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Writing Advice & Discussion > Seeking trilogy/standalone advice!

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message 1: by Sebastian (last edited Dec 19, 2018 04:12AM) (new)

Sebastian Black (sebastianblack) | 20 comments Hello fellow authors!

This might be a strange or redundant post, and for that I'll apologise... but unfortunately I don't have many writer friends I can ask for advice.

I recently finished the 3rd instalment of my erotic M/M series during NanoWrimo, and I'd been working through my 2nd draft of the 2nd novel when something hit me: Should I really be doing a trilogy?

For some time, I've been lead to believe an agent or publisher would favour my work more if there was a bigger opportunity to gain from it financially. While I'm not saying this is untrue, I feel it might be dampening my spirit, if not a bit cynical at the very least. Does anyone else feel this way?

Novel #1 is at 52k from guy 1's perspective and novel #2 is at 42k from guy 2's perspective. By novel 3, currently at 40k, the perspective alternates both men with each chapter.

So, basically, I'm wondering whether I should bother extending the last 2 to bump them up to standardised novel lengths, thereby offering the publishing world 3 decent books, or should I focus on quality over quantity and combine them into a 3-part standalone that's around 120/130k? Obviously quality is a given in any piece of work, and I don't plan on rambling about nothing to make up the word count. But you get what I mean.

I, for one, am not discouraged by the heft of a book when I pick it up in stores. I'm sure many of you aren't either, but I'm unsure about my specific genre. Whenever I've seen erotic romance on shelves they tend to be on the shorter side. Maybe that's because it's easier for people to digest this way?

Gah! As you can see, I'm at a loss, and I'd love it if I could have some opinions please!

Thanks a lot!


message 2: by J.R. (new)

J.R. Alcyone | 250 comments With the caveat I know zilch about your genre ...

If you're planning to indie publish your novel(s), having a series opens up marketing avenues that aren't available if you have just one title. For example, a common strategy is to offer your first book in a series at a deeply discounted rate (or even for free) in hopes of getting on readers radar and selling the other books in the series. On the other hand, you do have to pay for three book covers, assuming you're not doing those on your own. (Which is generally not recommended unless you have some design chops.)

If you're planning to try the traditional route, outside of a limited number of genres (like fantasy & historical), I think you'll find a lot of agents and presses will balk at a 120K to 130K word count for a first time author. But length-wise, I personally consider any book under ~50K to be more of a novella, and those can be harder sells. On the other hand, that might be the "right" length for your genre.

These aren't answers obviously, just things to consider.

message 3: by Sebastian (last edited Dec 19, 2018 05:23AM) (new)

Sebastian Black (sebastianblack) | 20 comments Thanks for you comment!

I'd have to agree that 120k would be a very hard sell, since I'm not yet an established author. I do have an urban fantasy at 110k, but I'm not too worried about that!

I do already have the first book on Amazon, and it's done reasonably well, but the ultimate dream is to have them on physical bookshelves of course! With that in mind, I think I will carry on with the trilogy and see if I can fashion some new scenes to bump them all up to +50k.

Thanks again.


message 4: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Umbaugh | 382 comments My suggestion would be to publish as one novel. I always wonder why anyone sets out to write a series when they don't know if the first one will be successful. But, you can't have a massive 125K book and expect sales. Write all three POVs but get the word count down to around 70. Contact me if you need a beta read or edit.
The Writer's Reader


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