The Dreaded 80K

I’ll get it out of the way. The Afters: Book Two will finally come out this calendar year, 2022.

How do I know? Because I hit 80K words in my first draft the other day. Eighty thousand is generally accepted as that sweet spot in novel writing. The word count that officially makes it a full length novel and not a novella. Unless you’ve got a big science fiction tome cooking, 80-100K is the industry standard. And I just hit it, which means even though the book isn’t finished yet, by god it’s close.

Four years ago, almost to the day, I published the first book (with less than 80k words!). Four years is a looooonnngg time. It makes me feel like a bad author when folks I follow seem to pump out a novel every year. I could’ve done it sooner, but I wrote a movie (and filmed it). I started a new novel (and abandoned it when it didn’t work) and all those other life events that get in the way of writing.

Why do I call it the Dreaded 80k? Because it’s not just exciting, it’s horrifying. When the novel is done, it isn’t just done. The editing begins. The proofreading begins. The beta reading begins. The cover designing begins. All these necessary steps to publishing your work to a wider audience and none of them, NONE, are as fun as actually writing the damn book. Writing a full length novel is a massive amount of work. It’s monumental really. Even if it’s a bad book! Writing eighty thousand words into coherent sentences with characters and events and plot is a difficult task. And I’ll reiterate, that’s the fun part.

Then you’ve got to polish it to a shiny gloss. Which leads to the worst part of writing a book: marketing it. Trying to convince the general public that this piece of art you poured your soul into is worth their $15 or their precious time. Because you’re not a big name author. You’re trying to make a name for yourself, why should they trust you?

I, like many others, fell into a trap of my own making. You see, I went and self-published my first novel. No agent or traditional publisher wants to touch a second novel. So I’m going into this knowing that all that jazz taken care of by a traditional publisher, I’ll have to do . This is what I want out of my life though, so there is no turning back. There is no other option for me. I HAVE to do this. It’s a compulsion everyone with a creative mind suffers. We need to make our work and then we need others to see it. Because I can enjoy my own writing, but I’d rather see someone else enjoying it. I’ve loved so many books and I want to give that same feeling to someone else.

That is why I called it the dreaded 80k because it means the fun is soon to be over. The exposed, personal hard work is about to begin. And I can’t wait.