I'm in the middle of writing a series that I am attempting to have published. I write paranormal romance. I'm five books deep and I've started to do some serious editing on book one. My husband is an avid fiction reader and is giving me shit about the first book in my series being 198k. The other three in the series are currently are about 160k. What are your thoughts about the initial book in a series and its word count.
Are you looking at traditional publishing? The industry can be a bit rough on long books. Depending on the publisher, a first book is typically in the ballpark of 60K to 80K. Possibly 100K if they have faith in its ability to hold an audience or if its a returning author.
Personally, I have no issues with longer books and I know many people who feel the same way. This is pretty typical for all the Fantasy sub-genres to be a bit meatier than their realism counterparts simply because there’s so much to work through.
But, the problem with first books that have such a high word count is they may be at risk of having a lot of filler. This could be anything from info dumps to a full scene or even chapter that’s completely unnecessary.
If the writing is tight and drives the plot, the word count can end up high just by the nature of the book. But in the event of editing, its hard to cut out what isn’t really necessary for this story.
If you return to your outline (or create a rough outline, if you’re a pantser) it’ll help you figure out where the plot is meant to go and what’s ultimately important to the story. From there, you can decide if the book has too much filler.
Also, try to treat your first book as a stand alone. This will help you remove what might be better added to a later book.
I hope this was able to help!