For those who have been published or are in the publishing industry:
- Can a new author get a longer work published these days? (near 200,000 words)
- Would it be smarter of me to try and break it into 3 parallel stand-alone novels that interact with the same time period, events and world but take the perspective of individual characters? Or is there no time for that in the publishing world?
I'm about to finish my first novel's first draft. The total word count of the book is 201,969. I still have one more chapter to write and an epilogue to tie it all up. The whole project will be roughly 210,000 words before revisions (close to a 500 page paperback). This has happened because I have a three main characters/protagonists, many locations, and several distinct plot arcs. I thought it would all come out at about 150,000 and was wrong.
All of the stories work together as well as they can for being a first draft and with revisions I plan on tightening that up. But, when I look at each character they're not too far off from a 1/3rd of the book each, which means each characters arc is approaching the minimum word count for a book of their own.
The book is hard to pitch with how much is going on inside of it, so I'm starting to question whether what I've really done is written the 1st draft for 3 novels at once. But, I also need to do some serious revisions and my plan is to really tighten the story up. Still, cutting 75,000 words and keeping all the characters is going to be difficult. Which means that perhaps the easiest solution is to just axe one of the main characters from the role of protagonist and drop the story that follows them. This would immediately get me into wordcount range. Not necessarily impossible, but difficult. While I'd appreciate any sage advice on the situation, my real interest is what my next steps should be given the existing market.
Last I heard publishers were interested in 2-book deals, not 3-book deals; but that was well over a year ago.
Regardless of which direction I go, all stories are relevant to the next novel in the outline which brings everything to a close. I'm just trying to decide if this is trunk or not. Is this a mistake, and I now move onto something shorter and better for the mistakes I've learned from? Or, is this type of work marketable?
I'm aware genres matter in answer the question. The work is fiction, what I'd call post-post-apocalypse, not hard-sci-fi, but soft sci-fi elements. Sub Genres: Mystery, War.