “Third reviewer” if the significance of this is not immediately apparent. The “Downfall” parody is particularly epic.
Tylicat, is there room in science publishing for a non-scientist, pure-language reviewer? I see you’ve got your own, but what about the others you discuss?
(Still unemployed, still trying to find creative ways to apply my skills, still would FAR rather have Gordon’s root canal* than do transcription).
*Gordon, feel better! And follow the dentist’s orders! I didn’t, and ended up having 3 more visits instead of just one follow up. But I didn’t follow them because everything was totally fine, and I skipped the month-later follow-up because everything was fine. Until 6 weeks passed, and the temporary filling I was supposed to have replaced started, well, being temporary and falling out.
RJ Blain says
I have to have three tooth pulled. One will be replaced with an implant. (Other two are unmatched wisdoms, so they’re just sitting there doing nothing teeth are usually used for, and will cause me problems later.)
I was a potential candidate for a root canal on the tooth being extracted and replaced with an implant, but my family has a history of the root canal’d tooth rotting out anyway and the money just flushing down the drain. Implant ultimately becomes cheaper. (Sob, sob… tooth genetics sucks.)
I really hope his RC sticks, it goes smoothly, and there’s no issues!
My broken tooth (A quarter of it is gone…) gets dealt with in a month.
(Insert more sobbing here.)
In our family it’s the upper bicuspids. My father warned me. I remembered. Turns out he was right.
Also, got started on the Royal States books 🙂 !!! (Okay, I picked Null and Void up a while ago, but only read it yesterday, and… bought The Captive King immediately.)
I looked through the descriptions of each, and noted that about Storm Called 🙂
(And you and a couple other folks talking about how great these are is a lot of what convinced me to try for them.)
Ok, just bought Null and Void based entirely on your conversation here. And I’ll refrain from my lecture on publication order reading even with prequels because I am old enough to finally realize that not everyone wants to hear my thoughts on my every soapbox topic (but apparently not old enough to avoid mentioning them).
I just bought the first book and then the book you said to read first–thanks for tossing in a new author. Fingers crossed:)
Martha Parsons says
You can let the editors know that I would like to have those extra 8000 words, please.
No, their sex scenes are wonderful. You skip those sections if need be.
Is it awful that my first thought about 8000 cut words, was that I will get to read ‘deleted scenes’ while I wait for book publish date? Like getting to have the cake scraps/icing bowl. MMMMMMM
Oooo licking the edit bowl, sweet analogy!
Maybe you could keep the 8,000 words as a follow up??? Stop at the required amount ( yes just end in the middle of a sentence if you have to!) and publish the rest in a novella. I’d pay for that! We love your stories and hate to miss out on anything. ?
Judy B says
lmao,,, but +1 anyway
Amanda P says
I’d buy it too, no matter the price.?
It’s your story so every word counts lol!
Good luck with word weeding and thanks if we can get to see any deleted scenes?
Congratulations on the successful day of lopping off some words.
Hope Gordon heals fast so you won’t have to suffer through the WBC alone.
<3 <3 <3
Judy B says
Is it the entire book that has to be under 100,00 or are you permitted to pull a section, and post it as a free extra at the end?
Similar to the Saiman rescue in a previous book,,, or the necklace story in the back of, “Gunmetal Magic.”
Judy B says
Can I say that I would pay more for an ebook uncut edition even if I had to pay extra.
I’m imagining the authorlords keeping a list of all the words they cut, contracted, and substituted like a vocabulary list. Maybe offer it as a desktop background like wallpaper at cafes (because random words or quotes are “inspirational” ). That would be a funny and slightly snarky way of sharing those 8,000 words.
Angela Shikany says
A clean, tight edit is a beautiful thing. And thank you for thinking of us if you have to cut any humor because I love that aspect of your writing.
‘You guys are so
funnypathologically loyal. “They are taking 8,000 words away from us! We’ve been robbed!”’
Your characters are pathologically loyal. Is is really a surprise your fans are as well?
Hyphens are your friends! It’s cheating but it helps!
Next you’ll suggest German!
Vierwaldstattenseedampfschiftgesellschaftkapitansmutzensternlien. It’s one word. I hope my spelling is right.
Susan Watson says
I want to know about the english bodies in piled in the door way… ;D
High school freshman English was a long time ago….
Think it’s Shakespeare – Henry V: the scene where Henry gives this rally cry speech, just before the battle.
(The real Shakespeare scholars can cite the act, scene, and characters. I’m only novice-level with Shakespeare…)
Wellllll… you are over 300 words down, which is about 1/3 of 1000. So, you are 1/3 of 1/8 of the way to your goal, so yea!!!
