Dear Shark,I’m working on a four book SciFi series. After four years and extensive alpha reader feedback, book 1 is ready (at 180K words) to send out to beta readers. Book 2 is about half-done at 100K words, and books 3 and 4 are outlined. Book 5 is just an idea.I’m not in a hurry, I have a good day job, so I’m contemplating finishing the series (circa 2025) before querying. My thinking is that, assuming my writing is worth anything, a ready-to-go series makes me a more attractive investment, and I won’t have to write it in a hurry and risk compromising the quality.Is this just plain stupid of me?
Not at all.
One of the most horrifying things debut authors face is the looming deadline for Book #2.
Authors who've toiled for years perfecting Book #1 have to deliver Book #2 about a year after turning in Book #1. It's not as bad as it sounds. It's worse.
The question you didn't ask but that I'm still going to answer is: is my first book too long?
And yes it is.
180K is an absolute non-starter for debut novels these days.
And it's not just cause agents and editors are lazy slugs who can't be bothered to read more than five pages before airily offering their assessment.
It's the cost of publishing the book. 180,000 words is a big ass book that costs more to print and ship than a 100,000 word book.
Which means the COST of that debut novel is higher than the shorter book.
Which means the novel will sell fewer copies (and here you thought you'd never use what you were taught in Econ 201)
Which is NOT a good thing.
Not for you.
Not for me.
Not for the publisher.
We like to avoid things that are bad for you, me, and them.
Thus we avoid 180,000 word debut novels.
Use that information as needed.