A Gravitational Dilemma

I wrote a post about novellas a while ago. I like novellas. There’s a nice balance in that format between being faster to read but still retaining a good amount of content. It’s partly why I chose to write my sci-fi series Gravity in that format.

Then came book 4. I am still writing. And it doesn’t look like I am going to finish any time soon. As I write this post I am passing 55,000 words in total, and I am looking at adding between 5,000 to 10,000 more words before this portion of the story wraps. Already it’s novel length. While part of me absolutely doesn’t mind, a few things struck me the other day that has me reconsidering this course of action.

First, I like the novella format for Gravity. My tendency to rely on short chapters and quick action sequences lend themselves to the format. It’s a style choice I made early on for it.

Second, the format also helps me to keep the books cheap, each ebook being only $0.99 and the prints running less than $5 apiece. Pricing the print version that low becomes impossible above roughly 30,000 words.

Now one might ask: who cares? Why not go to a novel length and just charge more for the print?

Well, there’s keeping a linear formatting technique for one. I don’t mind running just shy of 40,000 words in a book for Gravity, but I really wanted to keep them around 25,000 words in each book, give or take a few thousand. It’s a style choice. (Not saying that there won’t be some change in style over time, but I would like a gradual change rather than an abrupt shift at book 4.) Also, I want the option to collect and make omnibus versions to give me more latitude in pricing later on, since unless you are giving books away for free, $0.99 is the lowest price one can go for an ebook.

So I thought to myself the other day, am I really on book 4 or am I nearly completing what should be books 4 AND 5?

It seems that as I look at this more I am really completing books 4 and 5 rather than just book 4. Like above, I do not want the style to shift this abruptly. It just makes more sense for what I am after.

Given that, I think that it is fair to say that there will be 2 Gravity releases this year, the first coming sometime soon after I complete the first draft. Once the first draft is done, I will separate out the chapters and see where book 4 will end (as I already have a good idea for a natural break in the story). Then I can move onto other projects for a bit before moving back to get in book 6 and beyond.

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