How do you make a room full of published authors gasp collectively?

Answer a question about your latest novel’s word count honestly.

I have never been so embarassed. Well, I take it back. I probably have been more embarassed, but it’s been a while since I’ve turned THAT red. Since I’ve felt the burning start up my neck until my whole face is on fire. Three hours later, my face was STILL red.

It’s not really a big deal, I guess. Katie and I went to a writer’s meeting this afternoon. We did get a lot of really good conference information and stuff. It was pretty interesting. But of course we all had to go around in a circle and talk about who we are and what we write and what we’ve had published. Ick.

And of course we had to be sitting right next to the club’s “most prolific” author who produces 150,000-word manuscripts at the drop of a hat. They went on and on about her being so prolific and Katie just looked at me. (We’ve perfected the art of significant glances, by the way.)

So you can imagine what happened. My lovely Katie introduced herself and then it was my turn, and I did my darnedest to steer away from word counts. I didn’t want to talk about it, and all I said was that I had finished revising a novel. And of course they ask, “How many words is it?” And so–honest person that I am–I say, “It’s 377,000 words.”

From the collective gasp of shock and horror, you’d think I’d said I assassinated JFK.

Oh well. =) I realize that it’s a monster. I’m taking steps to cut it down — or apart — or serialize it or whatever. So I guess that counts for something.

Maybe I just need to learn to stop having so much to say all the time . . . .  This isn’t a new development though. I produced a 140,000-word manuscript when I was around 15 years old. In high school full time. Working during the summers. Granted, it sucked (You First Fan Club people, you know which one I’m talking about; the first ginormous monster of a story).

The next huge one was 193,000 words when I was 18 and I wrote that whole thing from July to October. Also working over the summer and finishing up high school. It sucked too, but it was a little better than the other one.

They just keep getting bigger . . . . I mean even the latest re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-rewrite of that same old series is 152,000 words . . . . and it’s definitely quality for publication but everyone at this meeting is saying that publishers won’t even consider a new author with a book over 100,000 words . . . . and that I should aim for a more realistic number like 70,000 or 80,000 words . . . . It’s definitely possible, but wow . . . talk about pulling teeth.

Maybe I should just forget the whole publishing route and do it all myself. Amazon has a pretty spectacular digital text platform for Kindle publishing . . . .

If I went that route, would anybody out there buy them? You guys weigh in! =)