First Draft Complete

The tale grew in the telling, until it was just freaking gigantic.

In other words, I just finished the first draft of "The Prometheus Option."


Right now the manuscript pencils out at 826 manuscript pages containing 208,857 words. And my fingers feel every one of them.

Now I'm going to put the book aside for a while and let it clear out of my head so I can come back at it with a more objective perspective for editing. It's hard to do a good job of it when I'm still in a creative frame of mind. It's not good to write too self-consciously, because you generate crabbed and stifled sentences that seem more attuned to obeying grammar than to telling a story.

At the same time, when you're in the flow, as it were, it can be hard to spot simple errors that creep in when you're not looking: typos, repetitive phrases, awkward sentences that don't scan well and take the reader out of their state of willing suspension of disbelief.

So I have to let the book sit and ferment for a while and turn my attention to other things. It will be nice to have a break from it, to be truthful. I've gotta get started learning French, and I have some music to write.

Now I'm starting to think about publishing. I was originally convinced that I should go the route of authors of old: finding an agent and trying to get it accepted by one of the big publishing houses. In the last few weeks I've been considering self-publishing very seriously, not least because the royalties for e-books are much higher than for printed books.

Andrew Weir wrote "The Martian" and published it online. He incorporated feedback from readers and improved the book, which is very hard to do with printed publications. His book got picked up by a regular press and got turned into a marvelous movie. I'm not saying I think my book has the same selling potential. It's not quite so family-friendly. If it were a movie, it would have a hard R rating for sure, both for language and some terrifyingly violent content. But who knows? 

Self-publishing via Amazon might be the right way to go. Splitting it into two books might also be the right way to go. There's a natural division point just a bit shy of the middle. It wouldn't even require any editing. If I do go that route, book one will be entitled "The Black Box" and book two will be named "The Borrowed Sword."

I have some ideas for cover art that I want to play with, and some of them will require me to learn some new tools for illustration and graphic design.

There are some interesting promotional techniques available to Amazon's writers, including the option of giving the book away for a limited time to seed the reader base and collect reviews.

I also have some ideas about who I'll send printed review copies. There are several podcasters I listen to who might be able to help jumpstart people into reading it. And I definitely want to give free copies to all of my coworkers, but I'd much rather do that in e-book form. I do want to make money from this behemoth, after all.

So that's it for now. More when I have new things to report. And I'll definitely be posting the cover art here once I'm done with it.