Tuesday, July 10, 2012

This Book Is How Long...???


   I was intimidated by the length of the book at first...Amazon Reviewer
      My only issue with the whole book was the length...Blog Reviewer
    (Happily, both reviewers gave The Gaze great marks)

   I've seen smiles fade quickly once those eyes fix on the thickness of my novel. I've watched in remorseful anticipation as someone opens the book and squints at the 10 point print. I've enjoyed the shock when I answer "Ten months to write it, two more to polish it." Often, I receive incredulous looks and I can almost read the question in their mind, This book is how long...???
   Although one of my dreams is to see my novels standing on a shelf in an old fashion bookstore, online shopping might be the best thing that could have happened to a writer of dramas. Yes, THE GAZE and THE NEXT CHAPTER are better categorized as dramas, and dramas tend to be long. As I'd mentioned before, I refuse to apologize for it. If anything, I know how important it is to make the time spent reading worth it to the reader. The writing had best be good and entertaining to justify the weight and thickness of the print copy.
    Ebooks have got to be one of the seven wonders of the Information Age. I noticed that when I read THE GAZE on Kindle, I flew through it and before I knew it, I finished it. I didn't feel the length of the story. The last review I obtained on Amazon touched on that.
    With this issue in mind, I set out to write THE NEXT CHAPTER with a page count in mind. I wanted to keep it under 350 pages, and I accomplished that... or so I thought.
    When my advance team read it, the utter disappointment in their words and eyes set off all sorts of alarms in my head. At 312 pages with a 12 point print, the story was ridiculously lacking. I was beyond embarrassed for having wasted their time and I profusely apologized for letting them down.
    Fast-Forward to July when I held the proof in my hands, I proudly stood it next to a copy of THE GAZE and my jaw dropped. THE NEXT CHAPTER is slightly thicker than its predescesor, which seemed to me impossible.  
   Wordcountwise, GAZE is a much bigger work, MUCH BIGGER. It made no sense and I imagined it would turn people off. At 548 pages, as listed on Amazon, it's bound to make some people shy away from it. What they won't see is that in reality the real page count is 513 pages. There's a three-chapter excerpt from my current work in progress, and let's not forget the front matter of the book. Still, CHAPTER is "bigger", but only because I wanted the page to be comfortable with larger, better spaced printing. I braced myself against the familiar reactions evoked by the size of GAZE (514 pages), but then I thought of two big books I've read that were in fact, not long enough for me.
    When my Sheri and I fell in love with Stephenie Meyer's Twilight, by the time we got to Breaking Dawn, I was despondent that I was facing the inevitable end of the saga. At 754 pages, it looked like one of the biggest books we've ever read, and we hated page 755's two words: The End.
    Alexander Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo has 1116 pages and I wonder how many people missed out on one of the most amazing stories of all time when they saw that super wide spine.
    I decided that it didn't matter in the end. My dad, one my harshest and most honest critics actually wishes GAZE was longer. He's gone as far as telling me that he will not accept anything less than 500 pages. Well, Dad, mission accomplished.
    I figured book lovers will go out of their way to take a chance on a big book, and I hope to never break their heart by giving them a big, yet insubstantial book.  I'd like to think that they can take a chance on my thick, heavy novel. I did all I could to keep them from sighing and staring at the spine in total bewilderment, asking themselves, "This book is how long...???"

  Javier A. Robayo


  1. I agree, if I'm going to pick up a 1000+ page book, there'd better be a good reason the author saw to write so much. Personally, I don't think a writer should ever worry about the length of a story. That's what editors specialize in, cutting it up to their ideal of proper size. And by the way, your books are not nearly long enough to keep me satisfied.

  2. Your post reminded me of the scene from Amadeus when the Emperor yawns in the middle of a concert and complains that there are "too many notes." Mozart responds incredulously, "But there are just as many as there need to be. Which ones would you have me take out?"

  3. Hey Javier,

    Some of the best books I´ve ever read are over 700 pages. The journey reading them is tough and slightly arduous, but at the end, you always find that you can´t stop thinking about the story. It haunts you. You become a part of the novel for the length of time it takes to complete it and that is all part of the magic of a larger book. Sure, if I´m busy, I don´t want to read such a mammoth, but that´s what weekends are for! :)

    I bet that feels soooooo good to have those two books on your bookshelf!!! :D Congrats xx