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Book to big for publishing, what do I cut out?


museumtom
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I just got a slap from the Publisher reminding me that my contract states the requirement is 70,000 words. The book stands at 145,000 words. This means that all the beautiful articles in the Irish Papers will have to be left out. I hate to just toss them aside as they are relevant the counties. I am still coming across them like the description of the terrain and destruction around hill 60 trough the eyes of a Waterfordman after the battle. Letters from the men written and printed in the papers months/years before they died. How can you toss that type of thing aside?. They say it will make the book too big and they cannot do it at the estimated cost. A two volume end product is out of the question.

I have to accept their decision. They will cut whatever they consider a doubling up of information and expand the wordage to around 100,000.

Any suggestions?

Regards.

Tom.

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Tell 'em to b*gger off and self-publish, no restrictions there (which is why my books are 250,000 and 350,000 words each!). But then I see the nasty word contract, ouch.

Well, two suggestions:

1. Self publish a second volume of source documents which you can refer to in the first one making it essential that everyone buys it (I am planning this with my next work); or

2. Use them as a basis for a web site which will then also help promote the book.

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Is including resource material on a CD an option?

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Is including resource material on a CD an option?

This looks like a good alternative. Peter Barton's book The Battlefields of the First World War includes two CDs and I suspect that the CDs increase the worth of the book quite considerably.

Garth

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Peter Barton's book The Battlefields of the First World War includes two CDs and I suspect that the CDs increase the worth of the book quite considerably.

Yes, but these CDs (or one DVD in the 2008 revised version) contain panoramas which simply cannot be reproduced in sufficient detail in any other format. Even if the book was full of gatefolds it would require an enormous book in width to get over 300 panoramas in.

As for the original question, I can sympathise. I work with Peter Barton and we have just been forced to cut 40,000 words from our new Arras volume which is due out next year. Whilst some was fine to cut and tidied up the text appreciably, it was hard work losing certain material as you feel an affinity to the men whose diaries/letters/memoirs you are cutting. You will always have material left over. I reckon I have over half a million words alone from men who served at Arras but I know they can’t all go in. Bill’s idea is a good one re. a website. However, I would check that with the publishers though as they would want to know that the website wouldn’t affect potential book sales – i.e. why buy the book when there is so much material free on your website?

As I don’t know what the book is about I can’t comment other than to suggest that the cuts are even-handed and across the volume. The fact that the publishers are happy to stretch what the contract says would be a 70,000 word book to 100,000, whilst it is still a pain for you, is pretty remarkable in itself.

Good luck!

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for bmac; any hints as to the subject of your next work?

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All authors fall in love with their research but if you put it all in, you end up not with a book but an archive. This is to miss the point because the very purpose of a book is to provide not just recall but selection, comparison, interpretation, insight and context for people who don’t want to work with the archive. Good luck with the book.

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Delete the vowels.

I just got a slap from the Publisher reminding me that my contract states the requirement is 70,000 words. The book stands at 145,000 words. This means that all the beautiful articles in the Irish Papers will have to be left out. I hate to just toss them aside as they are relevant the counties. I am still coming across them like the description of the terrain and destruction around hill 60 trough the eyes of a Waterfordman after the battle. Letters from the men written and printed in the papers months/years before they died. How can you toss that type of thing aside?. They say it will make the book too big and they cannot do it at the estimated cost. A two volume end product is out of the question.

I have to accept their decision. They will cut whatever they consider a doubling up of information and expand the wordage to around 100,000.

Any suggestions?

Regards.

Tom.

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I just got a slap from the Publisher reminding me that my contract states the requirement is 70,000 words. The book stands at 145,000 words. This means that all the beautiful articles in the Irish Papers will have to be left out. I hate to just toss them aside as they are relevant the counties. I am still coming across them like the description of the terrain and destruction around hill 60 trough the eyes of a Waterfordman after the battle. Letters from the men written and printed in the papers months/years before they died. How can you toss that type of thing aside?. They say it will make the book too big and they cannot do it at the estimated cost. A two volume end product is out of the question.

I have to accept their decision. They will cut whatever they consider a doubling up of information and expand the wordage to around 100,000.

Any suggestions?

Regards.

Tom.

While stirring and poignant, do those pieces you love help the story or are they ornamental? If you have an intro, can it be cut?—I like the vowels suggestions, Laugh out Loud (note: no use of acronym!). The passages you really like are usually the ones you need to cut out. Try deleting those articles, maybe use some of the letters as illustrations or photos, and evaluate your work to see if it still makes sense. Perhaps you should sit down with your editor and go through the work.

S

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Clive's comment made me think in a different way and as the old saying goes ' I may be taking myself too serious'. Perhaps I was putting in too much stuff anyway.i.e. everything.

Thank you everyone, some good tips, suggestions and insights that will be considered at length over the winter.

I appreciate them very much.

Kind regards.

Tom.

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bmac is doing lots of interesting things around the southern/French end of the Somme methinks. Looking forward to the outcome.

Len

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Clive's comment made me think in a different way and as the old saying goes ' I may be taking myself too serious'. Perhaps I was putting in too much stuff anyway.i.e. everything.

I think a lot depends on why you are writing the book and who it is for. Personally, not having done it for the money (in which case I am an exceedingly bad businessmen as they will never repay their costs) I wrote them as memorials to the men involved and whose stories have never been told to a wider audience. Which is why nothing comes out. If that makes them an 'archive' then so be it.

bmac is doing lots of interesting things around the southern/French end of the Somme methinks. Looking forward to the outcome.

