Today I took a Writer’s Digest Webinar, Writing and Selling Science Fiction and Fantasy, presented by author and editor Philip Athans.
This was a marvelous opportunity and an informative webinar. Philip answered several questions I posed in my previous post.
Before I answer those though, a comment on word count/book length is necessary. In Philip’s experience, 90,000 words is roughly a good length for a first fantasy novel. This count differs from what I’ve heard in the past by about 10,000-25,000 words–which range Weaving and Musings of Essencers‘ word count falls into. My first reaction was: yikes! Then I calmed myself down, reminded myself that I’ve heard differing word counts by various agents and editors, so I really won’t know until I take that leap of faith and begin promoting my book. He also mentioned that the book should be as long as the story needs it to be, which is exactly what happened with Weaving. The characters and story needed those extra 13,000 words to really flesh out and bring things to a completion.
So, I’m not going to worry about it now. Rather, unless advised otherwise, I want to ask some professionals about the book’s length and content, see what, if anything, could be cut before it’s finally sent to the printer (or internet, etc). Besides, I never stop learning, nor should I. There’s always nuggets of wisdom to be found, perhaps just around the corner or the next webinar or writer’s conference. I am an educator at heart, I love to teach as much as I love to learn.
Now, onto the question: “Should I wait to write the sequel before seeing the results of the first book?” Philip Athans’ answer: “YES!”
It’s safer to wait on the book’s results: Does an agent want to represent it? Does a publisher want to sell it? Does it sell? Though these might be taboo questions, they’re honest and realistic questions. Of course I love Weaving and Musings of Essencers. Of course, it’s my dream world. Of course, I believe in it wholeheartedly. What this essentially boils down to is not wasting time. I can work on the Tselmnasa novels now. It’s very easy to lighten the connection between Thorns of Salvation and the Aelathia Chronicle, A Rose By Any Other Thorn. In fact, there’s some other ideas that I can explore as a writer as I query and begin this arduous but adventurous road.
So to answer my question–and maybe one other authors have asked but haven’t had answered–is it’s better to wait on the sequel until after seeing results for the first book. The good news? Weaving and Musings of Essencers does carry with it a standalone quality. The main plot and several subplots are all resolved by the end of the book. So it is a standalone novel with series potential. Six books, to be exact. Plus connections with loads of others.
Am I worried? No, not really. Weaving can stand on its own two feet. And if it can’t, it will someday.
Thanks for following and looking forward to connecting with you again soon! As always, you can follow me on Twitter @AelathiaNovels.