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Does Your Publisher Ever Want You To Make Your Books Shorter?

Well, the publisher would really like the books to be shorter, but they don’t want any of the story to be cut. I do sometimes wonder what I’m setting myself up for by writing books of this length. Jim Butcher is able to reliably release a book every year or so in his series, in part because he’s able to split the story into manageable chunks. And I’m generally not splitting my epic stories into very manageable chunks.

This happens a lot in series.I look back at the Wheel of Time; Robert Jordan was able to release one book a year for a period of time until the books were long enough that suddenly he was not able to release a book every year. The books were just so long and involved that they took a lot of work. Well, when he stopped releasing them every year all his fans complained, “What’s going on? Why aren’t you  releasing a book every year anymore?” So he started writing shorter books to be able to publish them more quickly and they all started complaining that the books were too short.

And so, starting our series with such long books does kind of put us in this strange conundrum. And there are a lot of considerations people don’t understand, like printing costs and the like. So the publisher kind of nudges you saying, “They don’t have to be this long. You can tell the story in shorter chunks; don’t cut any story! But do it in shorter chunks.” Granted they’re always willing to let me do what I want to do, but it’s kind of along the lines of, “We wouldn’t mind, Brandon, if you did it in smaller pieces.”

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