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I am currently finishing up my second novel, Prophecy which is the next in the ARKANE series after Pentecost. The big first draft was finished a few weeks ago but I didn't feel happy with how it all hung together. It wasn't coherent in parts and I wasn't happy at all. You know that feeling, when you realize you have lost your way somehow and you are shoe-horning things into the text to try and knit things together. In this video, I explain what I did about it ( and text is below).
I went away for a week and didn't work on it. I printed the whole thing out and re-read it, scribbling notes for the rewrite. But nothing was really helping.
A couple of things have helped me get over this.
I interviewed Robin Sullivan last week on 6 figure indie publishing. I love her no-nonsense approach and she basically said that 1 book doesn't cut it. You need to have at least 3 books before you put a lot of effort into marketing. You guys know I already put a lot of effort into marketing 🙂 but it kicked me up the butt and made me really focus on getting Prophecy out and also the next book, possibly called Exodus, started. I am very serious about being successful in this business and so I need to put a lot of effort into it.
Then I read this article about Amanda Hocking, the young indie author who has sold over 1 million Kindle books and also got a very lucrative traditional book deal because of her success. This sentence stood out. “Each book takes between two and four weeks to write, and she sells them for between 99c and $2.99. In the past 18 months, she has grossed approximately $2 million.” Yes, I want to make $2m but it was more the 2-4 week thing. Now, I write very differently to Hocking but I've been writing Prophecy on and off since February. I do want to ensure quality but I also want to speed things up a bit.
So yesterday, I took the bold step of cutting around 20,000 words from the draft. Basically I cut the scenes set in Africa which I felt weren't really adding to the plot and removing them has made a lot of difference. There were 3 additional characters that have been completely eradicated but may surface in another book. Prophecy is now around 68,000 words but in a fast-paced thriller, that's not a bad thing. With ebooks, no one notices the word count anyway!
I now feel much freer and more confident about the coherence of the story. I can finish the latest draft and get it out to my beta readers for review so then I can move into the final phases of editing before publishing. This drastic act has certainly made a huge difference to me and I believe it has made my story better for the reader.
Incidentally, if you're interested in advance notification of Prophecy, you can sign up here.
Have you found yourself in this situation? Please do leave a comment as I love to hear how you deal with these types of situations.