Mar 27, 2003

Working on Yeresunsa

I've been editing The Illusionist, and have recently sent the first three chapters to an agency in New York, along with the synopsis and outline. It's a first time submission.  I have never sent a manuscript to an agency or editor in my adult life. I'll keep my website posted with the developments. I'm already steeled for rejection!  No one sells a book on the first try.

If you're wondering what happened to that giant saga I've been working on, Yeresunsa . . . I'll get back to it in a few weeks. I have been advised by experts (or experienced people, anyway) that no first time author can sell a manuscript that exceeds 150,000 words.  While there have been exceptions to that rule, one can pretty much bet that a first time author can't sell a book that exceeds 250,000 words. How long is Yeresunsa, you ask? (blush) Okay, it ended up being 530,000 words... slightly shorter than Stephen King's The Stand. Frankly, I'm impressed that test readers were willing to read the entire thing. I was blinded by love. While I was writing it, I tricked myself into believing it was no longer than a George R.R. Martin novel.

Thank you to every test reader who offered to read Yeresunsa.  Your suggestions have helped me immensely. As soon as possible, I will begin to break the saga into more marketable chunks. I count myself lucky that the first three books are already written. I've learned a lesson from this experience:  Word count actually affects your chances of being considered for publication.  Pay attention to it.

One more thing I've learned in the process of editing Yeresunsa: Editing is a much lengthier process than the actual writing. I think I wrote the entire 600,000 word first draft in ten months, or less. Editing took two years. I cut over 150 single spaced pages. There were times when I got tired of it, and had to suppress an overwhelming urge to move on to a new project... but the Yeresunsa saga is my big dream. I believe it's worth sharing with other people (unlike the vast majority of crappy things I make). I also think it's highly entertaining. During my editing, more than once, I would get absorbed into the story and read until dawn. Obsession? Okay, yes, but at least you know this isn't some little project I blew hot air into. It is a work of substance. Or so I hope!

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