I was planning to do an update tomorrow, but then I realized everyone was just going to think it was an April Fools joke. Which, in fairness, it probably would have been.
But I’m going to restrain myself and give you an actual status update instead.
The edits for the sequel to Sufficiently Advanced Magic have been taking much longer than expected.
This is, in large part, because I had 20 beta readers this time instead of the 10 that I had for Sufficiently Advanced Magic. Moreover, some of these beta readers really went into depth. A couple of them sent me close to a thousand comments each.
I’m extremely grateful to my beta readers for this level of analysis, and I think it’s helping me improve the final product. But it’s taking a while.
The good news is that I’ve finished going through the comments of 17/20 of the beta readers.
The bad news is that some of the remaining ones are some of the most extensive.
Because of this, I’m *probably* going to do a few things I hadn’t planned on.
- I’m currently planning to send this manuscript to my professional editor before I finish all my beta reader edits, most likely within the next few days. I’m just waiting until I finish all the major content changes (e.g. adding or removing whole sections) before sending it to him.
- I’m then going to continue working on the last of the beta reader edits while my editor is also looking at the manuscript.
- When the editor gets their version back to me, I will use their version as the master document, but merge the changes I’ve made in the meantime into it. (Word has a “compare” feature that makes this relatively easy.)
This isn’t the most efficient approach in terms of work for me – that would be for me to finish the beta edits before sending it over, and avoid having to do the merge. It will, however, get the manuscript ready for publication a couple weeks faster.
I may still change my mind on this.
Even with taking that approach, I expect it to be a good month before the book is ready. My book is extremely long by traditional novel standards – it’s about 240,000 words at this point, which is about 10% longer than Sufficiently Advanced Magic, and more than double the length of Forging Divinity.
Thus, I expect it will take some time for my editor to go through it, and then some time for me to go through all of the editor’s changes, approve or reject them, and do the merge.
This is not an ideal process.
For my next novel, I plan to take the advice of one of my beta readers and have my readers collaborate on editing a single file, rather than sending me twenty different documents to read through. I expect this will probably be a massive efficiency improvement, because right now a lot of my time is taken up by dealing with checking comments and edits for errors that ten other people caught.
That process does have disadvantages. Most collaborative editing programs are going to have their own slowdowns, and may not work on all reading devices. This is likely to be inconvenient or impossible for some readers, and I expect to still get some notes that are in different formats. But if I could cut it down to having to read through 5 files instead of 20, that would still be a huge improvement.
I know many of you are eager to see the next book, and I hope you understand that the reason I’m taking extra time is to improve the quality of the product. It’d be easy to just hit publish with what I have, but I’d rather put out quality products over quantity.
Hopefully with those process improvements, I’ll be able to manage both quality and quantity in the future.
For those of you who are wondering about the audio book version, I expect that will take at least a few more months after the Kindle edition is released. It takes time for the narrator to find time in their schedule, record the book, and then send it to the publisher for formatting and such. I’ll provide an clearer estimate as soon as I have a better idea of when it might come out, but for now my best guess is that it will be at least August or September.
I still haven’t settled on a title. I know that’s absurd because it’s this close to publication, but Wish Upon a Scar doesn’t quite feel right, and neither do the many other titles I’ve tinkered with.
Thus far, the closest alternate suggestions have been Risk vs. Reward and On the Shoulders of Giants.
Risk vs. Reward is a commonly used term in MMORPG design (and game design in general), generally in reference to providing sufficient rewards for completing challenges. It is, however, much better known as as a term for financial investments, and as such I don’t think it’s going to invoke the right idea for most readers.
On the Shoulders of Giants is probably my favorite, since this whole series has such a focus on magical research, but it’s also the exact title of one of Steven Hawking’s books. And while I *have* been tempted to use a Steven Hawking quote or title as a reference, I’m not going to use one of his book titles directly. I may still consider using a variant on this one, because I like it a lot, but probably not this exact title.
My titles for the Arcane Ascension series in general are going to continue to be references to famous quotes, most likely all from deceased authors or famous historical figures. (The “deceased” rule is part of why I’m not referencing something like Sanderson’s Laws, for example, which would be otherwise a very obvious route to go.)
I’ll continue to read suggestions, but please don’t be offended if I don’t go with your ideas. I’ve gone through dozens, maybe hundreds, of title options at this point. I’m being very picky.
Thanks to everyone for the support and interest! I’ll plan to post another update when the book is off to the editor, which I hope to be soon.