When I first started writing my book, I wrote it on the scale of the books I'd read growing up, massive books with a ton of story squeezed into them. At it's completion, The Chosen of the Light was nearly 400,000 words long. Roughly translated, that's about an 800 page book. No big deal for me, but for a prospective publisher looking at a new and untested author, investing in this book would be suicide. But Matt, don't you believe in your work? Yes! Of course, that's exactly why I peddled it for over a year, sending out hundreds of submissions to publishers and agents. But I came to a realization, something I think a lot of new authors should think about. Despite the hard work that you've put into your book, it's still probably not good enough. Even if you manage to sell it to that big publisher in the shining tower you'll undoubtedly do revisions on it.
In the end, I realized my book probably wasn't the perfectly cut jewel that only needed that right person to pick it up and see what a beauty it was. It'd be easier to get a 100K-word book that needed some work published than the 400K-word monster I had before me. I chopped up Chosen, refocusing my efforts on the first third of the book, a manageable 120K-word novel I dubbed Spirit Summoner. I had some cleaning and fixing to do (I couldn't just cut off an arm and let my book bleed to death).
After a couple months of editing, I began resubmitting, and after another long year, Wild Child Publishing picked up Spirit Summoner. Given all that happened to my original manuscript, and knowing that even after cleaning up Spirit Summoner for resubmission, I still had to do nearly a year of heavy editing with Wild Child before my book hit the shelves. In other words, everything my editor taught me with Spirit Summoner must now be applied to Book Two. How was that for long winded?
So with Spirit Summoner, I cut off the arm, patched it up, threw on some electrodes, and tossed it into the life support tank. But crap! I forgot about the rest of the body! I was so focused on cleaning up Spirit Summoner and getting it published and edited, I forgot that the rest of my original manuscript was bleeding to death underneath my desk. Now that I've picked it back up and began sutchering the wounds, there's a lot more work to do than I originally thought. Not only do I have to create a clear beginning and end (where there wasn't one before), I have to apply all the editing techniques I learned with Spirit Summoner.
I have a deadline in mind for Book Two to resubmit in March, and I'm doing all that I can to ensure that happens. For those of you awaiting Book Two, know that I won't sacrifice the story for the sake of meeting a self-made deadline. But I'm hoping writing this will keep me honest.
For anyone interested, you can read a preliminary chapter at Literrater.com.