Lol yeah, I skim the sex scenes spot reading so I do not miss something important to the plot, but I am not one who enjoys reading or watching other people’s sexual exploits. I guess I lack the voyeuristic tendency.
I would much rather you guys keep relevant plot content over in-depth descriptions of physical arousal as well, but since you usually don’t write that way, especially early on in a series, I can’t see you having much to cut there.
No way……leave the sex in!!!
I agree with Rose – cut the sex scenes and move on. I love the AL in spite of the graphic sex, not because of it. But, I know that many readers love the sex scenes, so I’m pretty sure that they are going to stay, which is why I still think that the best solution to this tragic situation is to publish two electronic versions. One that is as written and one that has had 7.4% of it amputated. I’d willingly pay extra for the unmutilated version because I’m pretty sure that the sex scenes are going to stay, even though I’m equally sure that cutting them would easily get rid of the 8,000 words.
Patricia Schlorke says
*Cheering from the sidelines* Go, Ilona, go! Hopefully Gordon will be able to help after the pain from the root canal goes away.
I laughed when I read the BDH complained that we’ve been robbed of 8,000 words. It’s not like we won’t get to read what gets cut. 😉
Why do I have the War of 1812 music (with actual cannon sound) going through my head right now? Either that or the William Tell overture. 😀
I have the 1812 Overture with cannons and love it! My favorite version starts off with a men’s choir… but I love the last part the best when it becomes triumphant, with cannons booming, church bells ringing…
Didn’t they use part of the William Tell song with the Lone Ranger? Hiyo Silver… away!
Yes. Picture a high school concert band playing through William Tell Overture for the first time….we got to the end, and we’re all hysterical, including our director. When the laughter finally died down, he said, “And now you will not laugh in rehearsal or performance of this piece.” (And we didn’t!)
Jennifer m Green says
Keep the extra words and post them on your blog as the extended version add on
Bill G says
Into whose breeches? Oh, wait …
Patricia Schlorke says
I’m laughing so hard right now…
I think you have “Midsummer’s Night Dream” in mind there….
Seems like Gordon got the better deal today with the root canal (sorry Gordon)!
I had my parents listen to the first three books and they enjoyed them. So I have been telling them what’s going on with the new one. My father’ s suggestion “If cutting 8000 words are two hard maybe you should add 92000 and split the book you guys are planning a second one after all.”
Poor Gordon! Poor you! I’ve had two root canals in my life, but am happy to report feeling almost 100% right afterwards, except some mild soreness of keeping my mouth open for the surgery. But yeah, will never be my idea of a good time.
Wishing you a speedy completion of word deletion and a speedy recovery from the root canal. Onward to better days.
I couldn’t agree more!
My friends and I call it word porn and find the sex scenes gratuitous in the extreme.
Trust our imaginations. You do a fine job of steaming up our glasses when it comes to
writing the chemistry between characters without these scenes.
I really liked the internet version of the innkeeper books and thought they were suitable for a wider range of readers. I didn’t need to read any more of what was going on between Arland and Maud than the internet version to thoroughly enjoy the book.
I’m sure that you won’t lose a single reader by cutting those scenes out — and think about how much more fun you can have if you finish editing early.
After the book is out in print …for maybe a year…con you post it on your site unedited…..??
Yikes. An unexpected root canal sounds worse than a normal one.
Good luck with the words.
Focus of books? Other sister, brother and cousin books
Lora Tyler says
Love all your words. Thank you for explaining. Thank you for working so hard to get the same story with less words. Y’all are awesome.
We don’t even need the ellipses, honestly. I don’t find the AL’s sex scenes gratuitous (unlike *some*) because they do advance the characterization, but I have a perfectly good imagination. If you have to lose them, no complaints. We’re here for the story.
Just cut the first few chapters. Post them on your blog and start the actual book at say chapter 4! Problem solved now you can go ?!
Bravo! Best idea ever! Haha 😀
Publish the first 4 chapters as a novella! Woot! Two books instead of one. Win winnnnnn!! To the people that realize this isnt actually possible. Shhhh. Maybe the publishers wont notice! After all we won’t tell!
Have you read Patricia Briggs Alpha & Omega? I didn’t realise the first time I picked it up & was super lost until I found the book of short stories with the first part in.
Still, if I knew in advance…? Maybe.
Yes, Anna and Charles weren’t planned as more than a short story, but then the publishers wanted more and Patty Rufe Goldberged the series. It is confusing, with the first part in an anthology.