And, no doubt, someone has the photographs to prove it. Better not tell my wife! :blush:

:rolleyes:

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Delete the vowels.

But then only Welsh people would be able to read it.

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Tom

Have you considered a web site to complement the book?

I am intending that my web site does this and, where possible, uses material that could not be included in the book because it would be too large.

Regards

Ivor

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If you go the self-publishing route, find one that can get you distribution thru' Amazon et al instead of trying to flog your book yourself. If you go the online route, why not have a subscriber fee up front?

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i agree with comments why not self publish

Because, as he stated, he has a contract with the publishers. I have no idea if Tom would want to break that but wouldn't think it a very good idea. Certainly not if this tome is to be first of many books. I think it always good to keep publishers on side.

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Because, as he stated, he has a contract with the publishers. I have no idea if Tom would want to break that but wouldn't think it a very good idea. Certainly not if this tome is to be first of many books. I think it always good to keep publishers on side.

True, but if no $ has changed hands either he could back out or find a way to break his work into two parts, a sequel so to speak? Then again he can offer subscriptions to the supporting material online. I had thought of doing that for my book (a doorstop of a work) but decided instead to produce two volumes—it's easier to maintain copyright control that way.

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Bmac.

The book was written to remember the men from this particular county. Most of the articles I deem relevant are written by or about men who survived. Money was never part of this equasion and if I never made a penny it would not cost me a thought. Like most of the lads and lassies on this forum its about the men and women who gave their all. If someone has net space and a relevant slot I am happy to stick the unused words in there.

Ivor, a web site is way to complicated for this old dude but if there is an existing one I would be happy to add my ‘lost words’ to it for posterity.

Thanrkin, self publishing is worth consideration but when a publisher offered me to take what I gave them, publish and distribute I could not refuse.

J Banning. Yes I have a conflict with the publishers because I did not do a word count and signed the contract without understanding the word count.

Sean, two volumes is a consideration but the publishers made it plain that it would be too costly and a non runner. Take for example the Cork book coming out within the next 8 weeks, they have to have it out by Christmas because it will cost 45 eurosmackers as there are 3,700 men in it and may not sell as well after Christmas. I am not sure if it is in two volumes or one. Ask Sean on this forum. Not only that but they will bring out a further book next year with all the stuff they will have left out.

Having said all that I also have another book in their hands (no contracts signed) for Offaly and am finishing Waterford at the moment so they may get them and the wording is waaaaaaaaaaayy over the 70,000 words. But the thing is I have not signed contracts for them so they will be open for negotiation with them or some other publishers. I have already published 3 books with them so they are easy to get on with.

My heart really bleeds to shorten the Wexford book but it seems that it might be the way it will be in the end.

If I don’t get a single penny from any of them I do not care, its about the lads and lassies of the Great war, nothing else.

Kind regards and thanks for your interest.

Tom.

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Well, I wish you luck. Sounds like there could be a compromise there. My work, which took 17 years of research (not a GWF topic, though), needs to be in two volumes; #1 is 257K words in 517 pages, vol. #2 is 198K in 415 pages. There is nothing I can really cut in the main text since it is a transcription except perhaps the endnotes (57.7K and 33.9K respectively) and the intro (43K). Two volumes just makes sense especially because so many pages would end up destroying the binding if they were in one volume. I spoke with some publishers and they said it had to be cut. But because it is an existing manuscript it would be equal to reducing Churchill's speeches for use as a PowerPoint presentation. Thanks but no thanks!

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Tell 'em to b*gger off and self-publish, no restrictions there (which is why my books are 250,000 and 350,000 words each!). But then I see the nasty word contract, ouch.

Well, two suggestions:

1. Self publish a second volume of source documents which you can refer to in the first one making it essential that everyone buys it (I am planning this with my next work); or

2. Use them as a basis for a web site which will then also help promote the book.

I have just been looking at Amazon. I like the look of Pro Patria Mori. The Contents and Index suggest a comprehensive and inclusive approach with little or no compromise. No 2 sounds good to me if some compromise is needed.

Al

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Tom,

Maybe a stupid compromise suggestion but I'd rather offer it and let you decide it's merits (or otherwise).......

Perhaps could you consider extracting the excess wordage into selected documents, letters and references into a "supporting information" pdf version and then make reference to that in the book and provide an e-mail address whereby, upon request, the reader you e-mail request the pdf copy of the omitted material?

All you would have to do is provide a summary of the available information and relevant e-mail request address within the published book. Indeed maybe the publisher may consider managing this for you as a compromise?

Best regards,

Ian.

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Tom,

I think that your principals are top-notch...it's not about the money but the history. The newspaper articles, if they are like those I've read on this Forum, seem to be several hundred words each. Perhaps (I have no idea as to the physical size of the book) they would consider letting you add so many pages throughout the book that have pictures of the articles that could be read, although the script would be small. This allows one page (or perhaps a double page foldout) to show what would have to be typed over several pages as text. This could be a teaser for those interested in a)visiting a website; b)purchasing a supplementary, independantly published second volume or c)any of the other options provided by the posts above.

Just a thought from one unfamiliar with writing/publishing.

Good Luck with the book,

shawn

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Thanks for all the suggestions guys and gals. One great idea I got from Ian it (there were lots of other great ideas in there also) was to put the articles online and a link to them in the book, or email them to whoever wants them. That way everyone is happy.

It pays to chat about things and they get sorted out in the end.

Thanks for everything guys and gals.

Kind Regards.

Tom.

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