Tag Archive | publishing

The Page Count Perk / Pitfall

One of the best perks and worst pitfalls in being a famous author (or self-published) is that your books can be just as long as you want them to be and your publishing house will never call you on it.

  •  Harry Potter: Book 1 is 128 pgs; Book 7 is 784 pgs. Out of control, exponential growth of over 500%.
  • Twilight increased over 35%. However, there were fewer books in the series and the first book was larger to begin with. Book 1 : 544 pgs; Book 4: 768 pages.
  • Shades of Grey increased only 10% over the 3 book series. Book1 : 524 pgs; Book 3 : 592 pgs.

Famous authors get trapped in marketing, merchandising and making a buck by having their books turned into movies. It’s not surprising. People write to make a living. I certainly don’t object to that! Self-published authors get into trouble because no one tells them stop. Most don’t have editors. Few friends who might read it in advance will bring the hammer down.

Still, it’s a sad when a good book gets picked up by a big six publishing house (which does have editors!) and turned into a series, which is then sold to Hollywood. It means the author is now going to expound (at great length, unimpeded) on a topic over the course of X number of books and in a way that’s going to make for a good movie.

I don’t mind big individuals book — James Michener, Margaret Mitchell, MM Kaye, Tolstoy, James Clavell — I’ve read them all. Or a hefty series — although even John Jakes’s largest series (which began with The Bastard)  and ran to 9 books only grew 50% (topping out at Book 9 — 817 pgs), which was hardly enormous considering the series was relating a detailed history of the US!  But, I have to admit, for me, these days size matters.

I just don’t bother to read a book over 300 pages anymore and I prefer my books to be 125 to 250 pages — even if the books are part of a series. In that past, this wasn’t a problem. Agatha Christie wrote book after book, most of them part of a series (Miss Marple; Poirot), but she never wrote a long book. She never allowed her fame to make her forget her readers and, too, I think her publisher made sure all her works got a good editing and were kept at a manageable size for readers.

I can understand a modest increase  in page count over a long series covering complex material. Often times with a series there are more details to wrap up, as well I know. Book 1 of my Sarsfield Hexology is 226 pages, Book 6 is 271. However, 20% growth over 6 books is not bad when the maximum page count is still only 271! All the books are of a size that’s easy to read over a weekend or holiday, because I considered that in the writing of them.

Anyway, I think if I could wish any gift upon a writer, especially a truly famous one (or a self-published one), it would be the gift of an honest, fearless editor. That alone would save the world from so many enormous wild turkeys!

Is this cover really so bad it should be banned from display?

ePUB Cover

So, this is the cover, for the ePUB version.

I believe a cover and title should tell the reader what to expect from my book, and this cover and title do just that. If you read Lily Does Sweden, you will definitely agree I was 100% what you see is what you got.

Of course, what you see depends on you, just as what culture you come from slants how you see another culture you may visit.* That’s why, on the cover of the hard copy, I had the publisher add “A cross-cultural (mis-)adventure.” (See below.)

Trade Paperback Cover

As for the book’s content, I am totally honest about that too. It’s a departure for the publisher, in that it does have mature themes, a couple erotic escapades, and some frank language. But that being said, the 314-page book (in 6 x 9 format) is primarily a travel adventure mystery/romantic comedy set in Sweden about the perils of thinking you understand something you really don’t — such as another person’s culture. A fact I make pretty clear on the back cover!

Trade Paperback Back Cover

For those of you who have never been to Sweden, it’s very different from other first-world Western countries. This book draws on American vs Swedish cross-cultural disconnects to produce a story that’s both a darn good read and yet humorously informative.

Yes, it’s got erotic escapades. But if you find non-violent, non-sadomasochistic intimacy between two unattached, unmarried, non-religious people of the same race so bad or so controversial you want to ban this book or its cover, you may want to move to a totalitarian theocracy in the Middle East.

Lily Does Sweden is already up for sale digitally ($1.99) through Amazon (click here for Kindle), although Amazon doesn’t yet have a spot for the physical book.

Although Lily Does Sweden was uploaded to Barnes and Noble for a Nook edition, Sept 24th, they are still processing it. I’m not sure why. However, Barnes and Noble has a place holder for the physical book as a pre-order, ($14.99 retail, but about $10.11 through B&N), so . . . apparently they’re willing to sell it.

Lily Does Sweden is also available through third-party ePUB retailers that sell Adobe Digital Editions ePUBs. I have to work on that this week.

The print version went to LSI (the printer) on the 18th of Sept and is also taking an unusually long time to set up. Again, I’m not sure why; however, an email was sent asking for an update. Lighting Source International recently upgraded their computer system and perhaps lost some files or got behind as a result. I’ll keep you posted.

For more details, such as ISBNs, etc. hit the Page dedicated to the book. To voice your opinion . . .

*{When you look at the cover, what do you see? Two naked people? Or two people in bathing suits (which you can’t discern)? Two friends just horsing around? Or two lovers having sex?}