Lynn T. says
Actually my digital library has a novella titled Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs that I later found in the anthology. But yes I was totally confused first time I read Cry Wolf.
d LM a says
I say, submit this plan to the editorial staff …
ju-no, yus splain, your readers don’t wan ju bot herd.
there is a particular author *cough*lkh*cough* that does this ALL the time. the first couple of chapters of her new book are always a short story in an anthology beforehand. it’s just one of the reasons that I get her books from the library now instead of buying them.
Laurell K. Hamilton does this? With which novels? I haven’t noticed missing chapters at the beginning. Which anthologies is she publishing her shorts in? Help!
I may think she’s kind of awful now, but she’s obviously not so awful I stopped reading her, and I’m kind of a crazy completionist.
Nicole JP says
It happened twice with two of the books around 10 and 11 maybe? THe first few chapters of a book due out later in the year were published as a short story, but they were also included in the book when it came out. She isn’t the only one. There was one anthology where two or three different authors did that. Pissed me off since they weren’t real short stories. This happened around 2006 I think, I have not run across any author doing it recently.
ARGH – I’m the same way with LKH. I miss when the focus was better balanced between the romantic elements and the rest of the plot. I struggle with whether or not to drop the series, but the world is uber fascinating. So far I continue.
Cry wolf: I did feel like I was missing things, but the short story was excellent so it felt like a gift and less like a second book I had to buy.
Lenore A. Villa says
Good luck with your endeavors.
And hope the root canal goes well. Fingers crossed you have a fantastic dentist.
Rooting (no pun intended) for you both every step of the way.
8000 words! You have to cut over 8K from a story you actually finished and polished?
Leave the bottle bartender, it’s going to be a long haul. .In fact, bring another, forget the glass.
Best of luck with the battle and the canal
I’m so so so so sorry. You have my heart felt condolences.
You are so good. I would still be at the gnashing of teeth stage whilst screaming “My Baby, My Baby”.
Bwahahaha! This is brilliant!
Have you ever played Plants vs Zombies? Instead of screaming “Braaaiiinnnnssss!” I want to scream “Woooooorrrrrrdddddssss!” In a feed-me-now manner. ??
Anyone who wants to try something similar, have a go at making a radio ad (copywriting).
You have a 30 second limit for the ad, which is about 70-75 words.
You need to mention the business name, contact details and a description of the product or service that the business offers.
NB: Each number in a phone number are counted separately and the www. of a webpage address is also counted as 4 words.
Have fun! ; )
I just imagined War&Peace cut to fit a book contract
Just remove ‘the’ articles. Works for me.
Liz Mansfield says
Cant beat a bit of Shakespeare first thing in the morning 🙂
Could you just leave the extra words in and add to the price. I know I would be willing to pay an extra $1 to get all you have written.
Good luck! And Gordon, I wish you success with your root canal. I just had a molar removed that was root canalled a year ago. If you have pain weeks and months afterwards, and you dentist says you just bite hard or grind your teeth, get a second opinion! Turns out it’s been severely infected underneath resulting in loss of tooth and 50% of surrounding bone. Dealing with a bone graft now. Seriously-second opinion -lesson learned.
That sounds awful. I hope you have expressed your feelings to the original dentist.
Oh I will! It’s the most expensive dentist in the city too. Now $1000 out of pocket to an oral surgeon and four days of missed work. Grrrr And it’s taken me two weeks to be able to taste again. Blech!
Susie Q. says
You know that you’re in deep when the oral surgeon tells the nurse to get everyone in the office because this is the worst case he’s seen.
d LM a says
Repeat re pete
I am down wit Rachels plan
I want to be a fly on the wall if you float her plan past them
Would Skyp work
You know the natives are revolting . . .
This is why I would NEVER pursue a phd … down the establishment UP the creative freedoms
Standing in the corner, facing the wall. Can’t deal with losing so many lovely words. The first chapters as a separate novella sounds like a plan. It would be a hit!!
Is it just me, or did we seem to lose a page of comments? I thought there were 3 pages, but there only appear to be 2, and one of my comments isn’t there anymore.
Anyone else seeing that?
We didn’t lose comments. I deleted them on account of their insulting nature.
Oh. I didn’t think mine was insulting, but apologies if it was.
No, yours was fine. No worries. But when the leading comment is deleted, all the following comments go with it. 🙂
It would be awesome if you cut out a scene and posted it on your page, or wrote a little side story with the deleted scene and posted it as an Easter egg for us fan-atics. That would make it more tolerable to accept the restrictions imposed by the publishing overlords, instead of reading an epic 500 page book that we all deserve.
All I can say is root canals are the devil and I have a lot of sympathy for Gordon
Robbed of genius goodies *sob*
Carolyn Houghton says
My favorite quote is “Creativity is subtraction.”