The new series of books, the ones featuring Eddie Collins, have always done pretty well. They sold steadily and people seemed to love them. The Marmite book in this series has always been The Third Rule, and for one reason: its length.
Most books are 80k to 100k words long. They are an easy read and you can get through one in a weekend or over a few evenings. The Third Rule, however, is a bit more of an epic at 260k words. A lot of people, I’ve been told, shy away from the bigger book because they feel progress through it isn’t as quick as they’d like it to be.
So I’ve done something quite radical. I’ve condensed it.
Since October 2015, I’ve dedicated all my spare time to whittling the book down to something more manageable. It’ll be easier to sell, easier to promote, and quicker to read. I’ve killed a massive 70k words in the process, which means it’s a lot sharper, has less repetition too. It’s almost a whole book shorter!
To get the word count down, I was tempted to remove one or two characters and their entire storyline, but doing that would have removed essential illustrative parts of the book. Instead I’ve chopped one or two less essential scenes, blended together some others, and restructured parts of the novel.
You might recall from an earlier post that I began The Third Rule in 2004. I like to think I’ve matured a bit as a writer since then, and was able to hack away more unnecessary bits and pieces thanks to tricks I’ve learned since then.
Keep your eyes peeled for the re-launch, where The Third Rule, second edition, will feature a new cover, and where for the first time, it’ll be available as a paperback from CreateSpace.
One last thing. I considered running this new abridged edition alongside the ‘old’ epic, because I’m aware that some people still enjoy a long book. But I need to tidy up my wares and bring them all into line. Similarly, I’m pulling the individual parts of the books – Part One: Atrocities, Part Two: Running Scared, and Part Thee: Sacrifices. I originally split the book into parts simply to appease those who wanted shorter, more easily digestible, pieces. The abridged version negates that, and pulling them also fits in nicely with bringing the whole catalogue into line.