A question about Arc V for Janny

Almost 20 years ago, you said that you were “praying that [arc] V can be fit into one cover. If it doesn’t, it will make for one NASTY break point.”

My question is, had this wound up being instead the timeline where your publisher said “we’re not publishing this in one volume”, where would Song of the Mysteries have been split?

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I wrote the book as it was intended to be from the start.

The publisher bid immediately to split it…I was ‘told’ it was ‘impossible’ to print, it was too long, etc etc etc…as you saw if you read to the finish, there IS NO PLACE to split the story - and even to try - certain readers may have thrown the book at the WALL and refused to come back (due to what was happening at the midpoint, without the punchline, too easy to draw crazy wrong conclusions.) I foresaw a train wreck.

So I loaded the cannon with ammo and fired back a blistering salvo: A list of twenty epic fantasies that were ALL over 400,000 words (Song clocked in at about 396,000 WITH full timeline and glossary included.) All if the cited examples were IN PRINT, all of them were substantially LONGER, and quite a few were (cough) published by their own imprint. And I said: if you STILL hate the page count and wanna shorten it, then Don’t Change the American spelling I submitted into British spelling. (THAT one put my London agent in stitches.)

I got back a note saying ‘we’ll go revisit production.’

The book was not split. It is under one cover at PENALTY: that it may (cost of printing) outstrip enough sales to satisfy their profit margin ‘requirement’. (Publishing is not a charity.)

Here we are. I chose to roll the dice, to deliver the finish the series deserved rather than saw the finished work in half and risk a very misleading and unsatisfying read. The Jury Is Out: whether quality can generate word sufficient to build quantity. My future choice of venue is in play, as a result.

Pushback has consequences. Remains to be seen what will happen - if readership expands dramatically, then, all will be forgiven. If it doesn’t - the strike of ‘author difficult’ will not disappear.

I made the decision I could live with - and I am the master of my own ship, I will steer through whatever the weather brings. There are PLENTY of projects on the boards, all of them nicely short enough that this battle should not happen again.

The dollar signs in publisher’s eyes seem to point to the Big Sale Romantasy…my hackles are up (not because the genre is bad, let the readership have whatever they want, it is ALL GOOD) but - I do fear it will ‘shadow’ female authors for the next generation…the presumption going that women write that, and others are Not Interested in bucking the prejudice that female byline = that genre. I have the last tweaks on the Mistress of the Empire painting for Grim Oak Press, and two graphics to go until that deadline is DONE.

Then I can pick up the pieces, and find out what solid ground I may have left under my feet. Song of the Mysteries is out there, doing its thing - and audio for Curse of the Mistwraith. Clock is ticking on both to get editorial to sit up and take notice.

In the long haul, I am solid that I made the correct decision. Publishing looks at the short haul - anything can happen from here. Did my job. Up to the marketplace jungle now.