Time Passeth

by wjw on October 21, 2013

Wow.  What happened to that week?

Well, there was a wedding, and the tractor broke, and a birthday party, and game night, and karate class . . . so it was a busy week, in truth.

But what mostly happened was The Rift.

Yes, I’m finally getting my longest novel ready for e-publication.  It’s something like 310,000 words long, more than three times the length of the average novel.  It’s taken a very long time to edit it into shape, and there’s more editing left to do, but it should be available at your favorite electronic store before too many days are out.

I’m sort of worried that I might have to break it into parts.  The text comes in at 4gb, and I think some of the online stores have limits on their file sizes.  So what should I do?  Break it into bits, sell each for a modest sum?  Or sell Part 1 at full price, then give Part 2 away for free?

I dunno.  Cross that earthquake-damaged bridge when I get there, I guess.

But in the meantime, if you want to start salivating for my longest work, feel free.

Dave Bishop October 21, 2013 at 7:07 am

I’m drooling, Walter, I’m drooling!

Paul Duncanson October 21, 2013 at 8:12 am

4Gb seems a bit extreme. Could that be a typoed 4Mb? (City on Fire, at 185,700 words is only about 800Kb as an epub file). If it really is 4Gb, there’s something really wrong. If it’s 4Mb, you should be fine. Smashwords say 10Mb is their limit.

Michael Grosberg October 21, 2013 at 5:50 pm

I’m assuming ir 4Mb but what format are we talking? If it’s the size of the final Epub it’s still a bit excessive (I just checked the size of a 1000 page novel I have in Epub and it’s about 1.5Mb). there might be a lot of unnecessary HTML code that can be removed. Drop a line if you need details.

Jim Strickland October 21, 2013 at 6:56 pm

I’m with the others. If it’s really 4GB and not 4MB, something is drastically wrong. Assuming it’s 4MB, As long as it’s broken into chapters properly by the ebook software, it shouldn’t give anyone’s reader pain.


John Appel October 21, 2013 at 7:41 pm

Definitely looking forward to it. For one reason or another this is just about the only book of yours (besides the Star Wars books) that I haven’t already read.

Brian Renninger October 22, 2013 at 3:03 pm

If it is 4GB and it is a MS Word document the issue may be that it may have multiple saved versions of the text all in one file. It is a feature that some turn on and forget it is happening everytime they save it. For a long novel, that could mean saving dozens, if not hundreds, of multiple megabit texts in one file. It is a feature I can see being useful while writing a novel but should not be preserved in an e-book.

It is a possibility anyway.

–Brian R.

wjw October 22, 2013 at 11:30 pm

Once I saved the document in .rtf, the file size diminished rather considerably. It still may nudge the limit of certain online sites, but I’ll deal with that when I can.

TRX October 23, 2013 at 12:14 pm

as ASCII text, no formatting codes or tags:

novella: 100-200 Kb
short novel: 250-350 Kb
average novel: 400-600 Kb
long novel: 1 Mb (“The Mote in God’s Eye”)
ridiculously long novel: 2 Mb (something like Sterling’s “Cryptonomicon”
my novel: 0 bytes

At a million keystrokes per book, plus “special” keys and mousing, no wonder authors complain about RSI…

Back in the day, I did a *lot* of email. That was back in the days of wood-burning computers. I saved all my outgoing mail to a directory, and was amused to note it grew by roughly a megabyte a month. Too bad I never figured out a way to get paid for it…

TRX October 23, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Walter, there are time I’d like to ask you a question or make a comment about a novel of yours, but the topical structure of a blog makes it impossible to do so without making comments that are completely off-topic.

I thoroughly understand why you would want to avoid the hassle of a forum or mailing list; even if you have someone else manage it, such things can turn into huge time sinks. But could I make a suggestion?

A few blogs (Bruce Schneier’s security blog, for example) create an open topic every so often, for comments from readers that don’t pertain to any specific topic. These are often quite useful and informative. And if you think it’s not worthwhile, you can stop doing it at any time.

wjw October 24, 2013 at 4:32 am

Great idea, TRX! We’ll do the open topic soon.

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