These things truly irritate me, and it irritates me even more the way people SWALLOW IT ALL without blinking. Or are ready to be paladins of lies and defend those lies with all they have. The complete lack of truthfulness or even the lack of consideration that the public may DESERVE truthfulness (and how the bullshit relies completely on the fact that they know the public has a memory span of just a few seconds).
Why the fuck in this world there’s absolutely no one left who speaks straight and devoid of hidden agendas or personal interest?
But when you fling so carelessly bullshit up in the air, sometimes it comes back down.
So let’s look back, with straight quotes, at the reasons that Sanderson, Harriet and Tor used to justify the split in three books for “A Memory of Light”:
How did the decision to divide this final book into three parts come about? Was it a publishing necessity, a story necessity, or something else?
Harriet: The material that Jim left was very capacious, and Brandon saw after working with it for a while that he could not complete it in less than a total of 750,000 words. This is probably an impossible thing to bind – unless we sold it with a magnifying glass. 250,000 words is in fact a fat, or Rubensesque, novel. You will notice that 3 x 250,000 equals 750,000. So… part of the decision was based on making a book within the scope of binding technology. The major part of the decision was to get ALL the story that Jim left out there for us all.
somehow get to 750k by the March deadline that Tom had said was about the latest he could put a book into production and still have it out for the holidays.
Tom felt that we NEEDED to provide them a book in 2009.
However, in this scenario (400k book), you end up releasing two fractured books, and the bookstores are mad at you for their size. (Which may translate to the bookstores ordering fewer copies, and fans being mad because they can’t find copies as easily as they want)
When I’d mentioned 400k to him once, he’d been wary. He explained to me that he felt 400k was unprintably large in today’s publishing market. Things have changed since the 90’s, and booksellers are increasingly frustrated with the fantasy genre, which tends to take up a lot of shelf space with very few books. There is constant pressure from the big chain bookstores to keep things smaller and thinner.
(March 2009) Last night—Monday night—I pulled an all-nighter finishing up THE GATHERING STORM and sending it off to Harriet and company. In essence, the book is now complete. I suspect there will be another hasty round of revisions this weekend, but the book really needs to be in ASAP. We’re already over-deadline in getting it in, and Tor is going to have to pay overtime at the printer in order to get it out in November. (Tom has already said he’d do this, so it’s not a big issue, but every day counts. Hence the all-night revision marathon.)
So the reasons they used exactly a year ago to explain a split in three books were:
– A 400k book is too big to publish.
– The publishing market and retailers are pushing for smaller books. Big doesn’t sell anymore.
– If the book was coming out before the end of the year, then the final draft had to be completed by end of March.
Now fast forward to March 2010. Brandon Sanderson announces he has a huge 10 book epic series lined up. Published by Tor. The first book is 425k words long. It is coming out in August, but he hasn’t even completed the final draft yet (but no delays expected).
POINT ONE: This book is the start of a longer epic.
KINGS stands at 425,000 words right now. I’ll be trimming that down to (hopefully) 380–390k when I do the next draft. (Which will be the final draft.)
In case you don’t know, THE WAY OF KINGS is my next novel, set to come out August 17th of this year.
All the difficulties and market’s demands waved a year ago are completely gone. Maybe because those difficulties never existed and were completely made up in order to justify the three book split and hide the true motivation that was obviously less palatable than portraying heroic publishers working the printers overnight in order to deliver the book as soon as possible to the worthy reader.
This is the spin I hate. How they flaunt themselves as saviors and how everything is boasted as something exceptional just to serve their public, in the public’s own interest. When it’s just the MERCHANT speaking here, not the writer. And there isn’t even one truthful word when you have a merchant speaking.
In the end this irritates me but doesn’t matter. The problem here is how these guys expect everyone to swallow their bullshit and then forget about it. Why if something is done for a legitimate business reason it can’t be told plainly for what it is? Why the need to spin and mystify?
In August I plan to buy the book and read it ASAP and enjoy it. I have good expectations about it and I hope it will be so good that I’ll look forward for all the 10 books. I’ll read the book without any prejudice and really want it to be great. But I also hope he drops all the bullshit and speaks straight when he wants to promote his books. He can do good promotion even without flinging bullshit everywhere.