May 17, 2015
I’ve been ill. Still am, to be honest. Head throbbing, muscles and joints aching. Tired. No surprise then that it is hard to concentrate. But today is Sunday, so a web log post must be completed, illness be damned.
I’ve been re-reading Simon Hawke’s “TimeWars” novels. Fun, fast-paced stuff, the kind you really don’t see much of in today’s marketplace of 300+ page novels. Number four in the series, the one I”m reading now, weighs in at about 196 pages, if I remember correctly. I’m too tired to check. My bookshelves hold a lot of paperbacks of roughly the same page count, the 175-200 page range. I miss those. Not that I dislike longer books, it’s just that I don’t seem to have any other option when it comes to new releases.
This makes me wonder what to do with a project I’ve been working on, “Thick as Thieves.” Once I sit down to work on the third draft, and if I decide I like it, I’ll have to start finding it a home. But it fights in the “TimeWars” weight category. I don’t think it even reaches 65,000 words.
What does that matter? Well, let’s consider a couple of points. Most small press publishers print only in trade paperback format, those taller paperbacks that tower over the mass market paperbacks on your shelves. The price point is higher, in the $12-$19 range. I imagine that cost of printing in the mass market paperback format doesn’t pencil out, with the lower $7.99 price point. ($7.99! I used to go to the mall with a $10.00 bill, buy a paperback at one of the three (three!) bookstores, have lunch in the food court, and still have money left over for the arcade.)
What would a 65,000 word book look like in trade paperback? Rather on the slim side, don’t you think? I suppose that’s where e-books come in. We’re unlikely to see a $4.99 paperback again. Digital may be the best fit for the 200-page books.
I had a bit more to write on the subject, but there are some very insistent people pounding on the inside of my skull, demanding my attention. I suppose I’ll let them in, learn all about the religion of the skull-dwelling micro-people.