Good morning,

This morning I have found an ad about a new TV serie, "See", which plot is quite similar (blind civilization with sighted-rare members, although environment and background is different) to a three books (~400.000 words each one) saga I have been writing for two years.

I left the first of the books approximately at a 50%, when I got recommended to focus on shorter novels (90.000 words) to my first times to be published.

I don't care to selfpublish these shorter books but I would like to try the 3-books saga getting published by an editorial.

I know that this requires not only time and effort to get your first works noticed, but also a lot of luck.

I also thought about the option to publish little stories on IG, Twitter, etc. to get recognised and make easier to be attractive to editorial in future. But this requires more time.

My job (full time, broken turn, from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm) leaves me only 1 or 2 hours of writing, after housekeeping and a usual family dedication. Believe me I am pulling this as far as I can without lost all contact to my relatives. I am enthusiastic enough to write, at least, the main novel and other three shorter ones more. No matter when I could finish.

But when I find that any of the basis I present on my novels is published by anyone else, which is logical and expectable, I cann't avoid feeling guilty to make my efforts in the wrong direction...

So that is problem. I don't know what to focus my time on: finishing my main story, getting some shorter works first or dedicating some time to get recognition on social networks with "choose option-stories", threads, etc...

Sorry for the long question/circunstance about it. I feel a little (a lot actually) worried today after the recent news and I need to vent, and also to get some help/advice about this using your experience in this fields.

TLDR; I don't know what's better?

  • a) Ending the first book of my main novel (three books, 400.000 words each one).
  • b) Writing some short books and selfpublishing them before the saga.
  • c) Share options a) or b) with a time invest on social network to get some recognition.

Thank you for your time.

  • 1
    Hi Gerifalte, welcome to writing.se! Take the tour and visit the help center to learn how things work around here. This is a pretty good first question, though it does verge slightly on being to opinion based for our site. What is best for you may not be what is best for someone else. You mention your first book is similar to a new TV show but your question doesn't seem to really be about that. You may like to read Is my story too similar to an existing work? for some good answers on that topic. Good luck and happy writing!
    – linksassin
    Commented Sep 19, 2019 at 13:00
  • Hello Linksassin. First of all, thank you for your welcome. I have to admit that this could be an opinion bases question, anyway I was looking for some experience or sure knowledge of the writing "industry". About the title and the mentioned TV show, the new serie is only an introduction to my question: what to focus on, attending to risks and benefits, as it is stated in the question title. Again, thanks for your message and sorry if the question can be evaluated as non-answerable / opinion-based criteria.
    – Gerifalte
    Commented Sep 19, 2019 at 13:18
  • It's ok. As I said this question is only borderline, I haven't voted to close but don't worry to much if you do get a close vote or two. I doubt this question will cause too much of an issue just letting you know for future reference. I mention your opening paragraph as it somewhat distracts from the rest of the question. We get a lot of "is my question too much like X" questions hence why I linked to that other question. I look forward to seeing more posts from you. Good luck!
    – linksassin
    Commented Sep 19, 2019 at 13:45

1 Answer 1


The chances of getting a three volume set of 400,000 word novels by an unknown writer accepted for publication are as near to zero as makes no difference. Such a project would be extremely expensive and represent a huge risk for a publisher. It is not entirely impossible, but it is highly unlikely. Something like 80 to 120 thousand is a more acceptable range, though this varies somewhat by genre and fashion

Notice that the first three books of the Harry Potter series were quite short, while the final four are enormously long. In fact, go to the library and look up the first novels of writers who are famous for long ones, and you will almost always find that their first novels are short. Publishers rarely take a chance on a long first book.

So, working on something shorter is probably a good idea, at least in commercial terms.

But if you have only a limited time to write between family and work responsibilities, self publishing might not be your best choice. Self publishing your book successfully is expensive and time consuming (and almost never succeeds anyway, despite the time and money spent). If you self publish, you won't have time left for new writing, unless you don't promote, in which case you won't sell anything. So write something of publishable length and send it to agents and publishers. And then start on the next one.

For non fictions authors, building a platform (which is publishing speak for a bunch of people who follow your work and would buy your books) is essential, and today that almost inevitably means building a social media presence. But the general consensus of the fiction publishing industry seems to be that a platform makes very little difference to getting your work published. And having work available online is actually a liability if you want to subsequently get it published. At minimum, an agent will tell you to take it down before trying to submit for publication.

The fact of the matter is that for traditional publishing, the online world really hasn't changed how it works very much. It is still a matter of writing a good book of an acceptable length expressing popular opinions on a popular subject in a popular genre and sending it to an agent who will submit it to publishers. Your online profile and activities will generally make little or no difference to this process.

For self publishing, an online profile will make more of a difference, but the hard truth is that it is expensive, time consuming, and almost always fails. And it does not sound like you have the time for it, unless you are willing to stop writing new material.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.